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United States vs. Guatemala: Strong Win Validates Jurgen Klinsmann

TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 3:  Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of USA watches before the start of their game against Canada during their international friendly match on June 3, 2012 at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IOctober 17, 2012

Needing at least a draw to secure a berth in next year's final round of CONCACAF qualifying, the United States laid the smack down on Guatemala, 3-1. 

This performance not only allows them to advance, but it also validates the efforts of coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and he needed it. 

It's not that the U.S. has been a disaster in the 14 months since Klinsmann took over. This team has done some nice things like getting their first-ever win over Mexico in Mexico and a nice win in Italy. 

However, the attack has sputtered and they've spent long stretches making onlookers wonder if they could ever score a goal.

Entering Tuesday night's game, the U.S. was averaging 1.21 goals per match since Klinsmann took over. That number is down roughly a half a goal from what this team was producing under Klinsmann's predecessor, Bob Bradley. 

Klinsmann has been preaching that he wants his side to control more possession, but he also has said this team will be proactive, create chances and keep its opponent under pressure, it just hasn't been happening. 

And all of these negatives were confirmed as the U.S. squeaked by with a 2-1 win on a late goal against 106th-ranked Antigua and Barbuda. The U.S. mustered only four shots on goal. It was a poor performance created by a stagnant offense. 

So the U.S. entered this game having shown signs of promise, but it was time that it started showing more effectiveness, and it did. 

The U.S. fell behind early after Carlos Ruiz netted a goal in the fifth minute, but that was when the U.S. began showing signs of that proactive play that Klinsmann has promised. 

By the 18th minute, the U.S. had taken a 2-1 lead in what qualified as an offensive explosion given the team's struggles to produce. 

Over a year into Klinsmann's performance and entering this game on listless performances, the U.S. needed this strong win. It needed to offer up signs of progress not just to fans, but to itself. 

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