The United States Men's National Team defeated Guatemala 6-0 in a friendly at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Friday night.
Herculez Gomez scored the first goal late in the first half, and Landon Donovan added his 50th career international goal later with a converted penalty before the Americans exploded in the final 20 minutes.
Although Jurgen Klinsmann's squad didn't feature many players from last month's World Cup qualifying team, it did showcase the group that will compete in the upcoming Gold Cup. As we've seen before, it's possible for players to play well enough in that competition and make the final World Cup roster.
Featuring an interesting mix of veterans and youngsters, the Americans came out sloppy and timid.
Guatemala wasn't able to capitalize on its early chances, however, and once Klinsmann moved Donovan forward, the Americans began to click:
Tactical shift into 4-4-2 was key to the last 10 minutes of #USMNT pressure, which just paid off— Steve Davis (@SteveDavis90) July 6, 2013
Shortly after, in the 42nd minute, Jose Torres delivered in a beautiful ball to the back post for Gomez to hammer home and make it 1-0.
That's how we would enter the locker room, and according to Philly.com's Jonathan Tannenwald, the difference in the numbers at half was vast:
Halftime in San Diego: #USMNT 1 (67.1% possession, 386 passes, 91% accuracy), Guatemala 0 (32.8% possession, 186 passes, 82% accuracy)— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) July 6, 2013
The second half was more of the same.
In the 54th minute, Donovan was trampled in the box on a corner, and there was zero question that he would step to the spot himself. From there, he sent in a cheeky dribbler into the middle of the net for his 50th career international goal:
Most International Goals - US Men's All-Time Landon Donovan 50 << Clint Dempsey 35 Eric Wynalda 34 >>Penalty Kick in 55th minute— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 6, 2013
The veteran wasn't done.
In the 71st minute, he made a surging run through the middle of the pitch, and although he got a little lucky when his final pass was deflected by a defender, Chris Wondolowski finished clinically for his first international goal.
Moments later, a wonderful team buildup ended when Stuart Holden sent in a gorgeous curling cross right to Donovan, who smashed it in for his second goal of the night.
And Landon Donovan is now at 51 international goals (most for US men's all-time) after his 2nd goal of tonight's game.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 6, 2013
Clarence Goodson and Alejandro Bedoya would chip in a couple of powerful finishes in the final minutes to extend the route to 6-0.
|Nick Rimando||B+||Ricardo Jerez Jr.||C-|
|Michael Parkhurst||B||Carlos Castrillo||D|
|Clarence Goodson||B||Elias Vasquez||C+|
|Oguchi Onyewu||B||Carlos Gallardo||D|
|DeMarcus Beasley||A-||Victor Hernandez||C+|
|Kyle Beckerman ('45)||B+||Sergio Trujillo||C+|
|Jose Torres ('45)||B+||Jose Manuel Contreras||C|
|Joe Corona ('60)||B+||Jean Marquez||C-|
|Landon Donovan ('75)||A||Edward Santeliz||C|
|Edgar Castillo ('60)||A-||Jonathan Lopez||C+|
|Herculez Gomez ('60)||B+||Minor Lopez Campollo||C|
|Stuart Holden ('45)||A||Wilber Perez ('60)||C|
|Mix Diskerud ('45)||A-||Luis Cardona ('60)||C|
|Alejandro Bedoya ('60)||B+|
|Chris Wondolowski ('60)||B+|
|Brek Shea ('60)||B+|
|Will Bruin ('75)||B|
Stuart Holden: A
It’s been an incredibly difficult stretch for talented-yet-often-injured midfielder, but it’s safe to say he’s back.
Who was man of the match?
After spending more than two years without donning the USA shirt, Holden made his return last month in a friendly against Belgium. He was on another level versus Guatemala. He played the entire second half, and served as the Americans’ conductor in the middle of the pitch, controlling the pace (along with Diskerud, who also deserves credit), making the right passes and delivering a beauty of an assist on Donovan’s second goal.
As long as he stays healthy, Holden (along with Donovan) is a no-brainer for Team USA’s World Cup squad.
Chris Wondolowski: B+
Wondo deserves some necessary praise here.
It seemed like the prolific goal-scorer was never going to find the back of an international net, but it looks like he has more than nine lives, and he finally got one in the books.
It’s going to be interesting to see what the extra confidence moving forward will do for Wondo, but it’s clear that he and several others (Beasley, Beckerman, Torres, Corona, Gomez, Shea) are going to give Klinsmann some very difficult decisions.
The Americans will start Group C play in the Gold Cup against Belize on Tuesday, July 9 at 11 p.m. ET.