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Guatemala vs. USA: Winners and Losers from World Cup Qualifier

Joe TanseyFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2017

Guatemala vs. USA: Winners and Losers from World Cup Qualifier

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    Luis Soto/Associated Press

    The United States men's national team stooped to a new low under Jurgen Klinsmann on Friday night as it fell 2-0 to Guatemala in CONCACAF FIFA World Cup qualifying. 

    Klinsmann's men conceded twice in the first 15 minutes and failed to show any life in the final third during the opening stanza.

    The visitors produced a few positive moments in the second half, but Guatemala goalkeeper Paulo Motta made sure the Yanks wouldn't score and spark a comeback at the Estadio Mateo Flores. 

    Guatemala moved into second place in Group C with the win, while the USMNT sits three points behind first-place Trinidad and Tobago entering Matchday 4. 

    Here's a look at our winners and losers from Guatemala's shocking win over the USMNT.

Winner: Paulo Motta

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    Moises Castillo/Associated Press

    When the United States pushed forward in the second half, Paulo Motta came up with a few big saves to keep Guatemala comfortably in the lead. 

    In the 53rd minute, Motta kept out Clint Dempsey and Alejandro Bedoya in quick succession. The second attempt from Bedoya came from a wide-open area on the left side of the box. 

    Four minutes later, the 33-year-old stopped one of the best attacking sequences of the match from the Yanks with a save on a Dempsey shot. 

    Motta capped his terrific showing in between the pipes in the 82nd minute, when he stuck out his foot and denied Jozy Altidore's shot from space on the right edge of the penalty area. 

    The win boosted Guatemala into second place in Group C, and it now sits one point behind leaders Trinidad and Tobago entering Tuesday's contest against the Yanks in Columbus, Ohio.

Loser: Mix Diskerud

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    Moises Castillo/Associated Press

    Mix Diskerud's performance, or lack thereof, on Friday night was the latest evidence of why the New York City FC midfielder should not be a part of the USMNT starting XI. 

    Diskerud was at fault on the first goal in the seventh minute, as he was outmuscled by Rafael Morales on a corner kick. To add to his misery, Morales headed the ball off his back and into the net. 

    Throughout his 45 minutes on the pitch, the 25-year-old, who has had ample opportunities to prove himself to USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann, failed to make any type of impact. 

    Klinsmann made the right call by taking off Diskerud at halftime for Darlington Nagbe, but the insertion of a midfield playmaker came too late in the match for the Yanks.

    Expect Diskerud to sit out the return leg against Guatemala.

Winner: Carlos Ruiz

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    Luis Soto/Associated Press

    When Carlos Ruiz turns 60, he will still be scoring goals for Guatemala. 

    El Pescadito, now 35 years old, blew through a poor American offside trap in the 15th minute to put Guatemala safely ahead by two goals. 

    The ageless wonder's 60th international goal killed whatever positive morale was left in the American camp after the first strike. 

    Luckily for the Yanks, they will not have to deal with Ruiz on Matchday 4 since the legendary forward will not travel to the United States, per ESPN's Jeff Carlisle. 

Losers: Omar Gonzalez and Michael Orozco

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    Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

    With John Brooks and Matt Besler out because of injuries, Omar Gonzalez and Michael Orozco both had a chance to improve their respective stocks in the eyes of Klinsmann. 

    Instead of bolstering the depth chart, the pair of Liga MX-based players failed to fortify the back line during their time together in front of Tim Howard. 

    The biggest blunder from the center-back duo came in the 15th minute, when they let Ruiz sneak through a porous offside trap and pounce for Guatemala's second. 

    If Brooks and Besler are unable to go on home soil on Tuesday, Klinsmann might have to start at least one of the two in the middle of the back four. Geoff Cameron, who started at right-back Friday, could move into the middle if need be.

Winner: Darlington Nagbe

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    All the time we spent wishing for Darlington Nagbe to enter the USMNT lineup was worth it. 

    When the Portland Timbers man entered the field at the start of the second half, the Yanks showed signs of life in the final third. 

    Nagbe's presence allowed the Yanks to halt their pitiful long-ball strategy and actually attack on the ground. The effort of the 25-year-old didn't produce a goal, but it gave the Americans a glimmer of hope on an otherwise horrific night. 

    If Nagbe isn't handed a chance to impress in attack from the start of the match Tuesday, Klinsmann is doing something seriously wrong. 

     

    Joe Tansey covers U.S. Soccer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90

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