The U.S. men's national soccer team will look to avenge the 2-0 loss suffered against Guatemala when the two teams meet again on Tuesday, this time in Columbus, Ohio, in another 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Three matches into the qualification process, the United States trail second-placed Guatemala by two points, and a quick turnaround is sorely needed.
BT Sport's Ian Darke fears another disappointing result would almost certainly kill the Stars and Stripes' chances:
Ian Darke @IanDarke
USA loss in Guatemala means return game on Tues is very big - lose it and almost certainly out of World Cup. Must see match on ESPN2 7pm ET.2016-3-26 11:16:43
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann will have to turn things around in a hurry, as his team looked completely out of sorts in the previous meeting with Guatemala and has no momentum whatsoever going into Tuesday's clash. Here's everything you need to know about the match:
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Mapfre Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
TV Info: ESPN 2
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Rafael Morales and Carlos Ruiz put Guatemala ahead by two goals after just 15 minutes when these two teams met on Saturday, a lead Los Chapines would never relinquish on their way to a historic win, per Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated:
Grant Wahl @GrantWahl
FT Guatemala 2:0 USA. Brutal loss for the US, its first to Guatemala in 21 games dating back to 1988. Tuesday vs GUA now a near must-win.2016-3-26 03:57:57
The result was an embarrassing one for the USA in many ways, not least because the Stars and Stripes have been consistently excellent in CONCACAF qualifying for years and entered this campaign with an eye on a solid run at the 2018 World Cup.
Three matches into the qualifying process, and that suddenly looks like little more than a dream. A loss on Tuesday would almost guarantee the team's absence, and in all likelihood, the end of Klinsmann's tenure.
His tactics on Saturday were wayward at best, and with several players seemingly playing out of position, communication was almost non-existent. ESPN FC's Michael Caley summed up the team's performance like this:
Michael Caley @MC_of_A
xG map for Guatemala-USA. The US had chances to get back in it. But the whole team performance was just a mess. https://t.co/xPp3QP1h9P2016-3-26 04:45:25
Mix Diskerud in particular had a nightmare outing and was rightly taken off after the first half, and Klinsmann's decision to change things up gives hope for Tuesday's rematch. There's no need to push the panic button just yet―a win puts the team back in second place and on track to qualify from Group C.
It will be up to Klinsmann to make wholesale changes and figure out how best to use his players in a hurry, however, and the German doesn't seem too eager to change things too much.
Per MLSSoccer.com's Andrew King, he doesn't agree he's playing anyone out of position to begin with:
Andrew King @AndrewKingMLS
Klinsmann: "I'm not playing anyone out of position." #USMNT2016-3-28 14:31:02
Those comments did not sit well with fans and pundits alike. Nicholas Mendola of NBC Sports listed four players―DeAndre Yedlin, Geoff Cameron, Alejandro Bedoya and Diskerud―who all played out of position on Saturday, while former U.S. international Alexi Lalas was more subtle with his criticism:
Alexi Lalas @AlexiLalas
I believe #USMNT players care. But too often under @J_Klinsmann they appear confused, frustrated or uncomfortable. https://t.co/CQutDwqH2Y2016-3-28 15:53:44
Guatemala have looked fantastic in spells under new manager Walter Claveri, but they beat the USA by simply taking advantage of errors and playing solid, mistake-free football. In terms of pure quality, the advantage lies with the hosts, and some minor improvements should lead to a win.
But it will all start with the lineup. Omar Gonzalez and Michael Orozco didn't make for a solid pairing in Guatemala, and the latter isn't even a centre-back. Cameron is and should get his chance in his natural position, while Diskerud should not be the man shielding the defence.
If those changes happen, the USA has every chance of bouncing back and beating Guatemala. If they don't, the Stars and Stripes may be in for another long night.
Prediction: USA 1-0 Guatemala