List of Americans Abroad
Guatemala, T&T and El Salvador are Gold Cup group opposition.
Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay will be Copa opponents.
Supposedly outmanned, U.S. handles Mexico in usual fashion.
Despite not being in top form, U.S. downs Denmark for successful Bradley debut.
Bradley to become interim coach, Klinsmann is not out of picture.
Gulati denies saying Pekerman would soon be hired to replace Arena.
Myernick, 51, dies four days after suffering heart attack.
McBride retires from international competition.
Arena is hired by Red Bulls to revive flagging fortunes.
Arena was not fired for failure, but need of new direction.
Reyna confirms his retirement from national team after fourth World Cup ends.
Ghana uses disputed penalty kick to end American World Cup 2-1.
Bad penalty call punctuates ineptitude as U.S. World Cup ends.
Without a shot on goal, Americans manage 1-1 World Cup draw with Italy.
U.S. World Cup hopes get boost from heroic 1-1 draw with Italy.
Koller, Rosicky lead Czechs to 3-0 World Cup rout of Americans.
With stakes high, U.S. comes out flat and is thrashed by Czechs.
Visit to Hamburg City Hall follows easy day of training.
Americans again have trouble scoring, but McBride finishes Latvia.
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Donovan strikes three times to down Ecuador 3-1.
U.S. men take a step back in Guatemala draw.
By Robert Wagman
(Thursday, March 29, 2007) -- If the 3-1 win over Ecuador Sunday was two steps forward for the United States men who have lost a number of key veterans since last summer's World Cup, they took a few steps backward in their dull 0-0 draw last night with Guatemala at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.
The Americans simply were clueless how to break down Guatemala's well-organized defense, which spent most of the evening with large numbers behind the ball and only occasionally ventured forward on the counterattack.
Under its new Colombian coach Luis Suarez Gomez, Guatemala played the type of match that might be expected from a 4-5-1 set-up with Carlos Ruiz as the lone striker. Guatemala defended in layers, setting up pretty much a zone defense in the midfield, backed up by four defenders. With the Chapines staying tight and organized, whenever a U.S. attacker managed to penetrate one layer of defense, he was immediately challenged by the next.
Guatemala's main plan was to deny U.S. striker Landon Donovan the ball, seal off the back-line and hope Ruiz, playing in his home stadium as a member of Major League Soccer's FC Dallas, would be able to create some magic and steal a goal for a 1-0 victory. The plan was predictable and the Guatemalans executed it extremely well, but the U.S. should have been able to find space to attack. The Americans failed to manage more than seven shots, three on goal, and seemed befuddled as to what to do. This raises concern heading into this summer's ambitious schedule, which includes the CONCACAF Gold Cup, followed by Copa America.
"I think it was a good learning experience, particularly for our younger players," U.S. interim coach Bob Bradley said. "It's a different kind of game, one that they need to see, because we all understand that we are going to see these kind of games in qualifying. At times tonight it seemed like we were afraid to make a mistake. We have to find the confidence to push the game harder. There is a mentality that goes along with it that, even if the goal doesn't come easily, it's not something that you allow to frustrate you. Those are things that hopefully we can learn from."
The U.S. displayed some positive elements tonight. Although he did not score, Donovan expended a great effort for 90 minutes. He did not benefit from some of the breaks he got Sunday when he scored three goals, the reason he was a marked man tonight. In the past, he has not always reacted well to close, physical marking.
Bradley should be pleased with his defense. Jay DeMerit and Frank Simek, who are regulars in England, made their international debuts and showed themselves to be competent professionals who will add depth and competition to the U.S. back-line. Jonathan Spector did well and Jimmy Conrad had another good performance. The defense looks to be the least of Bradley's worries.
Of much more concern is the midfield which, except for Justin Mapp pushing the ball up the left side, was shut down and at times seemingly befuddled by the smothering Guatemalan defense. Instead of attacking with quick short passes and pushing numbers forward, the U.S. attack for long periods consisted of lobbing high balls into the box and hoping for the best.
Two planned starters weren't able to go tonight -- striker Taylor Twellman, because of "flu-like symptoms suffered for two days, and midfielder Damarcus Beasley, who came out of Sunday's meeting with Ecuador with aching legs. It was probably Beasley's absence that allowed Mapp to start and show the young veteran is beginning to display a growing maturity.
Bradley called it a learning experience. Hopefully for the Americans, it will be.
U.S. player ratings
Goalkeeper Kasey Keller - 6: His 46th international clean sheet was among his easiest. He was not really challenged all evening; when he was challenged, he made covering them look easy.
Defender Frank Simek - 6: In his first cap, he showed he is an experienced professional who can play with pace and not get rattled under pressure.
Defender Jimmy Conrad - 6: Responded well to marking Ruiz, a man he faces regularly in MLS. He only lost Ruiz once, allowing a potentially dangerous volley which missed the target.
Defender Jonathan Spector - 6: He pushed forward aggressively without giving up anything in back. He is gaining experience and maturity in England.
Defender Jay DeMerit - 6: With Conrad concentrating on Ruiz, DeMerit was left to shut down the middle. Although he was not put under much pressure, he showed a year in the English Premier League with Watford has given him experience, which allowed him to handle tonight's assignment with ease.
Midfielder Justin Mapp - 6: At times, he was the point of the U.S. attack, pushing the ball up the left side. Still young and improving, he could compete to start on the left flank. for the U.S.
Midfielder Benny Feilhaber - 5.5: A decent outing, but after recording his first two caps wince Sunday, he is still trying to find his role on the team. Will he be most effective as a defensive midfielder, as a link or by stepping into the attack? At 22, he still needs to gain more international match experience.
Midfielder Clint Dempsey - 5: Playing reserve matches and a few odd first-team minutes for Fulham in England, he is not sharp and could not take advantage of the couple of opportunities that came his way. Twice, he probably should have had goals or at least made a better effort. He needs to start playing somewhere as a regular.
Midfielder Michael Bradley - 5.5: He partnered well with Feilhaber in the middle, but the 19-year-old seemed to be have difficulty flowing from defense to attack and back. He could not find much room to operate in the crowded midfield and while his play was decent, he did not add much to the offense.
Forward Landon Donovan - 5: To his credit, he put in 90 minutes of effort, but the U.S. captain did not get the help or the breaks that went his way on Saturday. He was smothered by a defense designed to deny him the ball, but he also was not very effective on set plays, while his corner kicks and crosses were not sharp.
Forward Eddie Johnson - 4.5: For the second time since Sunday, he made a sub-par start and was replaced early. He was completely ineffective, even though he appeared to expend a lot of effort. He must do something to play his way out of his deep slump both at the international and club levels.
Forward Kenny Cooper (59th minute for Benny Feilhaber) - 5.5: His entrance changed the shape of the attack for the better. He had his moments, but got little help. It will be interesting to see him over 90 minutes.
Midfielder Brian Mullan (67th minute for Johnson) - 5.5: He had a few good moments and did not make any glaring errors in a generally an understated appearance.
Defender Wade Barrett (83rd minute for Spector) - 5.5: Fit in well on the back-line.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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