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List of Americans Abroad

U.S. methodically closes out Barbados to advance in qualifying.

Against weak foe, U.S. attack finally finds itself in 8-0 qualifying rout of Barbados.

Howard saves U.S. men in 0-0 draw with Argentina in match of tired teams.

Spain is dominant, but settles for 1-0 victory over U.S. men.

U.S. men are simply outclassed by England in 2-0 loss.

Strong effort on defense highlights U.S. men's easy 3-0 win over Poland.

Bradley learns much about his U.S. team in 2-2 draw with Mexico.

Despite lackluster effort, U.S. must be satisfied in shutout of Sweden.

Despite so-so effort, U.S. defeats South Africa on Cherundolo goal.

Despite so-so effort, U.S. defeats South Africa on Cherundolo goal.

Youth is served as U.S. kids combine to beat Switzerland.

Bradley's first goal comes late, defeats Switzerland 1-0.

Superiority evident, Brazil still is tested in defeating Americans.

Loss to Sweden displays weakness with World Cup qualifying on horizon.

U.S. reserves fall short, lose to Colombia in Copa América finale.

Young Americans fall 1-0 to Colombia, finish last in Copa América.

Copa América hopes die day before Colombia match.

U.S. about finished in Copa America for lack of scoring touch.

U.S. about finished in Copa America for lack of scoring touch.

U.S. hung tough in Argentina loss, until late collapse.

Late revival allows U.S. to shock Mexico, defend Gold Cup.

U.S. survives late Canadian onslaught with help of faulty offside call.

U.S. survives poor finishing, edges Panama in Gold Cup quarterfinals.

Beasley strikes twice, U.S. beats El Salvador 4-0 for Group B sweep.

Ching, Johnson goals down T&T 2-0, earn quarterfinal berth.

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U.S. men

Qualifying semifinals begin with trip to unfriendly Guatemala.

By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (Monday, August 18, 2008) -- On paper, it looks as if the United States men should have little trouble getting past Guatemala here on Wednesday night in the opening match of the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. Yet, there are few places as inhospitable to visiting teams as Guatemala City's Estadio Mateo Flores, so any advantage the U.S. might appear to have will likely be negated in front of the fervent 30,000 expected to be in attendance.

Historically, the Americans are 10-4-5 against Guatemala and the Chapines have not scored against the U.S. in the last six matches between the two nations in all competitions.They have met eight times in World Cup qualifying with the U.S. holding an unbeaten 4-0-4 mark in the series. Still, the U.S. has never won a qualifier in Guatemala City.

The U.S. and Guatemala are in Group A, along with Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago, in this six-match, round-robin competition. The top two finishers from each of three groups advance to the final round of qualifying beginning in February on the road to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

U.S. coach Bob Bradley has selected pretty much the same squad he assembled for the easy home-and-home victory over Barbados in the second round of qualifying. (The Americans had a bye in the first round.) Bradley's roster features mainly European-based players with some Major League Soccer stars thrown in.

Although Bradley keeps his starting lineup "secret" until the last minute and won't talk formation or strategy before a match, one might look find instruction from the 11 that have been starting recently.

Tim Howard will be in goal with a defense will almost certainly feature Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu in the middle with Heath Pearce on the left side and Steve Cherundolo on the right. The midfield will be comprised of Michael Bradley, the coach's son, Maurice Edu, Clint Dempsey, along with DaMarcus Beasley, now that he has shown he is fit again by playing for Glasgow Rangers last weekend.

Up front will be Landon Donovan with either Eddie Johnson or Brian Ching.

Since Donovan likes to drop back into the midfield, the U.S. will end up with just one attacker and five in the midfield. It is hoped a crowded midfield will negate the speed of the Chapines.

Missing from the American roster is FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper. He is having a strong year in MLS, but has not trained with the full national team for well more than a year. With the U.S. having no time to train together before this match, the roster is comprised of players who have been worked together for most of this year.

Guatemala will counter with a team that has a lot of speed, especially on the wings, but not a lot of technical ability. It has one proven scorer in the striker Carlos Ruiz of MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy and several younger players who are developing quickly.

One such player is right winger Mario Rodriguez, who played 19 games for the MLS's Columbus Crew in 2005, scoring just one goal. However, in a warm-up match two weeks ago in Washington D.C., he had a goal and two assists against Bolivia and showed both blazing speed and a growing technical ability.

The last time the U.S. visited Guatemala in 2000, it was forced to play in Estadio Carlos Salazar Hijo in the small city of Mazatenango, hours by poor roads from the capital, a place known for its heat, humidity and mosquitoes. The night before the match, U.S. players were serenaded by blasting car radios far into the night as they tried to get some sleep at the Hotel Colonia, 12 miles outside Mazatenango. The result: 1-1 on a late Guatemalan goal.

SoccerTimes prediction: Another 1-1 draw.


Rosters for Wednesday's qualifier. United States players are followed by team affiliation in parentheses). Guatemala players all play domestically unless otherwise noted:

United States

Goalkeepers (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Tim Howard (Everton FC, England).

Defenders (6): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes, France), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, Germany), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC, England), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew, Major League Soccer), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liège, Belgium), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock, Germany).

Midfielders (5): Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen, Netherlands), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC, MLS), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA, MLS, Eddie Lewis (Derby County, England), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids, MLS).

Forwards (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo, MLS), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC, England), Eddie Johnson (Fulham FC, England).

Guatemala

Goalkeepers (2): Ricardo Trigueno (Petapa), Luis Pedro Molina (Jalapa).

Defenders (7): Carlos Gallardo (Comunicaciones), Carlos Castrillo (Comunicaciones), Yony Flores (Marquense), Cristian Noriega (Municipal), Jaime Vides (Municipal), Luis Rodriguez (Xelaju), Gustavo Cabrera (Aarhus, Denmark).

Midfielders (8): Fredy Garcia (Municipal), Guillermo Ramirez (Municipal), Mario Rodriguez (Municipal), Gonzalo Romero (Municipal), Jean Marquez (Comunicaciones), Abner Trigueros (Comunicaciones), Jose Contreras (Arsenal, Argentina), Fredy Thompson (no club).

Forwards (2): Dwight Pezzarossi (Comunicaciones), Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS).


Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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