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List of Americans Abroad

Qualifying loss to ascendant T&T means little to U.S. men.

Cooper says no to invitation to join U.S. team in qualifying.

U.S. bursts into final round of qualifying by demolishing Cuba 6-1.

High security follows Americans around Guatemala City.

High security follows Americans around Guatemala City.

High security follows Americans around Guatemala City.

Qualifying semifinals begin with trip to unfriendly Guatemala.

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.

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Analysis

Cooper, Adu lead U.S. to dominant, if meaningless, decision over Guatemala.

By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

(Thursday, November 20, 2008) -- The United States men closed the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with a dominating 2-0 win over Guatemala in front of a disappointingly small crowd of 9,303 yesterday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.

Second-half goals from striker Kenny Cooper and midfielder Freddy Adu accounted for the scoring for the Americans who, winning for the seventh time in eight qualifiers, finished atop of Group A with a 5-1 record and 15 points.

The U.S. had clinched advancement to the six-nation, final round of qualifying after winning their first four semifinal matches.

The U.S., using an inexperienced lineup because its finals berth had been secured, was in complete charge of Guatemala (1-3-2, 5 points) from start to finish. The Chapines did not play any better for new manager Benjamin Monterroso then they had for fired coach Ramon Madariaga. Except for goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez, who made several spectacular saves, most of the Guatemalans seemed to be going through the motions. Despite needing a victory to stay alive for advancement, Guatemala seldom pushed forward and gave the Americans all sorts of room in the midfield. Its first serious shot on goal did not come until the 85th minute

(As it turned out, even a triumph would not have been enough For Guatemala, because Trinidad and Tobago (3-2-1, 10) earned Group B's second spot in the final round by blanking Cuba 3-0.)

The U.S. had numerous chances in the first half and only some woeful finishing and Jerez's saves prevented the Americans from going into halftime up by a couple of goals.

"It's a good way for us to finish up this round," U.S. manager Bob Bradley said. "It caps a successful run and now we focus on the challenge ahead. There was an opportunity tonight to see some different players and, as always, there were some things that were positive and some things that need work. All in all, it was a good night for us."

Tactically, Bradley did several things differently then he had in previous qualifiers. He started two true forwards, Jozy Altidore and Kenny Cooper, and the pair played well off each other. For the most part, Altidore stay well forward while Cooper dropped back, at times, into the midfield.

Bradley also did something different in the midfield. He played his two main offensive threats, Adu and Sacha Kljestan, wider then usual and had both make diagonal runs through the middle, This caused the Guatemalan defense all kinds of problems.

Adu, for one, played a bit deeper than in previous national-team appearances and this proved advantageous. Also, from the wider positions, both Adu and Kljestan were able to push ahead on the wings.

The young and inexperienced U.S. defense did well. Put under very little pressure, it easily cleaned up the infrequent and ineffectual Guatemalan offensive efforts.

The youth of the Americans was evidenced by the fact that six starters -- the entire back line of, Clarence Goodson, Michael Parkhurst and John Thorrington, as well as Clark and midfielder Ricardo Clark -- opened a World Cup qualifier for the first time.

Joining the U.S. in the final hexagonal are Mexico, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador and Costa Rica. The top three finishers in the round robin qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, while the fourth-place team will face South America's fifth-place side in a two-match playoff. The final round begins February 11 and will also have games on March 28, April 1, June 3, June 6, August 19, September 5, September 9, October 10 and October 14.


U.S. player ratings

Starters

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan - 6: Had an easy evening, facing little in the way of quality shots, though he made a great save on Guatemala's one dangerous chance..

Defender Jonathan Bornstein - 4.5: Consistently pushed ahead against little resistance, but failed time and again to provide a quality cross.

Defender Clarence Goodson - 6: Toiling in relative obscurity in Norway, Goodson has been, in many ways, a forgotten man in U.S. circles. Tonight, he was solid, allowing little and winning every air battle. Since he can also play defensive midfield, he might have a solid future with his national team as a utility player.

Defender Michael Parkhurst - 6: Did extremely well against a low-level opponent in a situation where he seldom faced pressure.

Defender John Thorrington - 5.5: More a midfielder then a back, he did well and was involved in the offense, as well.

Midfielder Ricardo Clark - 5.5: He too had some strong moments and was solid on defense while a threat when pushing forward. Still, he sometimes disappeared and not consistent over 90 minutes.

Midfielder Freddy Adu - 7: Probably the best effort in his brief tenure with the senior squad. Was dangerous coming out of the midfield, crossed the ball well, triggered a couple of good shots from the run of play, while scoring on a terrific free kick.

Midfielder Pablo Mastroeni - 5: Had some good moments, but disappeared for long stretches> Late, he took a foolish yellow card that will keep him out of the opener in the next round for his accumulation of cautions.

Midfielder Sacha Kljestan - 6.5: Tailed off in the second half after getting off to a solid start.

Forward Jozy Altidore - 7: Was the top U.S. threat in the first half as he used his size and speed to gain advantage time and time again. Still, he needs to mature as a player and learn when to shoot and when to pass. His nice pass led to Cooper's opening tally.

Forward Kenny Cooper - 6.5: Circumstances finally allowed him a start and he responded well. He has size and strength, if not outstanding pace, and scored a nice goal. Not a technical player, but he might excel in certain circumstances. He could have finished better.

Reserves

Forward Brian Ching (76th minute for Altidore) - 5: Did little with the match closed out mainly in the midfield.

Forward Conor Casey (76th minute for Cooper) - 5: Also had little impact on the game.

Midfielder Davy Arnaud (84th minute for Adu) - 5: A token appearance, mainly in a defensive role.

SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Freddy Adu.


Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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