Guatemala 2, USA 0 | 2018 World Cup Qualifying Match Recap
It's never easy for the US national team to play in Central America, but the Americans snapped a 21-game unbeaten streak against Guatemala on Friday night, losing 2-0 in CONCACAF 2018 World Cup qualifying in Guatemala City.
The hosts struck twice in the game's first 15 minutes, as Rafael Morales headed home a corner kick in the seventh minute, and then former MLS striker Carlos Ruiz took a direct route in scoring the second goal, running onto a long goal kick from Guatemala goalkeeper Paulo Motta and nutmegging Tim Howard on his tally.
By that point, the damage was done. The US pushed for a goal to get back into the game, but Motta stood tall, making five crucial saves to preserve the shutout.
- HISTORY MADE IN ALL-TIME SERIES: The US only beat Guatemala in Guatemala for the first time in 2008, but that fact is perhaps misleading. Coming into the game, the US hadn't lost to Guatemala since 1988, a 21-game run that was the USMNT's longest against any international opponent. Obviously streaks have to be broken at some point, but heading into the match it didn't seem likely this would be the night.
- MLS CHAPINES STAND TALL: In addition to former MLS marksman Ruiz, two current MLSers, FC Dallas defender Moises Hernandez and Columbus Crew SC rookie Rodrigo Saravia, started for the hosts. And then Colorado Rapids midfielder Marco Pappa came on at halftime and put up perhaps the non-goal highlight that summed up the game.
- MOTTA PRESERVES RESULT: The early goals clearly set the tone for the night, but after Guatemala grabbed the lead, Motta put in a Man of the Match effort, setting up Ruiz's goal off a goal kick and stopping the few chances mustered by the visitors. It was certainly a landmark night for the veteran 'keeper.
- GUA: Tuesday 3/29 at US (MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus) (7 pm ET, ESPN2)
- US: Tuesday 3/29 vs. Guatemala (MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus) (7 pm ET, ESPN2)