New England Soccer Today

U.S. Crush Guatemala in Final Tune-Up

The United States defeated Guatemala 4-0 on Friday night in their final friendly before embarking on their 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign. An own goal gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead at halftime and second half strikes from Timmy Chandler, Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski assured a comfortable victory in front of 44,835 at Nissan Field in Nashville, Tenn.

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann put out a strong line-up, likely close to the team’s best eleven for the Gold Cup. Brad Guzan got the start in goal behind a defense of Timmy Chandler, Omar Gonzalez, John Anthony Brooks, and Fabian Johnson. The midfield consisted of DeAndre Yedlin, Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud and Graham Zusi with Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey up top.

The U.S. earned a penalty in the 17th minute when Altidore went down in the box after a tug from a Guatemala player when trying to get on the end of the cross. Altidore stepped up to take the penalty, but hit it weakly to the lower corner where Paulo Motta got down to make the save.

Two minutes later the U.S. was gifted a goal when DeAndre Yedlin got down the right flank and sent in a cross. His effort eluded U.S. players, but Guatemalan defender Carlos Castrillo attempted to head it away and instead headed it into his own net.

Outside of a few shaky moments, the U.S. stayed in control throughout the half, but couldn’t find a second going into the break.

The United States came out on the offensive in the second half with numerous chances to add to their lead, including an Altidore shot that was denied from close range.

It wasn’t until the 58th minute, however, that they found the second goal after some sustained pressure. The U.S. turned the ball over, but quickly won it back near midfield and sprung forward. Chandler got the ball just outside the box from Yedlin and powered a left footed shot on frame inside the far post that Motta couldn’t get to. The goal was Chandler’s first for the U.S.

Dempsey would make it 3-0 in the 72nd minute after Bradley was tripped in the box by Castrillo and the U.S. earned their second penalty kick of the game. Dempsey chipped the PK past Motta for his 41st international goal.

Substitutes Gyassi Zardes and Chris Wondolowski combined to score the game’s final goal in the 86th minute with Zardes breaking down the left flank, getting into the box and dribbling to the endline. Zardes, with the goalkeeper coming, sent a pass back to Wondolowski, who redirected it into the empty net from close range.

The U.S. opens Gold Cup group play on Tuesday vs. Honduras at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

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