The USA got a much-needed win against a battling but outmanned Guatemalan side. It wasn't that the USA had been playing poorly up to that point, but after the disappointing result in Mexico it was necessary to answer the critics. They started strongly and created endless opportunities to score, but it looked like one of those frustrating matches until Eddie Johnson slotted the ball past Trigueno in the 11th minute. For the rest of the first half, the USA dominated the proceedings, but the few chances that the Guatemalans had looked really dangerous. One final pass away from the goal, but the center defense for the United States played so well. The second half brought more of the same with some thrilling moments -- a fine headed goal by Donovan was called back (wrongly, in my opinion) for offside, then a fantastic bicycle kick by Johnson was parried away by Trigueno. Finally Ralston poked home a flick by Johnson and settled the contest. Ruíz was carded late in the match, which means that he will miss the critical June qualifier against México.
In all, it wasn't a bad
away home win for the USA. I knew it was going to be bad when I saw the 20+ charter buses in the parking lot two hours before kickoff.
México saw their perfect record broken in their 1-1 draw in Panama City. They started well and forged ahead on Morales' goal, but Pardo's red card in the second half turned the match around for the Panamanians. Tejada's goal with 15 minutes to go was a just reward for Panamá's efforts.
Trinidad & Tobago 0-0 Costa Rica
I couldn't find a picture to go with this game, which is probably just as well because it was a poor match. Costa Rica's attacking options were going to be limited as the road team, but they were dealing with injuries to Herrón and Sunsing and the abrupt withdrawal of Ledezma. Trinidad & Tobago -- once again -- were disconnected in midfield and attack. Both teams received a point which meant little for T&T's cause and signalled the end of the line for Bertille St. Clair, who was sacked the following day in favor of the Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker. The Costa Rican federation also decided that nine matches was far too long to hold on to Jorge Luis Pinto - Alexandre Guimaraes now begins his second stint with the national team.
So after three rounds:
México 7 +2
USA 6 +3
Guatemala 4 +2
Costa Rica 4 0
Panamá 2 -1
T&T 1 -5