BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, October 15, 2012
The United States national team will have a lot on the line when they host Guatemala on Tuesday night in a crucial World Cup Qualifier.

For the United States, the game comes on the heels of an unimpressive 2-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda where the US needed a late winner from Eddie Johnson to defeat the tiny Caribbean nation on a drenched and muddy field.

The US team has not impressed so far in World Cup qualifying and now faces a game where they likely must secure a result to advance to next year's final qualifying round. The United States and Guatemala are currently tied for first place in Group A of their CONCACAF qualifying group. Jamaica trails both teams by three points.

If the United States wins or draws against Guatemala, they will advance. A loss could send the Americans to a stunning elimination if Jamaica wins against Antigua and Barbuda and overcomes the goal differential where they currently trail by three.

The United States enters into the game with serious injury problems in many key areas. At the start of camp, outside midfielders Brek Shea and Landon Donovan were forced to withdraw from camp because of lingering injuries. Since then, left back Fabian Johnson has been unable to play with the flu and his back up Edgar Castillo injured his ankle.

In addition to the injuries, several problems were evident in the poor performance against Antigua and Barbuda that will likely force head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to make changes to his team.

In the backline, Steve Cherundolo will likely start at right back and Geoff Cameron will start in the middle. Carlos Bocanegra struggled against Antigua and Barbuda and will likely move central defense to partner with Cameron. The left back duties will therefore like fall to Michael Parkhurst.

In the midfield, Jermaine Jones came on for Danny Williams early in the second half against Antigua and he should be the favorite to start the game in defensive midfield. On the right side, Graham Zusi has had success the last two games and will likely start again against Guatemala. In the middle, Michael Bradley is perhaps the team's best player and is finally healthy after missing nearly a month with a leg injury.

The left side of the midfield is very unclear and while Eddie Johnson started there against Antigua and Barbuda, the resurgent Seattle forward is more likely to start up top after his two goal performance on Friday. Partnering with Johnson up top will likely be Clint Dempsey who scored against Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier in June which ended with a score of 1-1.

Guatemala is led by Carlos Ruiz who is the country's all-time leading scorer. As a long-time MLS veteran, Ruiz is a familiar face to many of the players on the U.S. national team. Also key to Guatemala is Marco Pappa who was a standout player for the Chicago Fire but transferred this past summer to Heerenveen in Holland.

The United States has not lost a home World Cup qualifier in 27 games dating back to a 3-2 loss to Honduras at RFK on September 1, 2011. The United States has also qualified for every World Cup since 1990.
Tuesday October 16, 2012 5:32 pm
I heard they were appealing that yellow card on Jones.
Tuesday October 16, 2012 3:01 pm
Our coach has missed a good opportunity to call up qualified players to be a part of this very important game. There have been many injuries,sickness and the yellow card elimination of Jones for this game. We barely have enough reliable subs to play this game!! Bad preparation and a missed opportunity to include players if indeed a celebration does happen at the end of todays game. I'm disappointed in the roster selection.
Tuesday October 16, 2012 2:18 pm
Nobody is going to even attempt to score a goal (only a very slight exaggeration). Both teams advance with a draw. History is full of examples of games like this ending 0-0. That said, I think the U.S. should put caution to the winds and try and score. A lot. Time is running out and this squad needs every second of practice it can find. If they can't beat Guatemala what are their chances against Mexico? Or in Brazil of advancing past group? Nil. So go out and score! If only because I'm going to watch it.
Mark WNY
Tuesday October 16, 2012 12:04 pm
I will put Edu in the back and include Corona in the mid. Bring Herc from the bench. 3 x 1 USA wins...
Tuesday October 16, 2012 10:59 am
Now I'm not sure you guys know this but Jones is eliminated for yellow card accumulation... Just clarifying because I don't think that was said...
ed c,
Tuesday October 16, 2012 8:20 am
Did Bocanegra play? I didn't see the last game. I cannot imagine that playing D2 would warrant him a place on the team but seems some players are untouchable.
Tuesday October 16, 2012 7:08 am
FYI- Jones is suspended for yellow card accumulation. May want to change your article a bit.
Tuesday October 16, 2012 6:31 am
Jermaine Jones is suspended for this game so he will not be starting.
Tuesday October 16, 2012 5:23 am
personally i think Jurgen Klinsmann has been a bad experience with the US MNT. the team hasn't played any attractive football ever since he took over, he has mixed and match and after almost 2 years he is still mixing and matching. it is kinna painfull to watch the MNT play. but i say 3-2 for the MNT for today's game.
Tuesday October 16, 2012 12:35 am
Jones is suspened for the game against Guatemala. And I am pretty sure the US's last home World Cup qualification loss was not on September 1, 2011...
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