Tuesday, October 16, 2012

United States of America 3 - Guatemala 1; Jamaica 4 - Antigua and Barbuda 1

Jamaica welcomed Antigua and Barbuda to their office in Kingston with Jamaica praying for a miracle in the other group match to allow them to make up goal differential and move on.  The matches kicked off simultaneously, so Jamaica would have to receive news periodically of the other score knowing that a draw between the United States of America and Guatemala would eliminate them.  However, Jamaica had to worry about winning by enough of a margin to overcome a goal differential deficit should the other match not end in a draw.  A Demar Philipps shot from distance was misjudged by Antigua goalkeeper Molvin James and bounced its way in for Jamaica's opener.  One minute later, Nyron Nosworthy converted off a header from a corner kick.  Jamaica went into halftime up 2-0 and with the knowledge that they were currently even in goal differential with Guatemala for the second spot in Group One.

In the second period, Antigua pulled one back through a twenty-five yard free kick from Quinton Griffith that temporarily had Jamaica eliminated.  With a dozen minutes later in their tournament, however, the Reggae Boyz scored again as a ball dropped off from the end line was sent home by an open Dane Richards.  With two minutes left, Jamaica secured passage to the CONCACAF Fourth Round when a long ball sent from their own half was volleyed on the sprint by Richards as James had come off his line to close the angle.  Jamaica win 4-1 to stay alive in Brasil 2014.

Kansas City was the site of the match between hosts United States of America and visiting Guatemala.  Both teams knew that a draw would be enough to see them safely through to the CONCACAF Fourth Round.  There was talk before the match that both teams might play to a gentlemanly draw, but those doing the talking clearly do not remember the bad blood that circulates between these two teams as evidenced by their qualifier in Guatemala for the 2010 FIFA World Cup on 20 August 2008.  Gustavo Cabrera elbowed Eddie Lewis in the head, knocking Lewis out of the American national team picture and earning a red in the process.  In that same game, Carlos Ruiz took the liberty to intentionally kick goalkeeper Tim Howard in the face, so needless to say, the United States were not looking to help Guatemala achieve any of their goals on this night.

With all the background in this match now listed, it is on to the matchup itself.  Ruiz made himself the bane of the Americans yet again, but this time he did so by scoring a goal in the fifth minute of play.  A long, long ball went over the heads of four American defenders as Ruiz latched onto the ball.  He came head-to-head against Howard and then coolly dribbling around Howard as the goalkeeper went to ground before tapping home with the outside of his foot to give Los Chapines a 1-0 lead.   The early goal seemed to wake the Americans from their slumber.  Center back Carlos Bocanegra, who was hopelessly trailing Ruiz on the goal, redeemed himself five minutes later.  A Graham Zusi corner kick was headed from the near post by Clint Dempsey (pictured, red and white) across the box to two Americans who had lost their markers.  Bocanegra got to the ball to tap in for the equalizer.  Eight minutes later, Eddie Johnson was operating up the right flank when he slotted a slow rolling cross that somehow evaded all the Chapines in the area and came to Dempsey's feet for a side-foot sliding finish and a 2-1 lead.  The Americans did not let up, and their third goal came not quite twenty minutes after their second.  Midfielder Michael Bradley had received the ball on the run and chipped the oncoming goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez.  Dempsey continued his run to knock the ball into the net, making sure that the chip did not hit the post or go wide.  The United States led 3-1 at halftime.

Guatemala were out of answers offensively, so their best hope in the second half was for Antigua to close the gap so that they could advance on goal differential.  Jerez saved Dempsey's hat trick bid five minutes into the second half.  With twenty minutes left, it appeared the referee had saved Guatemala's tournament by not calling a penalty when Ruiz chopped Bradley in the penalty area.  However, with the late turnaround in Kingston and the 3-1 win for the United States, Guatemala have been eliminated from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

USA 13 pts IN
Jamaica 10 pts +3 IN
Guatemala 10 pts +1 OUT
Antigua OUT

Demar Philipps 16
Nyron Nosworthy 17
Dane Richards 78, 88

Antigua and Barbuda
Quinton Griffith 61

United States of America
Carlos Bocanegra 10
Clint Dempsey 18, 36

Carlos Ruiz 5

Match Reports:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqZGO2zvC4E (Jamaica v. Antigua)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzUCgSHmOhU&noredirect=1 (USA v. Guatemala)

No comments: