San Diego, California 7/6/2013
Landon Donovan, returning to the United States Men’s National Team for the first time since October, scored his 50th goal in International competition on a penalty kick early in the second half. The penalty came as Donovan was knocked down in the box on a crossing run at about the six yard box. He drove the penalty kick straight down the middle as the keeper leapt to the left. Donovan scored again in the 72nd minute, easily showing why he deserves a spot on the roster for the World Cup team as the US prepares for Brazil in 2014.
Hercules Gomez opened the scoring in the closing minutes of the first half with a solid finish from the right side burying the ball low into the right hand corner. This goal was important as the U.S. finally broke through against a Guatemala team that had basically been playing with a bunker mentality, keeping all 11 men deep in the defensive half of the field.
Chris Wondolowski scored his first International goal for the U.S. in his 12th appearance for the national team. He drove a ball from about 15 yards out to the right hand side of the net. Donovan’s second goal came less than a minute later, easily beating Ricardo Jerez with a drive to the right again. At this point it was 4-0 and the U.S. was actively substituting to get other players a chance with the game out of reach.
Rather than slow the pace and close out the game, the U.S. continued attacking, and Clarence Goodson was able to finish off a corner kick after his first attempt was blocked by driving his second attempt high into the top of the net with bodies littered on the goal line. It was a great finish in close facilitated by Oguchi Onyewu, who returned to the national team for the first time since October 2012. This game was a renaissance and many firsts for the United States.
The final goal came from a hectic back and forth in front of the net that ended with Alejandro Bedoya driving a shot from about 22 yards out that smoked the top of the net. This was Bedoya’s first goal for the United States in International competition. After this goal, you could see the total deflation of effort from the Guatemalan squad, thoroughly discouraged as the United States controlled possession to run out the clock.
Jurgen Klinsmann now has to hope that this team can continue to perform like this during the upcoming Gold Cup competition and that he will have some difficult decisions in deciding who makes the final World Cup roster.