March 29, 2016
USA needs three points vs. Guatemala in Columbus
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- No one has to remind United States national coach Jurgen Klinsmann how vital Tuesday night's FIFA World Cup qualifier against Guatemala is.
|Michael Bradley: “Just because we talk about a good response and taking care of things in the right way tomorrow night, there’s no telling what can happen so we’ve got to be ready for that."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The USA faces a must-win situation in the CONCACAF Group C match at Mapfre Stadium.
After dropping a 2-0 decision in Guatemala City on Friday night the Americans (1-1-1, 4 points) find themselves in third place. Since the top two teams in the group will advance to the hexagonal, the USA needs three points to keep its hopes alive.
Trinidad & Tobago (2-1-0, 7) leads the group, followed by the Guatemalans (2-0-1, 6). Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (0-0-3, 0) is fourth.
"Obviously we came back not with the result we wanted in Guatemala," Klinsmann said Monday. "It makes the situation very clear: We need to win this game.
"There's a sense of urgency around tomorrow night because we need to get three points now."
Even if it fails to register a win, the USA still would be in a position to reach the hexagonal, although it would have to win its remaining matches against Trinidad (home) and Saint Vincent (away) and possibly need help from other group results.
The Americans have been buoyed by the fact that will host Guatemala in a venue in which they never tasted defeat in 10 qualifiers (7-3-0). That includes four “dos a cero” results against Mexico. They are also unbeaten in 28 home qualifying matches (26-2-0) since they lost to Honduras, 3-2, in 2001.
“We always said World Cup qualifying is a long road, a tricky road, a difficult road,” Klinsmann said. “If you lose it makes it more difficult. Nothing is given to you for free, you have to work hard and get your points. We have to take responsibility for it but we are confident we will get there.”
While the USA players might talk a good game and are hopeful, midfielder Michael Bradley felt actions are much more important than words.
“Just because we talk about a good response and taking care of things in the right way tomorrow night, there’s no telling what can happen so we’ve got to be ready for that," he said. "We’ve got to understand that. That’s what I mean when I say guys have to be fearless and embrace that.”
The USA has brought in midfielders Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) and Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) into camp as injured defender-midfielder Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach) and defender Matt Besler (Kansas City) returned to their respective clubs.