U.S. 1, Guatemala 1
From the fact that CONCACAF sold the match as a one-off, $29.95 Pay-Per-View, to the grainy feeds most people probably watched it on, to the continued, inept officiating in games involving the United States it felt like a proper fart in the mouth by the full-time whistle.
The less probably said, the better.
Yeah, yeah, yeah ... playing away games in Central America is about as difficult as trying to recite the alphabet backwards after a day of drinking, but still ... just a performance from the U.S. on all fronts that makes you shake your head, if only a little.
In the first half the U.S. didn't do very much -- nor did Guatemala -- yet a moment of individual magic from, who else, Clint Dempsey made it 1-0 before halftime. The second half was more of the same, not a ton of creativity from either team. The U.S. never did all that much to threaten to make it 2-0, until a bizarre -- typical -- decision from referee Joel Aguilar stopped a potential 1-v-1 with Jozy Altidore on the keeper by not calling advantag. On the ensuing free kick, Jermaine Jones launched it into row Z, next to Charlie Adam's famous penalty in the Carling Cup final.
Naturally, seconds later Fabian Johnson clattered into Carlos Ruiz -- yeah him -- and Marco Pappa curled the free kick over the wall, past a flat-footed Tim Howard and that was that. 1-1.
There's not a lot to say here.
If the U.S. holds on for the final 10 minutes, protects the 1-0 lead and banks six points before qualifying for the 2014 World Cup resumes in September we all go to bed happy. Now, after a so-so performance, at least from a creative, offense standpoint, we'll all end up having a lot more questions for the team and Jurgen Klinsmann. If you want to be ultra-cynical, this isn't too far different from the Bob Bradley regime, is it?
If you want to go nuts against the referees, be my guess. As a long veteran of watching these games, terrible officiating is par of the course. Game-after-game when the U.S. receives bad calls against it isn't really a conspiracy or anything, rather a sad fact of life. We can bitch and moan on Twitter all we like, but CONCACAF -- a corrupt, rotten organization -- clearly doesn't give two fucks about it, so why pull out your hair over it?
Sepp Blatter and all his cronies only laugh at you when you express your disgust and want change.
If you want change? Change the channel and don't watch.
Anyways, four points from two games isn't the end of the world. Six would have felt a lot better after this "five-game tournament" Klinsmann touted all spring due to the long layoff. (Have to think there were some very tired legs by the end of this run, a factor tonight? Possibly.) The U.S. is still in fine shape to move to the final round of qualifying so long as they take care of Guatemala and Jamaica at home in September and August.
Other quick thoughts?
* What's up with Landon Donovan? Not going to panic, but another quiet game from the all-time U.S. leading goalscorer.
* Clarence Goodson starting over Oguchi Onyewu tells you all you need to know.
* Not sure why Jozy Altidore stopped running on that nice centering pass from Michael Bradley late in the match.
* Think the dynamic of this team, as long as it plays a 4-3-3 would be a lot different if a healthy Stuart Holden were playing instead of Maurice Edu.
That's all I got.
Pretty tired and that game sapped about all the energy I still had.
What did everybody else think?
Thank god we have Clint Dempsey.