This unseemly story of Guatemalan involvement in international match fixing certainly warrants watching. Such insidious allegations have power all their own, of course, but this all bears closer observation because it affects the United States’ maneuvers en route to World Cup 2014.
The story is of three players from Guatemala’s national team being removed from the squad, under investigation for their part in some dubious results going back two years, which have drawn enough attention to deserve further probing.
MLSSoccer.com’s Brent Latham has done some good reporting on the whole thing, including the involvement of two former MLS men.
As for how it affects Jurgen Klinsmann’s team:
This all falls at the worst possible moment for Guatemala, which begins World Cup qualifying at Jamaica on Friday. Next week the Guatemalans host the United States in their initial home qualifier.
Two teams will move on from the four-team group (into final round regional qualifying). The United States is heavily favored, so that probably leaves one spot for Jamaica, Guatemala or Antiqua and Barbuda.
As for the United States’ trip into Central American next week, the scandal’s timing could be fortuitous. Klinsmann’s first wade into the choppy waters of CONCACAF road matches may have gotten a little easier, thanks to a couple of key figures out of the Guatemalan squad and to the general turmoil it could create around that team.