USA 4-0 Guatemala: USMNT cruises into Gold Cup with win in Nashville

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With just four days until the Gold Cup kicks off, the USMNT easily handled Guatemala 4-0 in front of more than 40,000 fans in Nashville.

Jurgen Klinsmann put out a strong starting lineup in what could be a glimpse of his starting XI when the U.S. faces off against Honduras on Tuesday night.

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The U.S. got off to a good start, using speed on the outsides to get in behind the Guatemalan defense. Fabian Johnson made a run from outside back and threw in a cross in the 18th minute, where Jozy Altidore was pulled down in the box. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, but Altidore failed to convert, hitting a poor shot which Paulo Motta was able to save relatively easily.

Luckily for Altidore, the U.S. would take the lead just over a minute later thanks to an own goal from Guatemalan defender Carlos Castrillo.

DeAndre Yedlin took a beautiful ball from Michael Bradley down the right flank, and as Castrillo went to head Yedlin’s cross clear, he directed it into the bottom corner of his own net, giving the United States a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute.

Despite going into halftime with a 1-0 lead, the U.S. didn’t look too convincing in the opening 45 playing against a weak side in Guatemala.

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In the second half, a bit of individual brilliance from Timmy Chandler doubled the United States’ lead in the 58th minute. The right back got forward and hit a booming left footed shot into the bottom corner, giving the keeper no chance to make a save. It was Chandler’s first goal for the USMNT.

The U.S. got another penalty kick in the 72nd minute, when Michael Bradley cut by one defender before being taken down by a second. This time, Clint Dempsey stepped up to the spot and hit a clever chip up the middle, fooling Motta and giving the United States a three goal lead.

Chris Wondolowski made it 4-0 late in the match, finishing on an open goal after a great run from Gyasi Zardes. Zardes was dangerous off the bench for Klinsmann, and could have earned himself a starting role in the Gold Cup.