Clint Dempsey scored twice as the host U.S. team beat Guatemala 3-1 and advanced to next year's final round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Eddie Johnson of Sounders FC assisted on the winning goal.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Clint Dempsey is precisely the kind of scrappy player coach Jurgen Klinsmann covets on his teams, an attacker who is willing to throw his body around for the greater good.
On Tuesday night, the rest of the United States team played like Dempsey.
Dempsey scored twice and assisted on Carlos Bocanegra’s equalizer, and the U.S. team finally showed some of the gritty, proactive style Klinsmann has been preaching to rally past Guatemala 3-1 and reach next year’s final round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“They understood the moment,” said Klinsmann, who has eschewed a defensive style embraced by former U.S. coach Bob Bradley for one predicated on moving forward.
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Facing its first elimination match in qualifying since 2000 and its second in 23 years, the United States needed merely a draw to advance to the six-team finals in North and Central America and the Caribbean. The final round of qualifying also will include Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama and Jamaica.
Jamaica routed Antigua & Barbuda 4-1 and overtook Guatemala for a final-round berth based on goal difference.
After Carlos Ruiz put Guatemala ahead in the fifth minute, Dempsey set up Bocanegra’s goal in the 10th minute, then scored in the 18th and 36th minutes to help the United States (4-1-1) — seeking its seventh straight World Cup appearance — top its semifinal group with 13 points.
Eddie Johnson of Sounders FC assisted on the winning goal.
On Friday, Johnson played a more prominent role — scoring twice in a 2-1 victory over Antigua & Barbuda in his first match with the U.S. team since 2010.
Of Johnson and Dempsey, Klinsmann said, “They have good chemistry and they get along. On the field, you want to see guys that are there for each other.”
Johnson made Klinsmann’s move to add him to the roster look good.
“He felt comfortable and confident and he responded with a wonderful performance (Tuesday),” Klinsmann said. “It gives us another card we can play with, a very important one.”
• Spain’s 24-match winning streak in qualifiers ended when Olivier Giroud scored in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, giving France a 1-1 draw in Madrid.
• Meanwhile, Germany squandered a four-goal lead at home in a 4-4 tie with Sweden.