Posts Tagged ‘Guatemala’

Jurgen

Why so nervous, Klinsi? “Because I’ve read your scenarios below. HOW many games do we have to win to guarantee moving on?”

[EDIT: I realized after posting this piece that the minimum number of points the USA could advance with is zero – not one, as I originally stated.  I’ve updated the post to reflect this.  I’m not so great at math, obviously.  My bad.]

[EDIT AGAIN: Now I’ve realized that the USA is guaranteed a spot in the hex with only 4 points, not 6 as stated below.  I’m officially terrible at math.]

The final two games of the third round of CONCACAF 2014 World Cup qualifying are looming on the horizon for the USMNT: the first an away match in Antigua, and the second a home tilt against Guatemala at sold-out Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City.  With Guatemala, Jamaica, and the USA all sitting on 7 points apiece, this morning I started wondering exactly what sort of results the USA needs out of these two fixtures.  Here’s a quick summary of what I’ve gleaned from taking a look at the numbers:

The USA could find itself in the hex with 0 points from these next two matches.  I shudder to think that this could happen, but if the universe were kind enough to the USMNT in terms of other results, the USA could mathematically advance despite losing against both Antigua and Guatemala.  If the USA and Jamaica both lose their next two matches, Guatemala would finish at the top of the group, with the USA, Jamaica, and Antigua all sitting on 7 points.  Provided the USA had a higher goal differential than the other two nations (likely for Antigua, iffy for Jamaica), they’d finish second on the tiebreaker.

Needless to say, this scenario – even if the stars aligned and the USA went through – would likely be seen as something of a disaster.  USMNT fans would despair, and would probably be calling for Klinsi’s head on a platter.  Nobody wants to see this happen.

Sunil

“Waiter – bring me Jurgen’s head. I’m so very hungry.”

6 points guarantees the USA moves on to the hex.  If the USA wins these final two matches, they’ll finish with 13 points.  Under this scenario, only one other team (Jamaica) could possibly finish above the USA, if they also won their last two remaining matches AND had a higher goal differential than the USA.  Guatemala could finish with a maximum of 10 points under this scenario, with Antigua out of contention after matchday 1.  Thus, the message here is simple: win these two games and you’re through, most likely finishing first in the group.

Edit: 4 points also guarantees the USA moves on in the tournament, though not necessarily at the top of the group.  God, my math skills are terrible.  Whoops.

Qualification for the hex is possible with 1, 2, or 3 points, but would be practically as nerve-wracking as going through with 0 points.  There are many scenarios that would put the USA through to the hex with 1 point (a draw and a loss), 2 points (2 draws), or 3 points (a win and a loss).  But like the first scenario explored above, the USA’s fate with 1, 2, or 3 points would depend heavily on the results of other matches.  And let’s be honest – no USA fan wants to hedge the USA’s advancement on the outcome of other matches or goal differentials.

The bottom line: the USA’s fate rests squarely in the team’s hands.  Against weaker opposition, the USA should be able to comfortably advance to the hex with two decisive victories on the 12th and 16th.  The USA has the added advantage of facing the stronger of the two opponents – Guatemala – on home soil, in front of what should be a raucous, pro-USA Livestrong Sporting Park crowd.  And good thing, as the USA cannot lose there if they want to ensure that they go through to the hex on their own merits, rather than due to the fortunate results of the Antigua/Jamaica tilt.

Until next time – get those 6 points, and GO USA!

The USA will get its first taste of an away atmosphere for 2014 World Cup qualifying when they travel to Guatemala City on June 12.  Think you might have what it takes to play an away game in Central America?  This US Soccer video says otherwise.  Watch it, and if you tell me you didn’t pee yourself by the end, you’re either lying, or have better bladder control than me.

But never fear, USA fans.  What Guatemala provides in terms of intimidating stadiums is severely undermined by the fact that they’re actually pretty bad at soccer.  So bad that they’ve never qualified for the World Cup.  Fun fact: remember back in 2006, when Trinidad and Tobago became the smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup?  Guatemala was the CONCACAF runner-up that year.  That’s right – Guatemala is worse than the smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup.

Even more telling is the nickname of Guatemala’s most famous soccer player, Carlos Ruiz.  As a youngster, Ruiz earned the nickname “El Pescadito”, or “The Little Fish”.  That nickname is a fantastic metaphor for the country he represents in international competition: Guatemala, a true minnow.  Add in the fact that Carlos Ruiz is actually the starting catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, and I’m starting to think the USA should be able to easily handle La Furia Azul.

Carlos Ruiz

Guatemala is so bad at soccer that their most famous soccer player, Carlos Ruiz, actually plays baseball!

Here’s the breakdown:

Statistics sez: A FIFA head-to-head search shows that the USA holds a 12-5-4 record against Guatemala.  In the ten times the sides have met in World Cup qualifying, the USA has never lost, winning 6 and drawing 4.  Guatemala has failed to score against the USA in its last 5 qualifying matches, and I’m pretty sure Tim Howard won’t be looking to let that streak get broken.

Tim Howard laughing

The very thought of Guatemala scoring on the USA makes Tim Howard laugh. That’s right, this is what Timmy looks like while he’s laughing. “SCORE ON ME? YOU’RE FUCKING HILARIOUS, GUATEMALA!!!!”

What I’m eating: Guatemala’s most well-known food is fiambre, a smorgusburg salad of meats, cheeses, and vegetables, containing as many as 50 ingredients.  The dish is usually prepared on November 1, as a part of the celebrations of Day of the Dead.  I figure the most insulting American version of fiambre is a Fiesta Taco Salad from Taco Bell – also a smorgusburg salad, likely containing 50 chemical additives and ingredients.  But isn’t Taco Bell derived from Mexican, and not Guatemalan, food?  Even better.  Chowing down on fake Mexican food can serve as a not-so-subtle reminder to Guatemala that they’re pretty much Mexico Jr – Mexico’s Canada, if you will.

What I’m drinking: Guatemala’s most well-known local beer is Gallo, a lager which has been produced in the country since 1896.  That’s a pretty long time.  However, the great American lager, Budweiser, has been produced in the US of A for a full 20 years longer than that.  Look for me to be downing Buds while watching the USA score one goal for each year that Budweiser was making beer while Gallo wasn’t even a sparkle in Guatemala’s eye.

What I’m singing: “Yoni Flores”, sung to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”.

A little background is in order here.  Here’s what you need to know: FIFA recently began investigating a Guatemalan match-fixing scandal.  Three players were implicated and suspended from the Guatemalan national team, including a player named Yoni Flores.  Finally, the word “yoni” is Sanskrit for “vagina”.

With that context, here’s the song I was inspired to write for Tuesday’s match:

Guatemala did their best Italian impression
Fixed some games, FIFA found out and handed out suspensions
Now Yoni Flores can’t play, he’s sad, and starts to cry
I’m just laughing at his name, cause “Yoni” means vagina!

 

What to say to the Guatemalan fan next to you if, God forbid, they score: “Did Vagina score that one?  Oh wait, he’s suspended.  Never mind.”

Until next time…go USA!