U.S. World Cup Qualifier Expected to be Tough
The United States will host Antigua and Barbuda on Friday for its first qualifying game for the 2014 World Cup. That game is not expected to test the U.S. men, as Antigua and Barbuda does not have the talent the U.S. possesses.
However, on Tuesday June 12, the U.S. will face a very tough game when it plays in Guatemala. The two countries are very familiar with one another, as they have met on numerous prior occasions at this juncture of previous World Cup qualifying.
Guatemala will be minus two veteran players who have been accused of match fixing, but will have its best veteran players Carlos Ruiz and Chicago Fire’s Marco Pappa, a midfielder. Ruiz played a number of years in the MLS and is currently playing in Mexico.
Guatemala is trying to qualify for its first ever trip to the World Cup and Pappa stressed in a recent interview that his club had to defeat Jamaica first on Friday June 8 before worrying about the U.S.
Pappa said after a tough game in Jamaica where the temperature can easily reach 100 degrees, it will be tough to return to in their showdown against the U.S. Guatemala will give the U.S. a stern test, as they have had two good outings of late against Costa Rica, including a win in Guatemala 1-0 last week.
Conditions on the field of play can be difficult at times in Guatemala for the U.S. Often times the game is rougher, much more physical and because they are playing against the U.S., the home team has even more incentive to win.
Costa Rica complained of a muddy pitch in their game last week in Guatemala and the U.S. is expecting the same since the region is in the midst of its rainy season and daily downpours are a common occurrence.