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CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier Preview: U.S. v. Guatemala

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The U.S. looks to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat against Guatemala, as it faces Guatemala again on Tuesday, March 29th.

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

After a shocking 2-0 loss in Guatemala last Friday, the United States Men's National Team returns home to face Guatemala in Columbus, Ohio.

The U.S. will be missing injured midfielder Fabian Johnson and centerback Matt Besler, both of whom missed the last game, as they return to their respective clubs for treatment. To replace them, Jurgen Klinsmann added winger Graham Zusi and attacking midfielder Christian Pulisic to the roster.

Rosters:

U.S.

Goalkeepers (4): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)

Defenders (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)

Midfielders (9): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

Guatemala

Goalkeepers (3): Paulo Motta (Municipal), Ricardo Jérez (Alianza Petrolera/COL), José García (Cobán Imperial)

Defenders (8): Cristian Jiménez (Municipal), Hamilton López (Xelajú), Luis Cardona (Municipal), Carlos Castrillo (Comunicaciones), Rafael Morales (Saprissa/CRC), Moises Hernández (FC Dallas/USA), Stefano Cincotta (Chemnitzer/GER), Jonathan López (Antigua GFC)

Midfielders (6)Rodrigo Saravia (Columbus Crew SC/USA), Marco Rivas (Municipal), Gerardo Arias (Petapa), Jean Márquez (Comunicaciones), Marco Pappa (Colorado Rapids/USA), José Contreras (Comunicaciones)

Forwards (6): Manfred Icuté (Petapa), Luis Martínez (Xelajú), Edi Guerra (Universidad San Carlos), Gerson Tinoco (Coatepeque), Kevín Arriola (Xelajú), Carlos Ruiz (Municipal)

Unfortunately for the U.S., Guatemalan defender Hamilton Lopez has been cleared to travel to the U.S. for this match. Lopez had issues with obtaining a visa, but was able to resolve those in time to join the Guatemalan national team flight to the U.S.

The Guatemalan Football Federation announced earlier in the Monday that Carlos Ruiz had also been cleared to fly to the U.S.; however later in the day the federation stated that Ruiz's legal issues had not been resolved.

There is absolutely no pressure on Guatemala, as despite its victory on Friday, the U.S. is still considered the favorite in this match. Guatemala will likely play more defensively in this match and look to expose a weak U.S. backline on the counter.

Despite the USMNT dominating possession in the first match, (62.8% to Guatemala's 37.2%) the U.S. never looked to be in control. The U.S. needs to create more scoring chances and has to be stronger defensively.

The USMNT struggled to defend set pieces as Rafael Morales scored Guatemala's first goal on a corner kick and then sent a later header crashing into the crossbar. With the U.S.' significant height advantage it shouldn't struggle defending in the air.

Projected Lineup:

Expect Mix Diskerud to be replaced by Darlington Nagbe in the central midfield. Diskerud struggled in the previous match against Guatemala and his poor defending resulted in Guatemala's opening goal.

DeAndre Yedlin was ineffective on the right wing against Guatemala and Klinsmann could move him to right-back, the position Yedlin plays with Sunderland, in order to shore-up the defense.

Geoff Cameron played right-back in the last match, and moving Yedlin would allow Cameron to shift to center-back. Cameron is a natural center-back and would replace Michael Orozco, who played terribly against Guatemala.

Alejandro Bedoya would then lineup at right-mid, and late addition Graham Zusi would start on the left flank. NBC Sports reported that Bedoya suffered a knock in training on Monday, although the extent of the injury is unknown. Expect Bedoya to attempt to play through the injury.

While Klinsmann may not make such drastic changes, the starting XI for this match will certainly be different than the one that took the field against Guatemala on Friday.

The U.S. needs a victory and if they don't get one, advancing to the Hexagonal Round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying would become much more difficult.

With a boisterous home crowd in Columbus and a U.S. team desperate for a win, I predict that the USMNT defeats Guatemala 2-0.