U.S. plays to scoreless draw in Guatemala

Posted: Thursday, September 08, 2005

GUATEMALA CITY — The United States didn't need a win Wednesday night, and it showed.

The Americans started sloppy and let easy chances slip away late in a 0-0 tie against Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier.

The United States (6-1-1) clinched its fifth straight World Cup berth with a win over Mexico on Saturday at Columbus, Ohio, allowing coach Bruce Arena to excuse most of his regular starters from the trip.

Arena changed all 11 starters, giving seven Americans their first start in a World Cup qualifier, including four who made their first appearance in a qualifier.

Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, competing for a backup job behind Kasey Keller, made several leaping saves to deny Guatemala in his first qualifying game.

Arena brought three regulars on late in the second half, including Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson, and they sparked the offense before a crowd of 25,200 at Mateo Flores Stadium that was short of capacity.

Johnson had the Americans' best chance in the 81st minute, but his open header off a Donovan cross went wide. Taylor Twellman also failed to connect on a good second-half chance for the United States.

Guatemala nearly scored in the 90th minute when Edwin Villatoro's shot bounced off a post.

The United States and Mexico (both 6-1-1) have 19 points each and have clinched two of the three automatic berths from soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean region. Mexico clinched Wednesday night with a 5-0 rout of visiting Panama.

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