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US takes tough loss in Mexico, rebounds with dominating performance over Guatemala
The US Menís National Team started the week with a disappointing loss to Mexico on Sunday, March 27th in front of an away crowd of around 110,000. The US went into Mexico on a 16 game unbeaten streak against all opponents and a 31 game unbeaten streak against CONCACAF region opponents, but were still looking for their first ever win in Mexico. For some reason, head coach Bruce Arena experimented in this match placing the inexperienced Oguchi Onyewu with Greg Berhalter in central defense, with Carlos Bocanegra, who seems much more comfortable in the center on the left, and Steve Cherundolo on the right. Arena experimented with the midfield as well, putting Lewis on the left and Beasley in an unfamiliar spot in the center, while also being expected to cover the right side. Mexico took the lead in the 30th minute off a Jared Borgetti header from close range that could be partially blamed on Onyewu for losing his mark. Three minutes later, another mistake in central defense led to a wide open Antonio Naelson sending one home from the top of the box. The US came out with renewed vigor in the second half and managed to get one back in the 59th minute, when Eddie Johnson ran into the box before sending a pass to Landon Donovan, who held it up, then sent it to Eddie Lewis. The wide-open Lewis easily slotted it home with his left foot. The US continued to press bringing on New England Revolution midfielders Steve Ralston, in the 70th minute, and Pat Noonan in the 75th minute and switching to a 3-4-3 formation when they brought on Fulham (English Premiere League) forward Brian McBride in the 83rd minute. Neither side however, was able to get another goal before the game ended at 2-1 in Mexicoís favor.

The US rebounded on Wednesday, March 30th, with a dominating 2-0 victory over Guatemala. The US controlled the match throughout and were unlucky to not win by a larger margin. With a very different line-up that saw Revs midfielder Steve Ralston, Feyenoord (Holland) defender Cory Gibbs and San Jose Earthquakes forward Brian Ching all start, the US came out of the gate fast and took the lead in the 11th minute off of Eddie Johnsonís 8th career international goal. Landon Donovan had a great goal in about the 66th minute, but it was wrongly called offsides. Steve Ralston finished off the scoring in the 68th minute and earned Man of the Match honors for his performance. Revolution midfielders Pat Noonan and Clint Dempsey both saw time off the bench for the US. The win puts the US in second place of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. The top three teams earn automatic berths into the World Cup, while the 4th place team enters into a playoff to earn a spot in the World Cup
April 01, 2005 Sean Donahue


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