Soccer

US back on track in qualifying with 4-0 win over Guatemala

usatsi_9217983_141983962_lowres.jpg

US back on track in qualifying with 4-0 win over Guatemala

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The United States got back on track for a berth in the 2018 World Cup, ending four nervous days with a 4-0 win over Guatemala on Tuesday night behind goals from Clint Dempsey, Geoff Cameron, Graham Zusi and Jozy Altidore.

Following a dismal 2-0 loss at Guatemala City on Friday night in which Jurgen Klinsmann played several players out of their most comfortable positions, the U.S. coach made five lineup changes and shifted two others into their more usual spots.

Dempsey scored 12 minutes in and Cameron doubled the lead in the 35th. Zusi, added to the roster on Sunday, added a goal just 20 seconds into the second half and Jozy Altidore capped the scoring in the 89th.

A loss would have made it virtually impossible for the U.S. to finish among the top two teams in the group and reach the six-nation finals of North and Central America and the Caribbean, but the victory put the U.S. in good position to advance. The Americans are 27-0-2 at home in qualifying since 2001.

In Group C's other game, Trinidad and Tobago won 6-0 at home against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Trinidad (3-0-1) leads with 10 points, three ahead of the U.S. (2-1-1). Guatemala (2-2) has six points, and St. Vincent (0-4) has been eliminated. Seeking its eighth straight World Cup berth, the U.S. travels to St. Vincent on Sept. 2, then finishes the round four days later against Trinidad at Jacksonville, Florida.

Midfielder Christian Pulisic, also added to the roster Sunday, made his debut in the 81st minute. At 17 years, 193 days, Pulisic became the youngest American in a qualifier. By appearing in the game, Pulisic became ineligible to play for Croatia, the nation of his grandfather.

The U.S. went ahead after Cameron headed a Guatemala goal kick to Bobby Wood, who jumped over a tackle and sent the ball back to Cameron. From the edge of the center circle, Cameron looped a pass just inside the penalty area to a streaking Gyasi Zardes, who was flanked by Moises Hernandez and Rafael Morales. Zardes used the side of his head to knock the ball down for the trailing Dempsey, who tan onto the ball after two bounces and first-timed a 14-yard right-footed shot to the right of goalkeeper Paulo Motta.

Dempsey scored his 49th international goal, eight behind Landon Donovan's American record. Dempsey has six goals in 10 games against Guatemala and a U.S.-record 14 in World Cup qualifying, one more than Donovan.

It was a rare opening goal for the U.S., which conceded first in nine of its previous 11 matches.

Cameron doubled the lead after Wood was fouled by Cristian Jimenez, Michael Bradley took the free kick, and Cameron got in front of Carlos Castrillo, heading in Michael Bradley's free kick from 8 yards for his fourth international goal.

At the start of the second half, Yedlin played the ball to Zardes, who allowed it to bounced off him. Zusi ran in and got off a quick shot for his fourth U.S. goal, his first since October 2013 in a qualifier at Panama. Ethan Finlay of the hometown Columbus Crew had a goal disallowed late because of a questionable offsides called on Altidore.

Rodrigo Saravia of the Crew gave the ball away to Dempsey, who fed Altidore for his 34th U.S. goal.

Klinsmann shifted Cameron to central defense from right back and moved DeAndre Yedlin to right back from midfield, putting the pair at positions they play more regularly with their clubs in England.

Defender Steve Birnbaum, midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Zusi, and Zardes were inserted into the lineup along with goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who had been scheduled to rotate with Tim Howard.

Other dropped players included the central defense pairing of Omar Gonzalez and Michael Orozco, and midfielders Mix Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya, who has a sore ankle.

Notes: Bradley, the U.S. captain, is suspended for the game at St. Vincent after getting his second yellow card of the round in the 72nd minute. ... The Americans are 8-0-3 at Mapfre Stadium, including 6-0-3 in qualifying,

MORE D.C. UNITED: Plane flies '#FireKlinsmann' banner over World Cup qualifying match

Game Preview: Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns at Audi Field

audi-field-silhouette.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Game Preview: Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns at Audi Field

The Washington Spirit, one of nine teams in the National Women's Soccer League, will pay a visit to Audi Field later this summer.

The game versus the Portland Thorns FC is scheduled for August 25 at 8 pm. Tickets can be purchased online via Ticketmaster and start at $31, but will also be available at the door. 

If you're looking for where to watch the Spirit take on the Thorns from the comfort of your own couch, the game will be broadcast on ESPNews starting at 7:38 pm. Dalen Cuff is set to host the pregame show, with USA Women's National Team alumnus Aly Wagner commentating alongside Jenn Hildreth, in her second season of NWSL coverage.

Considering the recent addition of the legendary Wayne Rooney and their move to the new facility, DC United has a lot to celebrate.

Audi Field, which opened in Washington D.C.'s Buzzard Point on July 9, seats 20,000 spectators. For DC United, who previously played at RFK Stadium, the capacity is a step down from the almost 46,000 seats at RFK. But for the Spirit, who call Germantown's Maryland Soccerplex their home, the audience will hopefully far outnumber the Plex's usual 3,000 to 4,000 spectators.

The Spirit have struggled this season, with an unusually high amound of draws and more losses than wins. Though fan favorite and star forward Mallory Pugh is still sidelined with a PCL sprain, the team hopes to improve their ability to close one-goal deficits and gain a sustained offensive advantage. 

Aside from the Audi Field game, the Spirit will host two more home games this season. Utah Royals FC will visit the Soccerplex on Wednesday, August 22, and Sky Blue FC will close out the Spirit's home season on Saturday, September 1. Tickets for either game at their usual field can be purchased through the Washington Spirit's website or upon entry. 

If you haven't paid attention to women's soccer since the USWNT's 2015 World Cup victory, no worries. There's no better time than the present to support women's pro sports. Regardless of the end result, Portland vs. Washington will be a great match-up to watch, and the event has already made DC sports history.

MORE DC SPORTS NEWS:

Wayne Rooney stuns D.C. soccer fans with surprise appearance during World Cup viewing

Wayne Rooney stuns D.C. soccer fans with surprise appearance during World Cup viewing

Washington Dulles International Airport was flooded by soccer fans alike Thursday afternoon awaiting the arrival of one specific person inside the international arrivals terminal: England's all-time goalscorer Wayne Rooney. 

Over 100 fans packed the halls as the 32-year-old made his way out of the airport while posing for pictures and signing autographs. 

Rooney penned a two-and-a-half year guaranteed contract worth about $13 million, which makes him the highest-paid player in D.C. United history. 

He officially becomes available to play for the club beginning July 10, after the transfer window opens. This means his first game could potentially be against Vancouver inside the brand new Audi Field July 10. 

After greeting fans at the airport, Rooney and his camp piled into two blacks SUVs en route to Northeast D.C. 

Little did World Cup fans taking in the England-Belgium match at Wunder Garten know that they were about to be surprised by Wayne Rooney himself. 

In an appearance that lasted just over seven minutes and included a slew of selfies, short conversations and one television interview, Rooney's presence dazzled fans and left others stunned. 

One England native who is now a D.C. resident told me: "We grew up watching him (Rooney) score in the World Cup and that was really important to us. It's hard to believe he just walked through here."

As you would imagine, management at Wunder Garten was thrilled, too.  

"It was great for us because it put us on the map. For someone as famous as Wayne Rooney to come through our establishment, shake hands and hang out, that means a lot. We loved having him here and would love to have him back," said Michael Keller, a member of the bar's management staff. 

 The Englishman will have his hands full as he attempts to put D.C. United back on the map this season. 

Follow Rooney on Twitter and Instagram @WayneRooney.