U.S. settles for tie with Guatemala, leads Group A following 2 matches
Clint Dempsey scored in the 40th minute, but Marco Pappa tied it in the 83rd
The U.S. leads Jamaica thanks to goal differential in the Group A standings
The Americans extended their unbeaten streak against Guatemala to 18 games
|Final :: Guatemala City, Guatemala|
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (AP) -- Marco Pappa's 83rd minute free kick gave Guatemala a 1-1 home draw against the United States in their CONCACAF 2014 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Clint Dempsey put the United States ahead in the 40th minute, but Fabian Johnson pulled down Carlos Ruiz just outside the penalty area to set up the late free kick in a dangerous position. Pappa, a Chicago Fire midfielder, put a 24-yard shot just under the crossbar that froze goalkeeper Tim Howard.
It was a disappointing result for the 28th-ranked Americans, who failed for long stretches to impose their will against 85th-ranked Guatemala, a team that has never qualified for the World Cup.
Seeking its seventh straight World Cup finals appearance, the U.S. has four points from two games, topping Group A on goal difference over Jamaica. Guatemala, plus Antigua and Barbuda, each have one point, with the top two teams in each of the three regional groups to progress to a six-nation stage which will determine the three qualifiers for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
The Americans extended their unbeaten streak against Guatemala to 18 games since 1988.
Dempsey scored his 27th international goal off a play that started with a short pass from Johnson on the left. Dempsey cut across to his right, talking touches as he sidestepped Carlos Gallardo and Erwin Morales, then wrong-footed the goalkeeper from 16 yards.
It was Dempsey's 28th goal of the season for club and country, including 23 for England's Fulham.
Just before the goal, Howard made a diving save on Carlos Figueroa's open 10-yard shot.
Ruiz nearly equalized in first-half stoppage time, hooking just wide on a left-footed shot from the top of the arc. When the second half started, Guatemala just missed with a header that went narrowly over the crossbar following a corner.
Guatemala argued unsuccessfully for a penalty early in the second half after American defender Carlos Bocanegra kicked a clearance up off his own hand.
Howard made a diving stop on Rodriguez's 5-yard in shot in the 69th after a corner was headed in front of the goal. Then, with the net wide open, Ruiz skied the rebound over the crossbar.
Altidore put the ball in the net in the 79th, but play was called back for a foul..
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