Guatemala beats US 2-0 in qualifier, pressuring Klinsmann

United States' Geoff Cameron, right, and Guatemala's Jose Contreras jump for the ball during a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying soccer match at Mateo Flores Stadium in Guatemala City, Friday, March 25, 2016. (AP Photo/ Moises Castillo)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) – The United States’ path toward the 2018 World Cup became considerably more difficult when coach Jurgen Klinsmann made some puzzling lineup choices and the American defense self-destructed Friday night in a 2-0 loss to Guatemala in Guatemala City.

Edgar Castillo’s poor backpass set up corner kicks that led to Rafael Morales’ goal in the seventh minute. A goal kick by Paulo Motta went most of the length of the field in the 15th and Carlos Ruiz ran onto the ball, came in alone on goalkeeper Tim Howard and doubled the lead.

Seeking their eighth straight World Cup berth, the Americans had been unbeaten in 21 games against Guatemala since January 1988 and had never lost to Los Chapines in World Cup qualifying but now face a high-pressured rematch Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.

Trinidad and Tobago (2-1) leads Group C with seven points after rallying for a 3-2 win at St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday. Guatemala (2-0-1) is one point back. The U.S. (1-1-1) has four points and St. Vincent (0-3) is last.

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