Dempsey stars as US soccer team advances to CONCACAF final
Kansas City, KS, United States (4E Sports) – Clint Dempsey scored twice as the US national soccer team clinched a spot in the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Guatemala Tuesday at the packed Livestrong Sporting Park.
Carlos Bocanegra also scored for the Americans, who topped Group A with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points.
Jamaica joined the Americans in the six-nation final round after beating Antigua and Barbuda, 4-2.
Mexico, Panama and Honduras also advanced to the final round, which will begin in March 2013. Costa Rica and El Salvador are battling it out for the last spot.
In the six-team final, each squad will play 10 matches over seven months for three automatic berths in the Brazilian-hosted tournament. The fourth-place finisher will enter a two-leg playoff against the Oceania champion in November 2013.
The Guatemalans struck first in the fifth minute when Carlos Ruiz easily found the back of the net against goalpeeker Tim Howard, silencing the sellout crowd of 17,000.
The Americans quickly recovered with Bocanegra scoring from the six-yard box from a pass by Graham Zusi for his 14th international goal – a record for a US defender.
Dempsey provided the go-ahead score in the 18th minute with a simple finish off a pass by Eddie Johnson.
Ten minutes before halftime, the US team captain booted another goal from a pass by Michael Bradley for a 3-1 lead.
Dempsey now has 30 international goals, climbing to third on the all-time US scoring charts with Brian McBride.
“Credit my teammates. They were putting good balls in. I was lucky enough to get them to go in,” Dempsey said. “A little pressure on us but it’s behind us now. We want to go to the World Cup. This is the first step to getting there.”