[WORLD CUP 2014 QUALIFYING COUNTDOWN] A week before the start of World Cup 2014 qualifying, U.S. group opponent Guatemala has been rocked by news that three starters were kicked off the team by Coach Ever Hugo Almeida amid rumors that they are being investigated on match-fixing charges. The official word is that captain Gustavo Cabrera, former Los Angeles Galaxy forward Pando Ramirez and Yoni Flores are off the Bicolor for "indiscipline."
Following the announcement, Guatemalan media reported that an investigation into a 2010 Concacaf Champions League match between Municipal of Guatemala and Santos of Mexico was being undertaken. Cabrera, Ramirez and Flores all played in the game for Municipal, which lost, 6-1.
Ramirez denied ever taking money to throw a game and said he was dropped for "technical issues," which he accepted after talking with the 63-year-old Almeida, who was born in Uruguay but played internationally for Paraguay.
Two other players, Juan Valenzuela and Eddy Castillo, were dropped by Almeida from the team in training because of poor form.
The only player called up to replace the five departed players was Erwin Morales.
Guatemala opens play on June 8 at Jamaica, the same night the USA hosts Antigua & Barbuda in Tampa, Fla.