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Pappa and 'El Pescadito' seek to end U.S. skid
by Paul Kennedy, June 12th, 2012 1:37AM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014


[MEET THE TEAM] Guatemala will be the underdog Tuesday when it hosts the United States in World Cup 2014 qualifying at Mateo Flores Stadium (TV: pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET). The Chapines have never beaten the USA in 10 World Cup qualifying matches or at any level in more than 24 years, a string of 17 games. But its national team coach, Paraguayan Ever Hugo Almeida, has assembled a veteran team that includes Chicago Fire star Marco Pappa and two former MLS players, 2002 MVP Carlos Ruiz and Mario Rodriguez. For a look at the 14 players Almeida used in Friday's 2-1 loss at Jamaica ...

(Click here to find bars and establishments to watch Guatemala-USA.)

RICARDO JEREZ. The 26-year-old keeper is the son of the former Guatemalan international keeper of the same name. He bounced around clubs in Guatemala, Uruguay and Argentina before settling in at Deportivo Marquense, where he set a Concacaf shutout record with 941 minutes in the 2012 Clausura.

ELIAS VASQUEZ. Only 19, Vasquez captained the Guatemala team that beat the USA in Concacaf qualifying for the 2011 Under-20 World Cup. The defender also played for Guatemala at the 2011 Gold Cup.

ERWIN MORALES. The 26-year-old Comunicaciones defender started his first competitive match for Guatemala in its 2-1 loss at Jamaica on Friday. He goes by the nickname "El Abuelo" ("the Grandfather").

CARLOS GALLARDO. At 6-foot-2, the 28-year-old Gallardo is a key member of the Guatemala defense. He plays with Jerez at Deportivo Marquense. He made six appearances for Guatemala in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

LUIS RODRIGUEZ. The 6-foot-1 defender is another holdover from the 2010 qualifying campaign. The 29-year-old Rodriguez has jumped around clubs in Guatemala. He spent last season at Malacateco but is expected to move to Municipal over the summer.

WILFRED VELASQUEZ. Another member of the 2011 Gold Cup team, the 27-year-old midfielder played all four games at last summer's Concacaf championships.

JAIRO ARREOLA. The 26-year-old midfielder played his entire career at Comunicaciones but only recently caught the attention of Almeida.

ALEJANDRO GALINDO. Galindo was born in Guatemala but at the age of 10 moved to Colombia, where he plays for Independiente Santa Fe. Only 20, he debuted for Guatemala in April.

MARCO PAPPA. One of the best Central American signings an MLS club has made in recent years, the 24-year-old Pappa is in his fifth MLS season with the Chicago Fire. He made his first appearance for Guatemala in August 2008 less than three weeks after his MLS debut.

JONATHAN LOPEZ. The 24-year-old Lopez was a surprise starter in midfield for Guatemala against Jamaica on Friday.

CARLOS RUIZ. "El Pescadito" is the one player all U.S. fans will know in the Guatemala squad. Ruiz scored 24 goals for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2002 and spent eight seasons in MLS with four different teams. He's also bounced around clubs in Greece, (two spells a decade apart), Paraguay (where he played for Almeida with great success at Olimpia) and Mexico (most recently with Veracruz in the second-level Liga de Ascenso). Now 32, Ruiz is looking for a new club, which be the 11th of his career.

DWIGHT PEZZAROSSI. At 33, Pezzarossi is the elder statesman of the national team, playing in his fourth World Cup qualifying campaign. He is playing with La Serena, the third club at which he has played in Chile, and has had stints at clubs in Argentina, England and Spain. He goes by the nickname "El Tanque."

JOSE CONTRERAS. The 26-year-old midfielder is a holdover from the last World Cup qualifying campaign. He moved to Chile last summer to play at Universidad de Concepcion, his third stop in South America after stints at clubs in Argentina and Uruguay.

MARIO RODRIGUEZ. Like Ruiz, Rodriguez is an MLS alum, having spent the 2005 season with the Columbus Crew. After moving on loan to Miami FC of the USL First Division in 2006, Rodriguez returned to Guatemala, where he plays for Municipal. At 30, the winger is in his third World Cup qualifying campaign.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: June 12, 2012 at 12:47 p.m.
    Isn't this absurd that the mass majority of us are not able to watch the the US playing w/o excessive charges, yet major Sports Channels giving us Greece vs. CR (can't even spell the freaking country)and Poland vs. Russia. Bravo!
  1. Alex G. Sicre
    commented on: June 12, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.
    I agree with you Philippe, I also had to pay for MLS Direct Kick Soccer, this sucks.

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