[USA-GUATEMALA] It's basically a new team with only one starter -- captain DaMarcus Beasley -- back from the team that swept all three June qualifiers to take the Hexagonal lead, but there's a lot to look forward to in the U.S. national team that prepares for the Gold Cup with a friendly Friday against Guatemala in San Diego.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann says the starting lineup he puts out against the Chapines should be the lineup he opens with against Belize in its Gold Cup opener on Tuesday, so Friday's friendly presents some huge opportunities.
Some things to look for ...
-- Most notably, the Guatemala match marks the return ofLandon Donovan to the national team for the first time in almost 11 months. Assuming he starts, where does he play as that will tell a lot about where Klinsmann feels his future is on the team?
-- Do Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo finally get starts? Both arrived late in camp in the lead-up to the June qualifiers because Tijuana reached the quarterfinals of the Libertadores Cup, and they only saw limited action in the qualifiers. They would seem to be first in Klinsmann's pecking order to assume the starting jobs out wide in midfield.
-- Does Herculez Gomez return up front? He missed the entire series of five games in May and June with a knee injury picked up during the Mexican season, and he returns to the national team after joining Corona and Castillo at Tijuana from Santos. The Gold Cup will be critical for the 31-year-old Gomez to solidify his role on the national team.
-- Does Jack McInerney, the top young striker in MLS, get a shot up front? Jack Mac, who went into the week tied for the MLS scoring lead, is one of only two uncapped players on the U.S. squad along with Corey Ashe.
-- Does Oguchi Onyewu get a start on the backline? He hasn't played for the national team in more than a year but gets one last shot on a team that also includes Beasley, Donovan and Kyle Beckerman, all teammates on the 1999 U.S. Under-17 World Cup team.
GUATEMALA. Guatemala didn't qualify for the Hexagonal and finished behind surprise Belize in qualifying for the Gold Cup. With no official matches scheduled for the rest of the year, the Chapines are in rebuilding mode.
Only four starters --Ricardo Jerez Jr., Elias Vasquez, Jonathan LopezandJose Manuel Contreras -- return from the team that lost to the USA, 3-1, last year on the final day of the semifinal round of qualifying.
Victor Hugo Monzon, a former captain of the Guatemala national team, has taken over as head coach.
GOALKEEPERS (3):Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
DEFENDERS (8):Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Oguchi Onyewu (Malaga), Michael Orozco Fiscal (Puebla), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Helsingborg), Joe Corona (Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Jose Torres (Tigres).
FORWARDS (5):Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Tijuana), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).
GOALKEEPERS (2):Victor Ayala (Malacateco), Ricardo Jerez Jr. (Alianza Petrolera)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Castrillo (Comunicaciones), Carlos Gallardo (Marquense), Johny Giron (Xelaju), Victor Hernandez (Heredia), Milton Leal (Xelaju), Jonathan Lopez (Marquense), Elias Vasquez (Comunicaciones)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Luis Cardona (Malacateco), Jose Manuel Contreras (Comunicaciones), Jean Marquez (Comunicaciones), Angelo Padilla (Puntarenas), Wilber Perez (Suchitepequez), Renato Sequen (Municipal), Sergio Trujillo (Municipal)
FORWARDS (4):Kevin Arriola (Xelaju), Minor Lopez (Marquense), Enrique Miranda (Heredia), Edward Santeliz (Malacateco)