Here are three takeaways from the one-sided win ...
1. Lineup changes pay off in big way.
Klinsmann made five changes in the U.S. starting lineup from the team that started so badly in Guatemala City: Brad Guzan in place of Tim Howard in goal, DeAndre Yedlin for Geoff Cameron at right back, Cameron for Omar Gonzalez and Steven Birnbaum for Michael Orozco at center back, Kyle Beckerman for Mix Diskerud at holding midfielder, Graham Zusi for Yedlin and Gyasi Zardes for injured Alejandro Bedoya on the wings.
USA-Guatemala: Report Card
Beckerman and Zusi had not played in the first three U.S. qualifiers of the current cycle -- Zusi was not even in Guatemala City -- and neither attended January camp, but both players made impacts. Beckerman brought order to the midfield behind captain Michael Bradley, and Zusi put the game away with the third U.S. goal within seconds after the start of the second half. Neither Beckerman, 33, not Zusi, 29, would figure to go to Russia -- assuming the USA qualifies -- but they remain in the mix.
2. Dempsey remains indispensable in U.S. attack.
Another player absent from the November qualifiers was Clint Dempsey, raising questions about his future on the national team. With Klinsmann's agreement, he skipped January camp to concentrate on getting ready for the Seattle Sounders' early start in the Concacaf Champions League.
It's hard to imagine whether the USA would be without Dempsey, as he was the USA's best player in both games. With a little luck, the USA could have recovered from its early 2-0 deficit in Guatemala, and Dempsey had the opening goal in the 12th minute on Tuesday, settling a U.S. record with his 14th goal in World Cup qualifying.
3. Road to the Hexagonal opens wide.
The win put the USA in good shape to advance to the Hexagonal -- the final round of World Cup qualifying in the Concacaf zone -- which will begin later in the year.
The USA jumped back ahead of Guatemala into second place in Group C and plays St. Vincent & the Grenadines on Sept. 2. If it wins at SVG -- anything but a win would be a monumental upset -- and Guatemala loses at Trinidad & Tobago, the USA will clinch with a game to spare. It closes the semifinal round of qualifying