GOLD CUP LIVE: USA vs. Guadeloupe
Kansas City, Kan. The 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup makes its LIVESTRONG Sporting Park is under way, and the United States Men's National Team is scheduled to take on Guadeloupe at 8 p.m.
Panama upset the United States last week, but a win against Guadeloupe would garner the Americans a top-two finish in Group C and land them a spot in the quarterfinals at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
It's the first-ever meeting between the United States and Guadeloupe.
Apologies for the delay on updates for the United States game. I was on the endline taking photos during the first half. Updates coming quickly now, and photos too.
FIRST HALF UPDATE
For the second time in as many games, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park is at standing-room-only capacity, and this time it's to root for the United States Men's National Team. So far, the noisy crowd has had plenty to cheer about.
The Americans dominated possession throughout the first half, only showing weakness in the back — not goalkeeper Tim Howard, but the rest of the defensive line.
Guadeloupe had a few scary chances because of the weakness in the back, but the United States' superior midfield and forward activity dictated the flow of the game.
The United States scored in the ninth minute on a beautiful strike by Jozy Altidore into the upper right corner of the net off of an assist from Michael Bradley for a 1-0 lead.
The Americans had numerous additional chances to score, including two near misses on headers by Clint Dempsey.
It's a game that could be much more lopsided, but so far the Americans are in control.
RECORD CROWD ON HAND
Tonight's announced attendance is 20,109, surpassing the standing-room-only crowd from Thursday's grand opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
Altidore did a bit too much dribbling in the box while working around defenders, and a point-blank shot was deflected.
Landon Donovan started another USA attack, playing the ball wide right to Steve Cherundolo on the wing. Cherundolo's cross to Chris Wondolowski right in front of the net was blocked, however.
The Americans continue to lead 1-0, but they're beginning to show more consistent aggression on the offensive end than they had in the first half.
58TH MINUTE — ANOTHER MISS
The USA generated one of its prettiest combinations of the night as Donovan led a breakaway down the middle and played the ball to his left to Dempsey. Dempsey then snuck a pass through to Wondolowski near the left endline. Wondolowski tapped a pass back through the middle to a charging Donovan whose point-blank look was off-target.
59TH MINUTE — OFF THE CROSSBAR
Dempsey had a direct kick pushed just over the crossbar in the first half, and this time he struck the crossbar with a direct kick from about 20 yards out.
69TH MINUTE — ANOTHER MISS
Donovan's cross to Dempsey was a bit too high for the header connection, but Alejandro Bedoya was waiting at the back post where he misfired on a shot.
MORE BLOWN CHANCES
Alejandro Bedoya received a pass eight yards in front of the goal and had an open look. He opted to flick a pass to Clint Dempsey who was about two feet off the goal line, but Dempsey took too long to shoot and had his shot blocked. in the 76th minute.
YELLOW CARD, BLOCKED SHOT
Guadeloupe's Stephane Zubar was called for a yellow card just outside the box in the 77th minute. On the ensuing direct kick, Donovan drilled the wall.
Sacha Kljestan lofted a well-placed cross to Bedoya for a header that sailed just off-target in the 80th minute. The United States continues to miss great opportunities and leaves the door open for Guadeloupe to even the match.
In the final minute of stoppage time, the USA had one more opportunity to add to its lead thanks to a beautiful pass combination. Donovan found Kljestan in the right corner, and he fired a cross to an open Dempsey in the box. Dempsey wheeled and fired just wide of the left post. It didn't matter, however, as the final whistle blew moments later.
Final score: United States 1, Guadeloupe 0.