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USA rout Guatemala, avoid World Cup catastrophe

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

With World Cup qualification on the line, the Americans delivered. Clint Dempsey, Geoff Cameron, Graham Zusi and Jozy Altidore all got on the scoreboard as the U.S. Men's National Team routed Guatemala 4-0 Tuesday night in Columbus.

After a nervy opening, the U.S. bagged the much-needed opener. Geoff Cameron looped a long-ball over the Guatemala back four for Gyasi Zardes, and Zardes did well to out-muscle two defenders, bringing the ball down for Clint Dempsey to drive a low hard shot past goalkeeper Paulo Motta.

The U.S. were well on their way to victory in the 35th minute when Bobby Wood earned a free kick 25 yards from goal, and on the ensuing free kick Michael Bradley curved a perfect cross into the path of Geoff Cameron who outfoxed his marker and easily guided a header around a helpless Motta.

Less than a minute into the second half, the U.S. sealed the deal as DeAndre Yedlin cut inside the field and slid a pass inside the box for Zardes, and when the ball managed to ricochet to Zusi, the Sporting Kansas City attacker neatly finished.

Jozy Altidore added a fourth late when a sloppy Guatemalan turnover gave Dempsey a breakaway vs. the keeper, and after some hesitation, Dempsey found Altidore who thumped a powerful shot into the net.

Despite the commanding result, it is tough to feel optimistic about the future. The U.S. beat a weak Guatemala team, scoring off a long ball, a set piece, a fortitious bounce and a turnover. Four goals is always nice, but the U.S. didn't create many cut-clear chances, nor did they pepper the Guatemalan net with shots.

The Copa America Centenario looms.