Dirty Tackle

The Marco Pappa free kick that froze Tim Howard and gave Guatemala a draw

The U.S. squandered a first-half lead in its second 2014 World Cup qualifier against Guatemala to continue an unimpressive run of form. Clint Dempsey scored in the 40th minute to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead that it would hold in spite of physical play and dodgy ref decisions all the way up to the 83rd minute when the Chicago Fire's Marco Pappa pinned a beauty of a free kick to the top of the net.

Tim Howard could only watch the ball whiz by him, but throughout the rest of the match he made some wonderful saves that kept Guatemala from equalizing sooner. But many fans missed out on all of that because the match was only available on pay-per-view in the U.S. (the company that owned the TV rights, Traffic Sports, made the abysmal decision to not sell the rights to a broadcaster in the states).

Winning in Central America is always difficult and taking a point on the road should be enough to get the job done. That said, the combination of stagnant form over the last four matches and losing a lead in the final 10 minutes of a match against the 85th-ranked team in the world is nothing to commend.

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