KANSAS CITY, Kansas (AP) — Clint Dempsey scored twice as the United States rallied to beat Guatemala 3-1 Tuesday night and reach the last round of continental qualifying for the World Cup.
The Americans needed only a draw to advance to the six-team finals in North and Central America and the Caribbean qualifying. After Carlos Ruiz put Guatemala ahead in the fifth minute, Dempsey set up Carlos Bocanegra's goal in the 10th, then scored in the 18th and 36th minutes. Dempsey equaled Brian McBride for third-most international goals in U.S. history with his pair at Kansas City lifting him to 30.
The U.S., seeking its seventh straight World Cup appearance, topped its semifinal group with 13 points.
Guatemala, which has never appeared in a World Cup, was eliminated when Dane Richards scored two goals late in the second half in Jamaica's 4-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda. Guatemala and Jamaica had 10 points apiece, but the Jamaicans advanced with a superior goal difference.
The Americans were the more aggressive team that coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been trying to develop and less like the side that struggled over a muddy cricket pitch to a 2-1 victory over Antigua on Friday — an outcome that took most of the pressure off Tuesday night's game.
Still, Guatemala caused tension for the Americans when Ruiz rounded goalkeeper Tim Howard in the opening minutes and side-footed the ball into the goal.