U.S. soccer playing to win vs. Guatemala in World Cup qualifier

By Dave Skretta

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Oct. 15 2012 11:43 p.m. MDT

"We feel we're strong enough to deal with Guatemala with the players that are here."

Dealing with Guatemala means dealing with Carlos Ruiz. The longtime MLS star has scored four goals in five World Cup qualifiers, and three of them have decided games.

The semifinal round of qualifying consists of three groups of four teams each, with the top two teams advancing to a six-team final round that will be played next year. The top three teams from that pool automatically qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth-place team would play a two-game playoff against the champion of the Oceania region to advance.

The U.S. and Guatemala are both 3-1-1 and sitting on 10 points. Jamaica is three points adrift with a 2-2-1 mark, while Antigua and Barbuda has only managed a tie through five games.

"It shouldn't be joy and elation," U.S goalkeeper Tim Howard said of the mood surrounding the team. "We should be getting through this round."

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