GUATEMALA CITY — Carlos Bocanegra scored on a header in the 69th minute, and the United States escaped from Guatemala with a chippy 1-0 victory Wednesday night in the Americans' opener in the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying.

Unmarked about 3 yards from the goal, the U.S. captain headed in DaMarcus Beasley's corner kick for his 10th goal in 59 international appearances.

Beasley had entered the match three minutes earlier when a bleeding Eddie Lewis came off on a stretcher after his head collided with a forearm from Guatemala's Jose Manuel Contreras when both leaped for the ball.

Bocanegra played a solid all-around game, disrupting Carlos Ruiz and Carlos Manuel Contreras from getting the crossing passes that could have led to dangerous chances.

The Americans, favored to make their sixth straight World Cup appearance, had tied all four of their previous qualifiers at Guatemala, where they had been 1-4-4 overall — their only win in a 1988 exhibition. They are 4-0 against Guatemala in qualifiers at home.