NASHVILLE: The United States wrapped up preparations for their defense of the CONCACAF Gold Cup crown with a 4-0 friendly victory over Guatemala on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Timothy Chandler, Clint Dempsey from the penalty spot and Chris Wondo¬lowski scored for the United States—all three after Carlos Castrillo’s 19th-minute own-goal gave the hosts to a 1-0 lead.
That came minutes after Jozy Altidore missed a penalty for the United States, and proved to be the only goal of the first half as Guatemala, also Gold Cup-bound, saw US keeper Brad Guzan deny Carlos Mejia in the 36th and Wilson Lalin in the 39th.
The United States, who made it to the round of 16 at last year’s World Cup in Brazil, took control after the break.
Chandler doubled the score with a left-footed blast from outside the area in the 58th minute.
Dempsey, relieved of the captain’s armband this week after an altercation with a referee in a US Open Cup club match, lofted in a penalty in the 72nd minute after captain Michael Bradley was brought down in the box, where Cas¬trillo dragged a leg over the American’s head.
Wondolowski completed the scoring in the 86th.
Coming off two impressive friendly victories in Europe — 4-3 over the Netherlands in Amsterdam and 2-1 over world champions Germany in Cologne—the United States kick off their Gold Cup defence against Honduras in suburban Dallas on Tuesday.
The Americans, who will also face Haiti and Panama in the group stage, will qualify for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia by retaining the title in the regional championship for North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The Americans’ biggest rivals for the regional crown, Mexico, were dealt a blow on Wednesday when Manchester United striker Javier Her¬nandez broke his collarbone in Mexico’s goalless friendly against Honduras.
Guatemala are set to face Mexico, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago in Gold Cup group stage matches.