Clint Dempsey dribbled around two defenders in the 40th minute and then slid the ball into the left corner of the net to give the United States a 1-0 lead over Guatemala at halftime of the World Cup Qualifier in Guatemala City.
The first half was largely very sloppy as both sides adjusted to the poor condition of the field and felt each other out. As a result, both sides struggled to string together passes and there were no shots registered on net until the 25 minute mark. As expected, the sloppy play of the match was exacerbated by the physical play of the Guatemalan side, a staple of theirs against more talented opposition. The physical play was able to knock the US out of their rhythm on offense.
As the half wore on, Guatemala generated more of the possession and in the 37th minute, they generated their first good chance on net when midfielder Carlos Vigueroa drove in from the right side and fired a shot on net that Tim Howard was able to get his hands on. The rebound came out right in the middle of the six yard box where several Guatemalan players were in the area, but the ball was cleared away by Clarence Goodson. Just moments later on the counter attack, Fabian Johnson broke down the left side and found Dempsey at the top of the box who weaved his way through traffic before sliding it by Guatemalan keeper Ricardo Jerez.
Right before the half, Carlos Ruiz, the former MLS star nearly tied the game as he was able to sneak behind Clarence Goodson and put a shot on net that beat Howard but went wide of the goal.