A 6-0 score for any team is a rarity and a great sign. That tonight's friendly match between the US Men's National team and their Guatemalan counterparts was played mostly by non-starters on the American side makes it all the more significant. Better still, Landon Donovan returned to Team USA, exploded and scored.
During the first half, the US came out "flat," as Andres Cantor put it on Twitter. Although it was a sublime pass by Torres for Gomez to score the opener late in the first half, the tandem of Torres and Beckermann just wasn't getting it done. Enter Stuart Holden and Mix Diskerud. More movement, better passes and, yes, 5 more goals.
Can we attribute all the goals to these two midfielders? Of the 5 scored during their time we have to give them 3, as Landon Donovan's was a PK. The third goal came out of a play by Holden that found Wondolowski in the right spot. The same was also the case for the fourth, where a give-and-go between Mix and Holden allowed for another vintage Donovan strike. LD is now up to 51 goals for the USA and not stopping any time soon. After Clarence Goodson's individual play and goal came the final stroke via Bedoya. And yes, the play was engineered by Holden and Diskerud.
What are we to make of this match? Stuart Holden is almost back. Donovan is here. Mix Diskerud is a new option. For some negatives are the spotty plays by Torres and a failure to impress by Corona. It's a shame about the latter because we know he's capable of much more when with Tijuana.
More dangerous international sides, such as Costa Rica, remain to be played. But even then it's not a true measuring stick since they are also fielding a less-than-optimal squad. It won't be until Holden and Mix are called for in meaningful matches such as qualifiers that we'll see their true potential and evolution, one stemming from recovery and one as a young option. Worth mentioning is also the play of Stoke City's Brek Shea. He was a constant threat on the left flank and it reminds us why Klinsmann is so fond of him. Playing like this you have to like his chances, especially if he plays more often for Stoke.
A big win tonight. Not against Brazil or Mexico, but against criticism, time and circumstance. Well done indeed.
Subs: Holden (8), Diskerud (7.5), Bedoya (6), Wondolowski (6), Shea (7.5), Bruin (NR)