Draw unsatisfying against Guatemala 

June, 13, 2012

However this all turns out, one thing is for sure: The Jurgen Klinsmann era will not be predictable.

The book says you go down to Central America's hostile environments, places like Guatemala City, for instance, and grind out a draw and a point.

If a win happens, fine. But when a team like Guatemala comes out playing smart, defensive-minded and disciplined, it's best not to take too many risks.

Yet on Tuesday night, in his first CONCACAF World Cup qualifier on the road, Klinsmann threw bodies forward and created a wide-open, back-and-forth match. And while the Yanks leave Guatemala with that valuable road point, La Bicolor played smarter defense, attacked with long, counterattacking balls, created danger on set pieces and had the better of the play.

But the U.S. had better players. Two of them, Fabian Johnson and Clint Dempsey, created a moment of magic that gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in a difficult environment.

When that happens, the book then says you bunker in, don't tempt fate and sneak off with three road points and a victory. But the whimsical Klinsmann likes risk, and Tuesday showed both sides of fortune's coin. His first-half risk was rewarded; the second-half risk was punished. And the Yanks came away with a 1-1 draw that doesn't quite feel like a loss, but is still a good bit less than satisfying.

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.