Flags are coming out. Speaking of flags, I can't find a Canadian one in the entire stadium. There's even a couple of Haiti flags here. Where's the Maple Leaf?
FIFA anthem. It's sunny here in LA, but there's a brisk breeze. Perfect soccer weather. That's true of a lot of days in SoCal, though.
Joe D'Hippolito thinks this day could be historic. It could be, he says, Hugo Sanchez' last game as Mexican coach. Let's see what Canada does about that.
No one on Canada's team is singing their anthem. What's up with that? It's a nice song, and more singable than most.
1- Guatemala with the first foray into Canadian territory. Their players look loose and relaxed, as befits a team which has already advanced. Canada seems nervous, a couple of shank passes already.
3- Guatemala is putting on a clinic of controlled possession.
7- Will Johnson sends in a through ball for Ricketts - he's almost to it in the box, but Jerez just barely slidekicks it first.
11 - Rickets with a long cross to the front of the goal, but it's too high for Johnson. Guatemala goes the other way and gets a shot off, but Wagenaar snuffs it.
13 - Jacovic clears out a dangerous ball in the box, close FT for Guatemala, and Villa's in the box, low cross, Jairo Arreola misses it. To be fair it slid by quickly, but the open goal was waiting.
18 - Canada is much more organized on defense now. Granted, the entire team seems like it's defending but they're closing the gaps Guatemala was using earlier.
19- Contreras takes an outside shot, doesn't get it on frame, though it threatened.
20 - FK for Guatemala, two players going for a header. I wasn't sure who would get the call. Contreras takes it, it defelcts off the wall for a corner. Corner taken poorly, or mishit. GK
24 - Will Johnson has some great individual play on the left wing, holding off three players before sending in a pass, but it's all for naught was Tyler Rosenlund is offside.
27 - Graham Ramaldo is floored by a tackle by Erwin Morales - Canada's players want a red card - they're holding up two fingers, and they don't mean the peace sign, but their opinion that Morales went in two-footed, a red card offense. Jose Guerrero opts for a yellow instead. the FK is wasted when Canada fouls in the box.
30 - Another FK, this time farther out. Same thing happens, though.
31- Now Guatemala has a FK - it's cleared, Ricketts on the counter - stopped.
34 - Hainualt stops an incoming cross, leads to a CK that's cleared and a long-range outside shot that goes over the bar.
38 - Little midfield battles all over the place, but few scoring chances from either side.
40 - Mexican conspiracy fans say that Guatemala didn't put in all their starters for this match to make it easier for Canada to win and perhaps eliminate Mexico. When Jairo Arreola misses a volley in the box, those same fans probably think he did it on purpose. He doesn't look happy about it, though.
42- Jaime Vides clears a ball and pegs a security guard facing away from the field. The crowd cheers. It hasn't been an exciting match, so I can't say that I blame them.
43 - The Mexican fans are cheering for Guatemala, of course, which probably confuses at least some of the Chapines fans, since they were fighting with the Mexican fans on Friday.
44- A FK for Canada. GOAL! Will Johnson stands over it and powers it past the right side of the wall. It took a slight deflection, which probably confused Jerez, and slips just inside the post for the goal. Johnson runs to the bench to celebrate. 1- 0 Canada
Halftime - Well, so far the script of Hugo's Last Stand is taking shape. On the other hand, Canada has had the lead twice already this tournament, and yet only has a tie and a loss.
46 - GOAL! Guatemala starts with ten men. Avila is on the bench and Jean Marquez hasn't checked in yet. Canada takes advantage, Will Johnson dribbles the keep, Jerez, and Guatemala can't quite clear it in time, it crosses the line. 2-0 Canada
56 - Mexico fans are glum.
57 - GOAL! It gets worse for Mexico. Off a corner, Johnson serves it in. Canada heads the ball towards goal, it goes off the post and falls at the feet of Ricketts, who one-times it into goal. 3-0 Canada
59 - Dub-J is charging all over the place, but this time he gets called for the foul for running straight into a Guatemalan defender.
62 - OK, Wagenaar isn't getting an MLS contract now. He handles the ball outside of the area and the ref is right on top of it. FK just outside the top line, with the wall inside the box. Contreras finds a gap inside the wall - Wagenaar dives, SAVE. Ok, maybe he's got a chance for a trial somewhere still.
65 - Canada is officially the highest-scoring team in the qualifying tournament. Big Willie is the player with the most goals, and that's after having sat out a match.
68 - Guatemala has possession now, Canada is sitting back, saving their strength and trying to hold the lead this time. I'd say it's safe, the win, that is, but it could make a world of difference for Mexico if Guatemala pull one or more back.
70 - Jonny Brown goes down in Canada's box, but no call. Arriving fans are having a shock at the scoreboard. Nikolas Ledgerwood gets grabbed on a breakaway, and it's a yellow for Guatemala.
73 - Wagenaar saves another shot. The Tenner (WJ) tried to take off on a counter, gets tackled hard and goes down, rolls around a bit, buying his teammates a bit of a breather.
75 - Wow Johnson with an outside shot that Jerez has to jump for. He can't control it and Ledgerwood gets to it in the box, but the defense shuts off his angle and then steals the ball back.
77 - Guatemala is looking discouraged and unmotivated. I don't think they're throwing the match, but 3 goals down is a lot to come back from, and they've got the semi's to worry about. They need to get out of here injury-free. Yes, the would have liked to give their many fans a better show, but why kill themselves with effort now? As I type that, though, the team gets 2 corners in a row. Canada fights them all off, though.
80 - HOLY CRAP! Canada on a break, countering. Ricketts races ahead of his defenders on the right, has (Yes he)Will running on the center, Ricketts crosses - GOAL! Jerez cheated forward to cut the cross off and instead, the ball bent into the net behind him. 4-0.
83 - Well if karma did think the Canadians got screwed by Haiti in the fair play/pass-the-ball back sequence of the last game, karma is getting some serious revenge in the universe, helped along by (Can and)Will and Co.
85 - Some Mexico fans look like they want to leave even before the Mexico game starts.
88 - Canada, no lie, nearly got another goal when a tired Guat defender just missed his clearance attempt in the box.
89 - A Mexican reporter next to me is announcing on radio, saying that North America (Canada/US) and Central America (Guatemala/Honduras), will represent CONCACAF in the Olympics. He doesn't think there's any way Mexico can make it.
90 - FK for Guatemala, but it's pretty far out, about 25 yards from the arc - it's hit way off target.
GOAL! CK for Canada, they're taking their time with it. Tyler Rosenlund serves it in. Johnson subbed out. It clears everyone in the box - except for Kyle Hall. He volleys it into the goal - straight roofs it. Grahame, that one was for you, for making fun of this striking ability last game. 5-0.
Final whistle. UNBELIEVABLE.
I have never seen the fans of a team beaten as badly as Guatemala celebrate so much. They don't care, though, they're going to the semis and they know Mexico probably isn't. Mexico fans look so grumpy, especially when the Guatemalan fans cheer Haiti's entrance onto the field. I predict more fights again.