Guatemalans applaud U.S. effort

FRISCO, Texas - The Guatemalan national team's locker room was a quiet place Sunday after its 4-0 loss to the United States at Pizza Hut Park. However, the "chapines" made no excuses and recognized the superiority of the U.S. throughout the match.

"We came here with the full intention of getting a positive result for our team, but we could not resist our rival's offense, which did a good job," said Guatemalan interim head coach Marlon Iván León. "But we do not have excuses for the loss. We tried to do our best.

"The Guatemalan football federation asked me to come and coach this match. I am the U-21 head coach. We tried to offer a good spectacle, but the weather also affected the goal of getting a good result," León said.

Guillermo Ramirez - returning to the field where barely three months earlier he scored the only goal of MLS Cup 2006 for the Los Angeles Galaxy - also admitted the U.S. superiority.

"We did not have a good performance today against a good national team that has been together in the past few days and look solid. We have no excuses because they played very good," Ramirez said.

"I feel good because we tried to leave a good image here, but it did not happen. Personally I am happy with my game and I know good things are coming. I am working very hard and I just wish we could have more international matches to prove that Guatemala has players (who can play abroad)," Ramirez said.

Although forward Juan Carlos Plata played his last match with the Guatemala national team, he said that despite the loss he was very glad for having said his goodbye to international soccer against the U.S.

"They are a great team, and that is the reason they are going to play the World Cup. We definitely could not give more in this game," Plata said. "We just trained for a week, and that is not enough to have a good match. It is good to say goodbye in front of this crowd in Pizza Hut Park." Another familiar face in the field for U.S. fans, Mario Rodriguez of the Columbus Crew, said he has been working hard in order to have more chances with the national team.

"We couldn't find a balance point during this game. It affected us a lot that we did not have time to train before this match and now we have to work hard for the future," Rodriguez said. "This team is going to represent the United States well in the World Cup and today proved it is going in the right direction."

Luis Lara is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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