Guatemala-based website selecciondeguatemala.net reported on Tuesday morning that influential winger Marco Pappa will be dropped from Guatemala’s starting lineup against the US national team at Livestrong Sporting Park this evening (7 pm ET, ESPN2/TeleFutura, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com).
The site claims that Los Chapines’ veteran Uruguayan manager Ever Almeida will “sacrifice” Pappa, who has been struggling to find his best form for both club and country since his summer transfer from the Chicago Fire to Dutch side Heerenveen, in order to pack the midfield against the heavily favored Yanks. That would likely leave former MLS striker Carlos Ruiz alone up top in either a 4-5-1 or 5-4-1 formation.
While unconfirmed and uncorroborated, the report does jibe with the “park-the-bus” tactical approach expected from the canny Almeida, whose team needs only a draw in Kansas City, Kan., to book their place in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Pappa started on the bench in these teams’ previous meeting in this round, a 1-1 draw in Guatemala City on June 12. But he changed the game when he entered as a second-half substitute, sparking Guatemala’s attack and blasting a free kick past US goalkeeper Tim Howard in the dying moments to snatch a point for his team.