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Dempsey's 2 goals lead U.S. to win

| Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, 10:02 p.m.
United States forward Clint Dempsey (8) watches his second goal enter the net while being pursued by Guatemala defender Ruben Morales (2) during the first half of a World Cup qualifying soccer match in Kansas City, Kan., Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. (AP)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Clint Dempsey had a pair of goals and assisted on Carlos Bocanegra's equalizer, and the United States rallied to beat Guatemala, 3-1, on Tuesday night and reached next year's final round of World Cup qualifying.

Facing their first elimination game in qualifying since 2000, the Americans needed merely a draw to advance to the six-team finals in North and Central America and the Caribbean. After Carlos Ruiz put Guatemala ahead in the fifth minute, Dempsey set up Bocanegra's goal in the 10th minute, then scored in the 18th and 36th. With 30 international goals, Dempsey tied Brian McBride for third-most in American history.

The U.S. (4-1-1), seeking its seventh straight World Cup appearance, topped its semifinal group with 13 points.

Guatemala, which has never appeared in a World Cup, was eliminated when Dane Richards scored two goals late in the second half in Jamaica's 4-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda. Guatemala and Jamaica were both 3-2-1 for 10 points apiece, but the Reggae Boyz overtook Guatemala on goal difference, plus-3 to plus-1.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said before the game that “you can only win a game if you attack and go forward, and that's what we're going to do. We're not going to look for a tie.”

That certainly held true.

The Americans were the more aggressive team its German coach has been trying to develop and less like the side that struggled over a muddy cricket pitch to a 2-1 victory over Antigua on Friday — an outcome that took most of the pressure off Tuesday night's game.

Still, Los Chapines caused tension when they scored in the opening minutes.

Also advancing to the six-team finals are Mexico, Honduras and Panama.

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