The United States didn't just need a win tonight in Columbus, Ohio. They needed a statement.
Four goals later the USA had dispatched Guatemala and retaken second place in Group C of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, silencing the questions about last Friday's loss for at least a day.
Clint Dempsey got the USMNT started in the in the 12th minute, after a long ball toward Gyasi Zardes fell to him at the top of the box. Dempsey, starting in the center forward role in a 4-3-3, smashed home the opener past Guatemala keeper Paulo Motta, the hero for Los Chapines on Friday.
In the 35th minute, the US earned a free kick when Bobby Wood was fouled about 25 yards away from goal. Michael Bradley sent in a beautiful free kick and Geoff Cameron just had to guide it into a wide open net to double the American's lead.
Just after the second half restart, Graham Zusi latched on to a loose ball and quickly made it 3-0. Later in the second half, Columbus Crew winger Ethan Finlay on as a substitute and playing in front of his home fans, had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside. It was a rough day for the Jamaican crew, as two separate offside calls weren't called at all and play continued without affecting the game.
Jozy Altidore capped off the scoring in the 89th minute, though to say that Clint Dempsey laid the ball off to him would be generous. 17-year old debutante Christian Pulisic was also wide open in the center of the box though Dempsey elected to go it alone before the ball got away for Jozy to smash into the top corner.
New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen did not make it off the bench for the second straight qualifier.
The win should not entirely erase the dismal performance the USA had in Guatemala just four days ago, but it does ease the pressure of advancing through to the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying. The USA now sits in second place with a 2-1-1 record and seven points, ahead of Guatemala with six points but behind Trinidad and Tobago who are 3-0-1 and have 10 points.
The United States' final qualifiers for the semi-final round will take place in September, with the USA playing at St. Vincent's on the 2nd and home to Trinidad in Jacksonville, Florida on the 6th. The United States will host the 100th anniversary of CONEMBOL's Copa America this summer.