SBI is headed to Guatemala

Guatemalamap

Good morning all. Apologies for the lack of posts today but between this morning’s Olympic matches and my trip to Guatemala it will be tough to keep the normal post rate up (That said, there will be posts).

Yes, that’s right, I’m heading to the land of Carlos Ruiz today for tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier between the U.S. national team and Guatemala. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, here is my preview of the match on ESPN.com.

I’ll be in Guatemala City for a few days but will do my best to keep the posts coming even as I’m making the trek down. If any of you are from Guatemala, or have been there, please feel free to share any suggestions for places to go in Guatemala City.

Finally, since we’re on the subject of tomorrow night’s game, I figure I can ask the question. What do you think will happen in the USA-Guatemala World Cup qualifier? (Share your thoughts on the match below).

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58 Responses to SBI is headed to Guatemala

  1. RK says:

    In the city, or will you have times to take side trips?

    Antigua and Lake Atitlan are great…and I wish that I could remember the name of the volcano I climbed (not Agua or Fuego).

    Found it: Volcano Pacaya

  2. Igor says:

    So you’re not going to the steel construction ceremony at Red Bull Park today? Dang it.

  3. Mighty says:

    You have to go to Antigua, beautiful spot, Zona 10 Zona Viva…. or you can go to a chill spot Cuarto Grado Norte, i believe thats the name of the spot, is really nice.

    But if you can stay away from the capital, then you will have a good time…… inside the city is not that Good.

    Also on Game night, leave as early as you can, it gets really pack and traffic is crazy!!

    Have a good time…..

  4. Caldwell says:

    Cool site feature idea: places to see and things to do for all the USMNT qualifier road games! I’ve been thinking about going for one away match this time around once they get to round four.

  5. Ben says:

    I haven’t spent much time in the city, but if you haven’t been to Lago Atitlan, you should go. And if you go, be sure to make it to Santiago Atitlan, not just Panajachel or Solola. Antigua is also nice, and is just a short drive from the city. Lastly, if you’re looking for Mayan ruins, but don’t have time to go all the way to Tikal, you might try Mixco Viejo (in Chimaltenango) or Iximche (near Tecpan).

  6. RK says:

    “But if you can stay away from the capital, then you will have a good time…… inside the city is not that Good. ”

    So true. Five years ago I went with a native of the city, and we didn’t do one thing at night in the city, but took side trips (including Tikal).

    You could always grab a beer with that gringo, Goff.

  7. Graeme says:

    I’m with the group and if you have time, you have to go to Antigua. Inside the city, I would say visit Mercado Central or the Zoologico Nacional La Aurora. If you like museums, go for the Palacio Nacional or the Museo Ixchel del Traje Indigena.

  8. EA says:

    Ives,

    Your article on ESPN says that one of the Qualies vs. Guatemaula was played in El Salvador.

    Why was that?

  9. SeaOtter says:

    I have to agree with RK and Mighty.

    Antigua is great! Basically, the back drop to the entire town is the Volcan Agua. The Parque Central always has indians selling souvenirs. It’s also very international given the number of spanish schools there. People from all over the world.

    It’s only a 45 minute drive out of town by bus. Probably faster if you know someone with a car.

    Worth it Ives.

  10. SeaOtter says:

    Just to continue a bit. I lived in Antigua for some time and only went to Guate (Guatemala City) to hang out with friends at bars. That was really the only thing to do and I wouldn’t do that without a trusted local friend.

    Most of the time the locals left the city to go the places already mentioned or to the coast.

  11. kpugs says:

    I predict Guatemala will cheat. A lot.

  12. Thom says:

    Antigua is a most. It is UNIESCO world heritage site and is only 45 minutes away. I would try to stay there one night and just wander around. Panajachel and Lago Atitlan are great but that is about 3 hour tour drive.

    You most likely will be staying in Zona 1 or 2- where all the international hotels are- so there are plenty of great restaurants and bars in that area. Museums and indigenous art and paintings are fantastic. Make sure you bring something home for the Mrs. Just keep your head on swivel when out on the streets walking around in Ciudad de Guatemala. Drugs have made Guat City and much more dangerous place then it should be in the last 8 years.

    Have a fun.

  13. Thom says:

    Oh yes- I predict a draw for us this evening. We have never beat them in Guatemala and they have a good, young squad and lots of rabid, urine throwing fans for our team to contend with.

  14. A.S. says:

    It would be nicer for the visiting press corps if they would schedule the soccer matches closer to the beach and/or tourist sites!

  15. brentmcd says:

    Tikal is a bit of a journey (up near Flores in the north) but is spectacular. Amazing Mayan ruins.

  16. brentmcd says:

    oh yeah, Antigua is cool too (and much closer to Guat. City)

  17. RK says:

    That mercado was great…

    The roads around the lake are -scary-…

  18. RK says:

    Tikal is a 45 minute flight IIRC — but worthwhile. You need to spend the day there, though, surely.

  19. TBrodie says:

    Assuming you’ll need to spend most of your time in the capital, zone 10 is the place to hang out. If you haven’t locked down a place to stay, the Marriott in zone 9 is nice, has a great pool, and good food. It’s also about a block away from zone 10. Just get a good gas mask if you have to cross Avenida Reforma during rush hour! The polution’s a bit rough. Also, while it may be fun to watch 200 Guatemalans going by crammed on a yellow school bus, stay clear of those buses!

  20. curtis Spiteri says:

    USNT 2

    Guate 0

    Bank on it.

  21. Ives says:

    Hey folks, I’ll be in Zona 10. I plan on checking out the city whenever it is I get there tonight. That’s the plan, but then again I’ve only slept three hours so I might just pass out when I get to my hotel.

    Thanks for the info everybody.

  22. Jeff says:

    I think the USA will be able to hold off Guatemala for the win, but if ever the table was set for them to upset us tomorrow night is it.

  23. Paul says:

    How is it that we have come to expect, and basically tolerate, fans throwing urine-filled bags, etc. onto the field? Much less serious incidents in Europe, for example, are punished harshly and quickly, with the club/national federation (and not just the offending fans) often being the target of the sanctions. Is this yet another quirk of CONCACAF life that we can attribute to Jack Warner and his cronies?

  24. Mark says:

    US gets a 1-0 victory after playing a largely lifeless match courtesy of a set piece. Either an Eddie Lewis freekick or a Gooch-anegra header off a corner.

    And for the Red Bulls fans, the first pieces of steel went in to Red Bull Arena today. If I think about it, I’ll drop my digital camera in my bag tomorrow to try and get a picture on my commute into the city. Hopefully they’ll re-introduce the webcam now that there will actually be something to watch…

  25. elmatador says:

    Ives, Antigua Guatemala is your best bet. I envy you right now, I haven’t been in Guatemala since I moved here, back in 91′ Go USA!!!

  26. Byron says:

    Ben has it right! Santiago on Atitlan! Probably a four hr bus ride from Guate to Pana and then a 40 min boat ride across the lake though. One of the greatest places on the planet.

    If you want a real taste of Guate, I highly recommend La Linea (just ask the hotel about it).

    If you are going to do the tourist thing though, you probably need to eat at a Pollo Campero and visit Antigua. There is a five star resort there called Casa Santo Domingo that will only run $150 US per night.

  27. Thom says:

    Ives – once you are at the hotel- look for the Taxi’s or tourist companies with the Star of David on their brochures/propaganda etc.

    The Israeli’s run a lot of private security and transportation in the City and to interesting tourist spots and as you can imagine they are pretty good at what they do.

    It is so strange that only 15 years ago you could wander around using the public buses and not really have to think twice but now things have changed so much.

    Go to Antigua- it is very close, it is safe because A) the government does not want anything bad to happen in a tourist mecca and B) it is very cool, funky and most likely the best kept original example of colonial Spanish settlement in all of Central/South America . (Or at least Google it from the hotel and then tell everyone you went.) You are really less than an hour away from Zone 10 with no traffic problems because you are on the side of the city that is the closest to the highway that goes . You’ll thank us all who recommended it.

    Try this site to check it out: link to aroundantigua.com

  28. Mike says:

    If I had known you were going down sooner I could have dug around to find Eduardo’s number. He’s a private tour guide. He was excellent when we went to adopt our daughter. And he cost about half of what the tour companies charged! I wish I could remember the name of the place that served the Turkey Soup in Zona 1. That was an excellent lunch.

    I documented a lot of the stuff here: link to twofourone.blogspot.com

    I’d be curious to know (after the match) where the team stayed.

  29. Mike says:

    Heh, I just needed to dive through my pictures from the trip a bit:

    link to arrincuan.com

    Apparently they now have a location in Zona 10 now. We went to the one in Zona 1. Very good grub.

  30. omar80013 says:

    I never thought i would say this but i am rooting for the us to lose or tie this game, so bob bradley either loses his job or learns his lesson. How do you not call up keeny cooper, freddy adu, or marvell wyne? How can he call up eddie johnson, brain ching, or mastroeini over them is stupid. Sure we can beat the crappy concaf teams but we have no skill or creativity on the field to go against the spains and englands of the world.

  31. RK says:

    omar, you’re fired from being a USMNT fan. There are plenty of other countries that you can apply to.

    Adu was never ever never ever going to get called up — as he just got done with the Olympics and has to join his new team Monaco, who he hasn’t trained with at all and has already started their season.

  32. omar80013 says:

    RK, what are you talking about, Bradley and Kljestan just played in the olympics yet they were still called up leaving their clubs, even though adu outplayed both remember it was adu who set Kljestan up with his goal against the dutch. Even if adu didn’t get called up it wouldn’t bother me as much as not calling up cooper and going with guys like ching, and johnson who have no technical or finishing ability.

    By the way i’am not the only one complaining about adu not being called up.

    link to msn.foxsports.com

  33. RK says:

    Bradley and Kljestan aren’t joining new teams! Same with Jozy.

  34. RK says:

    Wait, you just referenced Jamie Trekker? For shame!

  35. Paul says:

    Marvell Wynne may be faster than a speeding bullet, but he is definitely not better — at this point — than BB’s choices on the back line. His ball skills and passing still need to improve quite a bit before he can be given serious consideration as a top-line MNT defender.

  36. Animal says:

    Marvel Wynne is an uber-stud…Which planet have yo been on Paulie?

  37. Paul says:

    I’ve been on the planet where they played the Olympic tournament, and where Wynne’s crossing ability continued to be sub-par. An uber-stud he may well be, but if you’re spraying your crosses all over the park, it may be enough to counterbalance your uber-studdly attributes.

  38. Isaac says:

    Guys why is everyone in such a rush to get cooper altidore and Adu on the MNT. the WC is in 2010, about a year and a half away. and it wont be until late 2009 that he names the roster. You guys just need to be patient. There is plenty of time to develop them into quality players. Also Adu and Altidore werent called in because they havent quite settled into their teams yet. they’re only 18-19ish.

    All i can say is you need to give it time.

    They’ll be making a difference in 2010.

  39. omar80013 says:

    Face it bob bradley remains too loyal to bunch of aging and unproductive vertrans in johnson and ching. He needs to grow some nuts and play young talented players like cooper, adu, and wynne who is a huge upgrade defensively over guys like Bocanegra and Onyewu. But i guess fans like RK are okay with beating crappy teams like guatemala and jamaica with medicore players rather then giving these young kids a shot to experiment new formations and squads cause as we have already seen this summer USMNT can’t keep up with the power houses of soccer like England or Spain.

  40. Emily says:

    Hey Ives,

    First off, I’m a huge fan of your website. Great source of info. Welcome to Guatemala… enjoying the rain? I can’t wait for the game tomorrow night; I am going as well and will be wearing my red nats shirt proudly. Guatemala has rehired “El Primi” as their coach so I assume they will be fairly well organized and defensive — resorting to dirty, petty, and perhaps desperate measures if the US does go ahead. They are motivated and are always inspired when playing en casa. That said, they still suck and the US should absolutely beat them. On the tourist side of things… I’ve lived here for about 5 years now and by far this is the rainiest wet season I’ve experienced. For that reason, I would not recommend making the trek to Solola/Panajachel. The Peten (Tikal) and the coast are totally waterlogged as well. A day trip (taking a flight early morning and return in the evening) makes Tikal doable and really, it’s quite the experience. There have been mudslides, blocked roads, etc. so I would limit road travel. I agree with everyone that you shouldnt miss Antigua though — any damages to the road will be cleaned up fairly quickly on the road from Guate to Antigua… for Guatemala. Have fun!

  41. JK says:

    @omar80013

    World Cup Qualifying, especially in an environment like Guatemala’s, is not the time to be experimenting with new formations! WE NEED A RESULT IN THIS GAME! Isaac is 100% right. Adu and Altidore need to settle down, get set with there club team, get experience against very good competition, and basically with their time in Europe, they should be ready for WC 2010 (assuming we qualify; no assumptions).

    Inexperienced players like Cooper likely will go to Europe and be in the same position. Anyway, the veteran forwardswill probably play hard since this is putup or shutup for time on MNT since these young forwards will be regular callups soon.

    Anyway, no matter what, you have to root for your team. A fan roots for a team, but a TRUE fan sticks with the team, watches them, shows the a decent amount of interest in them THROUGH THICK AND THIN!

  42. fieldsy says:

    Ives,

    enjoy Guatemala.

    any word on Edu getting his work permit to play in scotland?

  43. omar80013 says:

    if you struggle to beat teams like guatemala then you have no right to make the world cup. If you like watching mediocre, broing soccer then continue to root for USMNT, sometimes you have to have something dramatic like losing to guatemala to create change in a poor system of coaching to choosing players.

  44. RK says:

    omar…I think those players belong.

    But Adu? Not tomorrow night. You and Jamie Trekker need to see the forest for the trees.

  45. Jamie Z. says:

    Here’s a caption contest photo if ever I’ve seen one:

    link to images.ussoccer.com

  46. Corey says:

    Can you tell us if the Pollo Campero is really better down there than the one on Bergenline Ave?

    Have fun, killer.

  47. RK says:

    Just go to the one in the airport, like everyone else does, before they get on the plane. Your flight is going to smell like fried chicken.

  48. alberte says:

    For great steak go to the Media Cancha (Mid-Pitch) I believe in Zona 9. Restaurant is Football themed, owner used to play in Guatemala (pro?), anyway football jerseys and memorabilia all around. Nice atmosphere and great food.

  49. Tim says:

    Omar never sight a Jamie Trecker article. He is the most idiotic soccer writer. He is to journalism that Marcelo Balboa is to commentating. He has no idea what he is saying. He isn’t smart enough to realize that it is better for Adu to earn a starting position for his club team rather then play in a WCQ that everyone knows doesn’t mean that much.

    Omar you say we couldn’t compete with England because we lack skill and Creativity. England is a joke away from home, and they couldn’t be any less creative than anyone else.

    Spain are just amazing even though we put an enormous amount of pressure on their team for the majority of the game, and should’ve scored a couple goals.

    You also fail to mention that we did more than compete with an Argentinian team that is better than England, and is just as good as, if not better, than Spain.

    Omar just stop talking you are continuely embarrassing yourself.

  50. Tim says:

    Man, I can’t believe that someone actually referenced a Jamie Trecker article. LMAO

  51. Jacob says:

    That box says “Chess for Dummies” and the starting points are labeled on the board. Nice.

  52. omar80013 says:

    Get over adu, he was just one of the players i mentioned. Nobody has yet to explain to me why cooper or someone like wynne was left out while under performers like bocanegra, johnson, ching, and Onyewu are still called up. Tim, what the hell are you talking about we got man handled in every aspect of the england game were you even watching, and all of our scoring chances vs spain came from adu’s ability. I haven’t heard much about jamie trecker, but i know he gets paid to write about soccer while ppl like you can only blog and complain about a sport you don’t understand.

  53. Byron says:

    Why is everyone talking about Cooper? The international level is a little different from the MLS and I was not impressed with Cooper when he received a look on the int’l stage before breaking his leg last year. He isn’t a difference maker, just another warm body at a higher level.

  54. William says:

    A typical result against Guatemala would be a tie, especially on the road, and some banged up American ankles. It’s gonna be ugly, but I’m hoping for a well-earned point.

  55. RK says:

    omar — I pointed out Adu, because he is the only one that I am absolutely 100% should not be on this team.

  56. RK says:

    Byron, one thing I see from him is height, which we sorely lack after McBride retired.

    Also, look at the other options :(

  57. Tim F. says:

    Hope you are safe and ready for today Ives!

    Will it be 0-0 tie or 0-1 loss for the USMNT or will Donovan & Co. manage to score for a 1-1 or 1-0 outcome?

  58. brett says:

    omar- the only thing tim said about england is they are crap away from home and are the least creative team compared to the 3 friendlies we played….

    you’ve lost all credibility when you said the US should lose or tie so BB gets fired…. sacrificing WC chance in hopes to get someone fired is not the sign of a die hard yank…

    adu- new team

    jozy- new team

    KC- 1 game intl exp, and away match in hostile env. for WCQ

    i agree with you that BB needs to make some changes up top, but this is not the game for it…. i would rather us go there with experienced front line and watch us walk away with a 1-0 2-0 victory… KC is solid and i want him on the list but as others have pointed out, there is plenty of time… what KC needs to do is to continue what he’s doing….