GUATEMALA CITY -- Second-half substitute Marco Pappa converted a free kick in the 83rd minute to give Guatemala a 1-1 draw with the United States in a World Cup qualifying match at Estadio Mateo Flores on Tuesday night.
The draw gave the Americans four points atop Group A of the CONCACAF semifinal round, ahead of Jamaica on goal difference. The Reggae Boyz drew 0-0 Antigua & Barbuda, leaving Guatemala and the Benna Boys tied with one point.
The result extended the Americans' unbeaten streak over the Central American side to 18 games - including 12 victories, dating back to a 1-0 loss in 1988.
The equalizer came after U.S. midfielder Fabian Johnson was whistled for a foul and yellow card for knocking over Guatemala striker Carlos Ruiz 24 yards from the net. Pappa, who replaced Carlos Figueroa at halftime, drove a left-footed shot just off the underside of the crossbar and inside the near post past goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Clint Dempsey struck in the 40th minute to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.
Johnson sent the Fulham midfielder a centering pass from the left side, and Dempsey dribbled around three defenders before turning at the top of the area to skip a right-footed effort past goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez for his 27th international goal.
Only two minutes prior to the goal, Howard denied Ruiz on a shot from the right side of the penalty area.
Ruiz was a frequent threat for most of the match.
A minute into first-half stoppage time, Ruiz beat midfielders Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu and fired a shot from inside the penalty area that just missed the net on the left side.
Pappa gave the Central Americans a much-needed spark in the second half. The Chicago Fire midfielder just missed the net with a shot in the 68th minute.
Howard produced several key saves, stopping Rodriguez from short range in the 69th minute. The rebound came to Ruiz, who sent it over the crossbar.
The teams won't play again until September, when the United States takes on Jamaica first in Kingston and then Columbus, Ohio, four days later. Similarly, the Guatemalans will host Antigua on September 7 before traveling to the twin-island nation on September 11.