SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (Feb. 6, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s National Team garnered a first-half lead, but Honduras rallied for a 2-1 victory in Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in the teams’ opener of the Final Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
Clint Dempsey scored the USA’s goal, only to see Honduras get goals from Juan Garcia and Jerry Bengtson to take all three points.
It was a very disappointing result, and marked the first time the U.S. had ever begun the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with a loss. It also puts the U.S. team, which plays three of its first four qualifiers in the Hexagonal on the road, in a hole to start the process.
Both Honduras goals were results of defensive breakdown. Garcia, poorly marked, scored a spectacular highlight-reel bicycle kick to tie the score 11 minutes after Dempsey’s goal gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann found little positve about the way his team played. “We didn’t find our passing flow,” he said. “We didn’t combine well enough, we didn’t hold the ball well enough.
“I think we had too many mistakes in too many areas. Tactically, in certain ways. Individual mistakes. Collective mistakes.”
On the winning Honduras tally, the ball was played to the edge of the box with Honduras midfielder Garcia, U.S. defender Geoff Cameron and goalkeeper Tim Howard all having an opportunity to get to the ball. Cameron noticeably held back on his run and Garcia took advantage, passing the ball to Bengtson who lost U.S. center back Omar Gonzalez and slotted the ball into the net for the victory.
Next up for the U.S., a home World Cup qualifier on March 22 against Costa Rica at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. Following that game the U.S. goes on the road for games with Mexico and Jamaica.
After a sluggish start for both teams through much of the first half, the U.S. got on the score sheet first in the 36th minute when Jermaine Jones lofted the ball over the Honduras defense to Dempsey in the box. Dempsey struck the ball solidly with his right foot, driving his volley past Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares for the 1-0 lead.
Dempsey’s goal was the 31st of his career, his 11th in World Cup qualifying matches and the sixth goal in this current World Cup qualifying cycle to lead the USA. He moves into sole possession of second place in qualifying goals ahead of Eddie Johnson and Brian McBride. Dempsey also moved into sole possession of third all-time in career goals ahead of McBride (30 career goals).
Honduras scored the game-winner with 11 minutes left in the second half.
- With his start in Wednesday’s game, German-born defender Timmy Chandler officially became cap-tied to the United States as he started at right back, paired with Cameron and Gonzalez and left back Fabian Johnson. Chandler and Gonzalez made their World Cup qualifying debuts.
- U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard had three saves in the match, including a clutch punch on Mario Martinez’s left-footed shot in the 33rd minute to keep the match scoreless at the time.
- The USA saw its unbeaten streak (3-0-2) dating back to last year come to a close and moved to 12-4-3 all-time against Honduras in a series that dates back to 1965.
- The U.S. is now 3-2-1 in games played in Honduras and 3-1-0 in San Pedro Sula.
- Since 2002, the U.S. is 9-1-1 against Honduras.
- In World Cup qualifying matches, the U.S. is now 4-2-1 all-time against Honduras.
- In the past five openers of the Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying, the U.S. is now 3-1-1.
- The U.S. has qualified for six straight FIFA World Cup tournaments, which is the seventh-best active streak behind Brazil (19), Germany (15), Italy (13), Argentina (10), Spain (9) and Republic of Korea (7), and ahead of eighth-place CONCACAF rival Mexico (5).
- Five USA players are currently carrying yellow cards in World Cup qualifying: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi. Their next caution will result in a one-match suspension.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is now 11-7-5 at the helm of the U.S. MNT. Klinsmann’s first win was the USA’s 1-0 victory on Oct. 8, 2011, against Honduras at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report
Match: USA vs. Honduras
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifier – Final Round
Venue: Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano
Kickoff: 3 p.m. CT-
Weather: 84 degrees, humid
USA – Clint Dempsey (Jermaine Jones) 36th minute
HON – Juan Carlos Garcia (Maynor Figueroa) 40
HON – Jerry Bengtson (Oscar Garcia) 79
USA: 1-Tim Howard (capt.); 2-Timmy Chandler, 5-Omar Gonzalez, 20-Geoff Cameron, 23-Fabian Johnson; 14-Danny Williams (7-Maurice Edu, 58), 13-Jermaine Jones (19-Graham Zusi, 67), 4-Michael Bradley, 18-Eddie Johnson (16-Sacha Kljestan, 59); 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 6-Michael Parkhurst, 9-Herculez Gomez, 10-Jose Torres, 11-Brad Davis, 12-Brad Guzan, 15-Edgar Castillo, 21-Brad Evans, 22-Sean Johnson
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
HON: 18-Noel Valladares , 5-Víctor Bernárdez, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 6-Juan Carlos García, 8-Arnold Peralta, 15-Roger Espinoza, 14-Oscar Boniek García, 19-Luis Garrido, 10-Mario Martínez, 11-Jerry Bengtson (20-Jorge Claros, 84), 13-Carlo Costly(9-Georgie Welcome, 90+3)
Subs not used: 22-Donis Escobar, 1-José Mendoza, 17-Brayan Beckeles, 2-Osman Chávez, 4-Juan Pablo Montes, 12-Orlin Peralta, 16-Alex López, 23-Aldo Oviedo, 7-Christian Altamirano, 21-Roger Rojas
Head coach: Luis Suarez
Stats Summary: HON / USA
Shots: 12 / 11
Shots on Goal: 5 / 2
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 7
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 5 / 0
Referee: Walter Quesada (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Leonel Leal (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Octavio Jara (CRC)
Fourth Official: Jeffrey Solis (CRC)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey