Happy Times For USA Men After Win Over Honduras

The U.S. Men’s National Team used a hat trick from Clint Dempsey as well as well as goals from Sebastian Lletget, Michael Bradley and Christian Pulisic to earn an emphatic 6-0 Final Round World Cup Qualifying win against Honduras at Avaya Stadium. The victory gives the U.S. its first three points of the Hexagonal and pushes the team into fourth place, just one point behind Tuesday’s opponents Panama for CONCACAF’s third and final automatic World Cup berth.

The U.S. was clinical in front of goal all night, converting six of the eight shots it put on target. That finishing touch told from the outset as it took the U.S. just five minutes to gain a lead when Lletget tallied his first international goal by finishing Pulisic’s deflected shot at the back post. The U.S. doubled the advantage through Bradley in the 27th minute, before Pulisic slipped Dempsey in on goal to score his first in the 32nd, sending the MNT into halftime with a 3-0 advantage.

The U.S. was relentless coming out of the locker room, with Pulisic converting 12 seconds into the second half to give the MNT a 4-0 lead. A well-worked play between Jozy Altidore and Pulisic led to Dempsey finishing his second of the game in the 49th minute, before the veteran forward scored his third from a brilliant free kick in the 54th minute. Dempsey’s hat trick is the second of his international career and first by a U.S. player in World Cup Qualifying since Jozy Altidore bagged all three in a 3-0 U.S. win on April 1, 2009 vs. Trinidad & Tobago

The win is the largest margin of victory for the U.S. against Honduras as well as the team’s biggest in the Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying.

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT looks for another three points as it travels south to take on third-place Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City on Tuesday, March 28 at 10 p.m. ET on beIN Sports, Telemundo and Universo.

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – CONCACAF Final Round Standings
TEAM GP W L D Pts. GF GA GD
Mexico 3 2 0 1 7 4 1 3
Costa Rica 3 2 1 0 6 6 2 4
Panama 3 1 1 1 4 1 1 0
United States 3 1 2 0 3 7 6 1
Trinidad & Tobago 3 1 2 0 3 2 5 -3
Honduras 3 1 2 0 3 3 8 -5

Goal Scoring Rundown: 

 USA – Sebastian Lletget, 5th minute: The Honduras defense struggled to control the USA’s early high press, with Ever Alvarado popping a clearance straight up in the air. Jozy Altidore chested it down and began a nice combination with Christian Pulisic, sending the 18-year-old into the box along on the left. The MNT midfielder rifled a quick shot that deflected off the goalkeeper straight into the path of Lletget, who easily tapped home at the back post. USA 1, HON 0 

USA – Michael Bradley (Alejandro Bedoya), 27th minute: After sustaining some pressure from Honduras, the U.S. double its lead through its captain. Alejandro Bedoya collected a pass on the right sideline and laid it back for Michael Bradley. The veteran midfielder switched towards the left, rounding Jorge Claros to gain more space and unleash a shot that skipped off the wet turf and inside the lower right post. USA 2, HON 0 

USA – Clint Dempsey (Christian Pulisic), 32nd minute: Continuing to press the attack, Darlington Nagbe headed a ball into the path of Pulisic who turned and took a stride before sending a deft chip into the path of Dempsey. With Henry Figueroa on his back, the bullish forward took the ball off his right shoulder before muscling off the Honduras defender and chopping a rising shot past Donis Escober and inside the top right corner. USA 3, HON 0 

USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore), 46th minute: Christian Pulisic started and finished the fourth goal, which came straight from the second-half kickoff. Pulisic laid back to Michael Bradley in the center circle, who chipped a ball to the right sideline for Altidore. The expert forward then nodded ahead for Dempsey, who got a foot to it, but briefly lost possession to Maynor Figueroa. Dempsey won the ball back and played for Altidore, who then threaded Pulisic into the box, where the young attacker coolly finished inside the lower right corner 12 seconds after kicking off. USA 4, HON 0

USA – Clint Dempsey (Christian Pulisic), 49th minute: After pressure from Pulisic forced a turnover at midfield, Altidore drove up the left flank and centered for Pulisic, who caught Dempsey strolling straight up the middle and a perfectly weighted through ball. The newly returned forward split the Honduran defense and rounded Escober to bury his second of the game. USA 5, HON 0 

USA – Clint Dempsey, 54th minute: After Pulisic earned a free kick just outside the penalty area, Dempsey lined up over the ball and rifled a right-footed blast that swung inside the top left corner to complete his second career hat trick. The goal also pushed Dempsey back past Jozy Altidore and into first on the MNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying goals list with 17. USA 6, HON 0 FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Tim Howard, 16th minute: After Omar Gonzalez made an initial clearance on a through ball, Emilio Izaguirre collected on the left and charged up the flank before centering a cross. The ball fell for Alberth Ellis right at the penalty spot, where he settled with his left before turning to hit a low, right-footed effort that Howard was quick to get down to save.

NOTES:

  • Making his World Cup Qualifying debut, Lletget tallied his first international goal in the fifth minute before having to leave the match due to injury in the 18th.
  • Bradley’s 27th minute strike was his 16th international goal, sixth all-time in World Cup Qualifying and first since scoring against Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals on July 22, 2015.
  • Dempsey recorded his second hat trick and first since July 18, 2015 vs. Cuba. The three goals push him to 17 all-time in World Cup Qualifying, moving him past Jozy Altidore into first for the MNT’s all-time lead.
  • Dempsey’s hat trick for the USA is the team’s first in a World Cup Qualifier since Jozy Altidore bagged all three goals against Trinidad and Tobago in a 3-0 U.S. win on April 1, 2009 in Nashville, Tenn.
  • The hat trick also pushes Dempsey’s overall goals total to 55, placing him just two behind Landon Donovan for the USA’s all-time lead.
  • The goals were Dempsey’s first for the USA since returning from medical problems he suffered over the end of 2016. He last scored against Ecuador in the MNT’s 2-1 win on June 16 in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
  • Christian Pulisic’s goal is his third career World Cup Qualifying strike. He previously scored two against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2, 2016 (also in a 6-0 USA win).
  • Tim Howard made four saves to earn his 38th career clean sheet.
  • After making his international debut on Jan. 29 vs. Serbia, Jorge Villafaña joined Lletget in earning his first World Cup Qualifying cap.
  • The U.S. Men’s National Team moves to 16-4-4 all-time against Honduras and has gone 13-2-3 on U.S. soil.
  • The MNT has now gone 6-2-1 against Los Catrachos in World Cup Qualifying.
  • Bruce Arena moves his career record vs. Honduras to 6-1-0 all-time.

– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Honduras
Date: March 24, 2016
Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia – Qualifier
Venue: Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PT
Attendance: 17,729
Weather: 56 degrees; raining

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F 
USA                        3 3 6 
HON                        0 0 0

USA – Sebastian Lletget                                5th minute
USA – Michael Bradley (Alejandro Bedoya)      27
USA – Clint Dempsey (Christian Pulisic)          32
USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore)            46
USA – Clint Dempsey (Christian Pulisic)          49
USA – Clint Dempsey                                    54

Lineups: 
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Jorge Villafaña, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 6-John Brooks (14-Tim Ream, 70), 20-Geoff Cameron (19-Graham Zusi, 59); 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 9-Sebastian Lletget (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 18), 10-Christian Pulisic, 15-Darlington Nagbe; 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 12-David Bingham, 22-Nick Rimando; 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 21-Walker Zimmerman; 13-Kellyn Acosta, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 23-Dax McCarty; 18-Chris Wondolowski 
Head coach: Bruce Arena

HON : 22-Donis Escober; 7-Emilio Izaguirre (14-Boniek Garcia, 46), 3-Maynor Figueroa (capt.), 4-Henry Figueroa, 5-Ever Alvarado, 21-Brayan Beckeles; 20-Jorge Claros, 15-Roger Espinoza; 12-Romell Quioto (11-Erick Andino, 43) 19-Alberth Elis, 17-Andy Najar (8-Oliver Morazan, 61)
Subs not used: 1-Luis Lopez, 18-Ricardo Canales, 2-Felix Crisianto, 6-Allans Vargas, 23-Cesar Oseguera; 10-Mario Martinez, 16-Carlos Disuca, 9-Anthony Lozano, 13-Eddie Hernandez 
Head coach: Jorge Luis Pinto

Stats Summary: USA / HON 
Shots: 9 / 11
Shots on Goal: 8 / 4
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 0 / 7
Fouls: 15 / 8
Offside: 2 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
HON – Ever Alvarado (caution) 15th minute
USA – Geoff Cameron (caution) 25

Officials: 
Referee: Walter Lopez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Gerson Lopez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
4th Official: Oscar Reyna (GUA)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey

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