We knew it wouldn’t be an easy game for the United States Men’s national team. Going on the road to kick off the final stage of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF is never easy but the US has seen results in the past on the road. Yesterday’s game against Honduras was just different in the end.
For all the good build up that was there on Clint Dempsey’s goal in the first half, it was quickly erased with the wonderful bicycle kick by defender Juan Carlos Garcia. From then on it seems as if any hope that the US had in getting three points was gone.
There was little spark offensively and collectively in the defense, it was a rocky road. I’m not blaming Jurgen Klinsmann too much for giving it a go with Omar Gonzalez and Geoff Cameron in the back. That is the pairing most fans want to see for the US. But it was a gamble nonetheless on the road and in a tough environment like Honduras. A veteran like Carlos Bocanegra would have been much better in that situation.
Honduras made the US pay late in the game with New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengston finding the winner. The US had no flow about their passing and the widths of the field were lacking. Klinsmann looked out of his element as a tactician as well.
The difference for me was Roger Espinoza in the midfield for Honduras. He ran the show for the Catrachos.
Maybe it was the weather that got to the US players. With temperatures in the 90s yesterday, Klinsmann was playing a roster of players mostly used to playing in 40-50 degree weather at this time of the year. Maybe having a Herculez Gomez or even a Jose Torres would have helped. At least a little.
Or maybe it was the quick turnaround from their friendly with Canada last week. Only a few leftovers from that camp roster made the trip to Honduras.
Whatever it may have been, the result was not a great kickoff to this qualification process for the US. It certainly puts pressure on Klinsmann to get a result in March against Costa Rica before heading off to Mexico. Luckily for the US, Mexico tied Jamaica at home yesterday and the Panama-Costa Rica game ended in a draw as well. With nine games left in qualifying, anything can and will happen. That much we have to live with.