USA 2-0 HONDURAS: Santino’s Redemption
Santino Quaranta has had a bumpy last several years. I’ll assume all our readers are familiar with his trials and travails so I won’t rehash them here. But tonight at his home stadium, Quaranta achieved redemption with his first international goal in his first call up in over three years.
Honduras today fielded a bonafide “B” team with little resemblance to the European club heavy squad we will see later this year in qualifying. David Suazo, arguably CONCACAF’s best player was missing as was Wilson Palacios, the regions most expensive player.
But Honduras still does have talent, and while the US did not play them off the pitch, they certainly made them look less than adequate. Logan Pause and Kyle Beckerman both did an outstanding job of stopping the ball and stifling any linkup play between the young Honduran midfield and their experienced and outstanding striker duo.
The US was somewhat sloppy in the first half, but became stronger as the game wore on while Honduras looked completely incapable of mounting a serious challenge from about the 20th minute onward.
The difference in the match however could be attributed by some to the extra players the US was allowed to add in a late amendment of CONCACAF rules. Honduras with a “B” squad did not have the ability to bring a player like Wilson Palacios or Hendry Thomas off the bench, but the US thanks to a rule change had Benny Feilhaber available.
While any contribution the additional US players make has to be considered questionable, the US was the better side on the night and fully deserved the three points.
This game resembled in many ways the semifinal game of the 2005 Gold Cup when Honduras dominated much of the game but the US left it late scoring two goals to win 2-1. John O’Brien, a player the US still misses scored the first while Oguchi Onyewu scored the winner.
FOX SOCCER CHANNEL ISSUES
On the plus side for FSC, which I have long been critical of are Max Bretos and Christopher Sullivan. It’s refreshing after months of ESPN inspired mindless banter during games to hear:
1- Some actual perspective on players without being overly critical or playing favorites. Harkes does this all the time. He also doesn’t have a great deal of tactical sense or simply doesn’t convey it on the air.
2- A real understanding of the opposition. For example in the June 6th game against Honduras, John Harkes never once mentioned that Honduras was without arguably CONCACAF’s best player, David Suazo and also other key players like “Rambo” Jose DeLeon. It was painfully obvious that Harkes simply knew about Amado Guevara thanks to MLS and was going off the stat sheet or production notes to analyze the rest of the team. The same for the Costa Rica match several days before. The USA plays in CONCACAF and ESPN has continued to use analysts whose knowledge of the region outside of MLS based players (they don’t even know a great deal about what most of the US players are doing in Europe outside of the EPL) and certain well publicized Mexican players is minimal.
But FSC also has production and camera issues which led me around minute 25 to turn the TV to Telefutura for good. For starters Telefutura is in HD, and a stunning HD at that compared to low-def FSC which looks like an Analog broadcast to be perfectly honest. A current MLS and longtime US MNT player tweeted last night on twitter said that ” Telefutura was making FSC look like a home video.” That is about right.
Even worse is that watching FSC you get the impression the US game is a stand alone event. A friendly in the middle of EPL “Classic” mania (interesting that the “classics” show begin in 2008 and end in 2009. The EPL has some genuine classics, I’d love to see again but none were from 2008 or 2009.), and perhaps an inconvenience to the network execs who program that channel.