This was absolutely a nerve racking second half for the USA and all of us supporters. Who would’ve thought going down a goal in the 46th minute that the USA would gather their thoughts very quickly and go out on a three goal rampage and especially from Conor Casey by not scoring a goal, but two in a row. A long rainbow pass that was headed down in the 54th minute then all of a sudden during the run of play in the 65th, Casey must’ve been watching dancing with the stars because he looked like twinkle toes against Noel Valladares and out of the blue smacks it in.
Then Landon Donovan got a free kick just outside the area in the 71st minute. I’m assuming he saw Clint Mathis free kick back in 2001 from the same spot, because Donovan served one Honduran Special into the net. Yes Julio De Leon pulled one back to make it three to two in the 77th and Carlos Pavon missed his penalty to equalize, but still this was a fantastic match to see our National Team perform and get those necessary three points to keep the top spot in the hex, officially clinch and join Mexico for the chance to play in the World Cup in South Africa next year.
But I have a confession to make. While typing up this report I never saw the match live. I never went to Nevada Smith’s or at the Play-by-Play Restaurant in Madison Square Garden. In fact I wasn’t home watching it on an internet feed. Outside of writing for MLS Talk my real job is working for a Sports News Service which feeds out highlights to all NBC Affiliates. So while I was busy with watching the NHL my co-workers were nice enough to give me updates on the match and yes I got up and checked out the FIFA site for the score.
While this is a happy time to celebrate qualification to the World Cup next summer, I’m sorry to say that it’s still terrible when something so important and late in the qualification schedule you can’t have this match seen on any ESPN channels, Fox Soccer Channel or when Gol TV has the rights to show it on their own channel. That’s right, Media Pro owns Gol TV and while they showed Costa Rica hosting Trinidad & Tobago live at 10PM, they couldn’t show a delayed broadcast of USA-Honduras afterwards.
I still felt that US Soccer could have intervened and paid Media Pro whatever money was asked and then re-distribute the English language rights to either ESPN or FSC and show the match live, but instead people had to scramble to find a bar near them or at least one that was showing the match. I knew many wouldn’t pay a cover charge and decided to stay home to view it on their computers or find a way to get the signal.
When I was watching some of the earlier World Cup qualifiers on FSC, I quickly looked at Gol TV to see if they had a match live & I saw a commercial in Spanish advertising USA at Honduras and then I saw the dreaded words “NO PAY PER VIEW!” If this match was on PPV I would’ve told my supervisor that I would gladly pay for it so we could bring the live signal in. But unfortunately we as supporters of the game here in the States are screwed when it comes to greed.
I understand that the Honduran Football Federation has the right to make money on the event when the match is being seen by Americans, but you wish that this closed circuit option was thrown out the window. US Soccer should’ve had some form of talks with them and asked for the rights and pay whatever money they were asking for. I read on Ives Galarceps blog that the Ukraine-England match was also being shown on closed circuit as well, but that argument is meaningless when England already qualified for South Africa. If England really needed this road match the FA would’ve pulled all the stops to make sure closed circuit would never be an option.
I am very happy that the USA has qualified for their 6th consecutive World Cup and I can’t wait to see them try to win the hexagonal on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium. But at the same time I wish that these bumps in the road watching the match never happens again no matter who we play on the road in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, because to be honest it’s a real pain in the end. But I did see the highlights on Sky Sports thru FSC.