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USA vs. Honduras preview: USMNT ready for debut Gold Cup match

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The first competitive game in over a year for the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) is against Honduras in the opening game of the 2015 Gold Cup.  This is one of the toughest Gold Cup tournaments ever and the stakes are very high, with a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup up for grabs.

On Friday, the US thumped Guatemala 4-0 in front of 44,835 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville (the largest ever crowd for a soccer game in Tennessee).  Jurgen Klinsmann was happy with the result, but not happy with the performance.  He stated that the biggest disappointments were Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore who failed on numerous occasions to link up with each other or the midfield.  Not that it was all bad, however.  Klinsmann heaped praise upon Timmy Chandler and DeAndre Yedlin for their performances.  With a very good roster, a few days between the Guatemala game on the Gold Cup opener against Honduras, and a ton of positive momentum, the US will be very tough to beat in this tournament.

The team that figures to be the biggest challenger to the US in Group A at the Gold Cup is Honduras.  Honduras comes into the Gold Cup having endured a miserable last 14 months, but they seem to be finding their footing at the right time under new manager Jorge Luis Pinto, who lead Costa Rica to the quarterfinals of the last World Cup.  They failed to win a game at the World Cup, and then placed fifth out of seven teams at the 2014 Copa Centroamericana.  They almost didn’t make it to the Gold Cup, going down 3-1 after the first leg of a play-off with French Guiana.  They have lost just once since then and are unbeaten in four of their last five including draws at Paraguay and in Houston against Mexico (the lone loss was a 1-0 loss at Brazil).  Players to watch include former DC United man Andy Najar and Houston Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia.  The forwards don’t have a lot of experience, as Anthony Lozano of CD Olimpia is the only one with more than six caps (he has 15, while the other three forwards Roman Castillo, Eddie Hernandez and Erick Andino combine for 14).          

Notes:

Jozy Altidore’s penalty miss against Guatemala was only the second miss (out of ten taken) by a US player under Jurgen Klinsmann.  Clint Dempsey had the other against Mexico in 2013 (maybe it was on purpose, maybe it wasn’t).

Tuesday marks the first USMNT game at Toyota Stadium since a friendly against Guatemala in 2007.

This will be the third straight year and sixth of the last seven that the US has played Honduras.

When, Where

7/7/15

Toyota Stadium
Frisco, Texas
9:30pm ET
FOX Sports 1, UniMas

All-Time Series

USA leads 14-4-4

Last Meeting

10/14/14

FAU Stadium
Boca Raton, Florida
1 USA Honduras 1

Next Game Up

7/10/15

USA vs. Haiti
Gillette Stadium
Foxborough, Massachusetts

 

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