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US-Honduras: USMNT faces must-win game in freezing conditions

The promising start to the final stretch of World Cup Qualifying was derailed on Sunday when the US lost against Canada. Despite the US going over 35 years without losing a game to Canada, Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has now managed to lose to Les Rouges twice in the last 26 months, both abject disasters where the US looked both impotent and disinterested. Now, what felt like a comfortable cushion in the Octagonal is gone, setting up a nervy run to the finish. The final game of this window is up next against Honduras.

Berhalter’s first loss to Canada back in October of 2019 could be forgiven. It was a game in the Concacaf Nations League with nothing really on the line. While dispiriting, upsets do happen and streaks do eventually come to an end. But there were one or two alarming issues to come out of that game, including Christian Pulisic very clearly having little to no respect for his manager (perhaps justifiably). Those same issues reared their ugly heads again on Sunday as the US once again fell 2-0 on the road against the Canadians. They kept the ball for long stretches of time but failed to do anything with it, almost as if the gameplan was to keep possession just for the sake of keeping possession. But such is the case with a manger desperate to prove how much smarter he is than everybody else. Berhalter’s postgame comments also served to illustrate just how out of touch with reality and how in love with himself he really is by saying that while the result hurt, the performance (one shot on goal) did not. A couple of more performances that don’t hurt and the US might just miss out on a second straight World Cup.

Honduras is quite frankly a terrible soccer team right now. They are a shadow of their former self (a team that went to back to back World Cups in 2014 and 2018 and just missed out on qualifying for 2018, losing a home and home playoff to Australia. This round of qualifying has been an abject disaster. They have failed to win a single game and have lost six straight in qualifying (seven straight overall). They are winless in an astounding 13 straight games, dating all the way back to July when they won their second group stage game at the Gold Cup. They have nothing left to play for other than pride, as with just three points and four games remaining, they have been officially eliminated from qualifying for the World Cup. Their roster for this window is mostly domestic based players but does feature Bryan Acosta of the Colorado Rapids, with 2 goals in 56 caps for Los Catrachos.

Notes:
1. Standings for the Octagonal: Canada (22pts), USA (18pts), Mexico (18pts), Panama (17pts), Costa Rica (13pts), El Salvador (9pts), Jamaica (7pts), Honduras (3pts)

When and where to watch the game on US TV and streaming

Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Allianz Field
St. Paul, Minnesota
7:30pm ET
FS1, Univision, TUDN,

All-Time Series

USA leads series 18-4-5

Last Meeting

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
USA 4-0 Honduras

Current FIFA Ranking

USA: 11
Honduras: 76

Next Game

Thursday, March 24, 2022
World Cup Qualifying
Mexico vs. USA
Estadio Azteca
Mexico City, Mexico

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Azer

    February 3, 2022 at 11:50 am

    If the USMNT does qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, I hope they don’t advance past the group stages, hopefully they finish 3rd or 4th in the group and go home early. It would be justice served.

  2. greg

    February 3, 2022 at 1:58 am

    Apparently two Honduras players had to be treated for hypothermia. Hypothermia, FFS.

    They should appeal to CONCACAF to have the match replayed at a neutral site with no fans, and the USSF should be sanctioned, remaining home qualifiers with no fans. Such a bush league organization.

  3. Ivan

    February 2, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    Ungodly cold in St.Paul, as expected, ton of empty seats.

    Is US Soccer federation a disgrace or are they just stupid?

    Regardless of outcome tonight, I have gotten a ton of messages already from fellow aficionados with the same question, “what were they thinking”…

    Shockingly incompetent attempt at “home field advantage”…

    Jist call them USSF, no need to insult them further.

  4. MarkB

    February 2, 2022 at 5:22 pm

    Pulisic falls into the catagory of: Buy for what he’s really worth, and sell for what he mistakenly thinks he’s worth. He seems to have problems with more than one manager.

  5. Yespage

    February 2, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    Looking around the Internet, this is easily one of the coldest professional games ever. Heck, it’d be one of the coldest NFL games ever. Maybe the US could play Canada next time in Yellowknife.

    And it is a gamble. It isn’t like this team is out of Minnesota and are accustomed to these temps. They are a few frostbites away from drawing against Honduras.

  6. Leo

    February 2, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    The USA players should be more use to such conditions, much more than the Honduras players.

  7. greg

    February 2, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    But Leo, if conditions make it so that the match has no flow, players from either side not able to function at peak, and puts players at higher risk of muscle injury (hard to keep warm in those conditions, especially subs) is it worth it?

    I know these things happen in warmer conditions, but why make it harder on the players?

    For anyone who gets annoyed with the USWNT’s activism around equal pay, field conditions and all, I’d bet a ton of money that the players themselves would be quite critical of the decision and would seek to force a change. And they’d be right to do so.

  8. Leo

    February 2, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    This is competitive soccer. For some, winning is not just one important aspect, it’s the only one that matters. It makes sense to play in the more adverse but lawful conditions for the opponents. If playing at 10F increases the probability of USA even by 1%, go ahead.

  9. dave

    February 2, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    @Mercator, I am pretty much with you on “They should fire Berhalter after those Canada comments”. Jenny Chiu is a polite interviewer, but I wish she had followed up with something like “if that is a dominant performance, what does mediocre look like to you?”
    .
    Honduras is by far the worst team in the octagonal and it will be 80 degrees colder than home. Get 3 points, however ugly and frustrating, and the USMNT Qatar ticket is all but punched (I assume even Berhalter could coach a win against New Zealand if it comes to that). It has been a discouraging campaign. Mexico have looked even worse. Both are lucky to be in CONCACAF.
    .
    @Lawrence, this line of yours is gold – “A couple of more performances that don’t hurt and the US might just miss out on a second straight World Cup”

  10. Roberto

    February 2, 2022 at 2:03 pm

    The MLS plays no games from mid-December to late February, therefore missing (mostly) the worst of winter.
    Whomever picked Minnesota for a mid-winter game should never be assigned that task again!

  11. Mercator

    February 2, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    Burley hit the nail on the head – what a pathetic, small minded mentality. One of the worst teams in qualifying and yet we don’t have the guts to play them in the sun? It’s Honduras, put the game in Miami and sell 60,000 tickets. If we lose then we lose. If you need to play in -20F conditions to beat Honduras you don’t belong in Qatar anyway. I get it’s CONCACAF and they troll us so we troll them, but below about 20F, it’s not funny anymore it’s just pathetic and sucks for everyone.

    They should fire Berhalter after those Canada comments. Ridiculous, losing by two goals to Canada and you come out and say it was a good performance. If that was a good performance to him they should fire him on the spot because he is not watching the same sport the rest of us are. He is a mid-level manager even by American standards but thinks he is Pep. Canada is good I didn’t expect US to win, but floored to hear this guy say it was a good performance. These sort of poor performances are apparently deliberate and intentional, and exactly how Berhalter wants them to play. Gotta get him out sooner rather than later.

  12. Roberto

    February 2, 2022 at 11:51 am

    Maybe those who promote a winter MLS season!

    • Christopher Harris

      February 2, 2022 at 1:31 pm

      MLS already pretty much plays a winter season. MLS Cup often in December. 2022 MLS season starts this month in February.

      • TheOriginalTom

        February 3, 2022 at 10:52 am

        Yes but the November and December games are important ones, play-offs and the final. Easy to show up in bad weather for those. If those were regular season games, it is a different matter. The other problem with playing winter is that in May and June, only teams in the play-offs would get games. I understand there are some advantages to a winter schedule, but as a guy who loves attending summer evening matches May – September in Colorado; I would be against it.

  13. greg

    February 2, 2022 at 10:44 am

    The dumbest, dumbest people run US Soccer.

  14. locofooty

    February 2, 2022 at 10:13 am

    It becomes a moronic decision when it starts to hinder performance on both sides.

  15. Turfit

    February 2, 2022 at 9:20 am

    So who schedule a soccer match in February in Minnesota in an outdoor stadium???

  16. santacruzred

    February 1, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    Berhalter must go. Twice at least now he has not started Ricardo Pepi, by all odds our best center forward, and twice we have lost to sides we should have beaten. Berhalter thinks he’s smarter than he really is. Just get rid of him, bring back Bob Bradley. It’s not complicated, stop thinking so much and just put the best eleven on the pitch.

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