Friday night was a disaster for the USMNT. There’s just no other way to put it. Not only did the US lose, but they dropped three points at home (to make it six points dropped at home so far in the Hex). The backline of the US was in utter shambles, the attack wasted what few chances they got, Jozy Altidore was a petulant crybaby which cost him as he will be suspended for the next game due to yellow card accumulation and the US was on the receiving end of a few missed penalty shouts (most notably when Clint Dempsey was wrapped up and tackled on a free kick). The US is still in relatively decent shape to make it to Russia 2018, but any more missteps could result in the US missing the World Cup for the first time since 1986. And it doesn’t’ get much easier as the US travels down to San Pedro Sula to take on Honduras.
Bruce Arena summed it up accurately in his post-game press conference when he said that Costa Rica outplayed and outcoached the US. What really hurt the US against Costa Rica was the backline. Too many mistakes were made by all of them, which highlights just how much John Brooks is missed (and he will probably be missed for the October qualifiers as well with the injury he picked up with Wolfsburg). Tim Ream made a critical error on Costa Rica’s first goal and then Geoff Cameron gifted the ball to them on the second goal. Clint Dempsey coming on as a sub, which was so effective in the Gold Cup knockout stages, failed to provide the much needed spark and the US was shut out for only the second time this year (the first being a friendly against Serbia in January). All in all it was a pretty dismal evening and the if the US wants to avoid really having to sweat it out for the rest of the qualification campaign, getting a results against Honduras is a must.
Honduras is in essentially the same place as the US. Both teams sit on 8 points though the US is in third with a +1 goal difference while Honduras is in fourth with a -7 goal difference. So far this year it’s been up and down for Honduras. They started the year of wonderfully, winning the Copa Centroamericana with four wins and a draw. But after that it all started to fall apart. Heavy defeats and a pair of draws in World Cup Qualifying were followed up by a dismal Gold Cup, where they made it to the knockout round without scoring a goal in the group stage (they were awarded a 3-0 victory over French Guiana who fielded an ineligible player) and were then promptly knocked out by Mexico. They did manage to get a win and three points on the road in Trinidad & Tobago on Friday however. Their roster for this round of qualifiers is very heavily domestically based but they do have the Houston Dynamo trio of Oscar Boniek Garcia, Romell Quioto and Alberth Ellis as well as FC Dallas defender Maynor Figueroa.
• This cycle is the first time in the modern era of US Soccer where the US has lost two home qualifiers in the Hex.
• The US has not beaten Honduras in San Pedro Sula since 2009.
• The current Hex standings are as follows: Mexico (17 points), Costa Rica (14 points), USA (8 points), Honduras (8 points), Panama (7 points), Trinidad & Tobago (3 points). Reminder that the top three teams automatically qualify for Russia 2018 while the fourth place team would go into a playoff against the fifth place team from Asia.
When and where to watch the game on TV and streaming
USA leads 16-4-4
San Jose, CA
USA 6 – 0 Honduras
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World Cup Qualifying
USA vs. Panama
Orlando City Stadium
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