Bocanegra header gives US big 2-1 win over Honduras

11 Jun

I realize this is slightly delayed, but I want to write about it anyways. First of all, it was amazing to attend this game in person (oh yeah, and sit in the second row – Thanks Jeff!!). Although the US fans were definitely outnumbered by the Honduras fans, the US team did a good job of quieting the crowd after giving up an early goal. For the second straight game, the US allowed a goal in the first five minutes of play. (This is a disturbing trend and the US will get destroyed if they do that against teams like Italy and Brazil.)

Honduras kept the pressure on the US, possessing the ball and making dangerous runs. After the first ten minutes or so, the US started to loosen up a bit, although the passing still left something to be desired. As the game went on, the US became more dangerous. Conor Casey put a shot over the bar in the middle of the first half. The US then got a bit of luck as a Honduras player handled the ball in the box. Leaving nothing to chance, Landon Donovan powered home the spot kick, tying the game at 1 apiece just before halftime. Donovan is now the United States all-time leading scorer in World Cup qualifying with 11 goals, surpassing Brian McBride.

The US made solid adjustments at halftime, bringing on Benny Feilhaber in place of Pablo Mastroeni. The team started beating the Hondurans to the ball and putting together some nice passing. With another couple chances gone by the wayside, the US finally went back on top in the 70th minute. Landon Donovan put in a corner kick, which was headed into the middle by Clint Dempsey. Carlos Bocanegra went horizontal to head the ball into the lower corner, giving the US a 2-1 lead. With about five minutes left, the US almost gave the fans a collective heart attack as Tim Howard was unable to handle a Honduras shot. Ricardo Clark had to clear the ball off the line (I didn’t realize how close that ball was to going in til I watched the game on DVR – yikes). The US was able to hold on for the crucial 2-1 victory.

It wasn’t the prettiest of performances, but getting a win after a crappy game at Costa Rica was huge. The team also had the confidence to fight back from an early deficit, so major props to them for that. As the game progressed, the team played better and better, but if they are to compete at the highest levels, they need to bring high energy from minute one. Again, it was awesome to be at the game in person and shut the Honduras fans up after scoring the second goal. I’ll add some pictures later.

A much stronger test awaits the Americans at the Confederations Cup in South Africa next week. The US opens against Italy and then plays Brazil and Egypt. More on that later.

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