Slow, inefficient, and disappointing all could have described the play from the United States men’s national team tonight(USMNT) against Honduras Tuesday until the seventy-second minute goal from Jozy Altidore.
The high pressure we saw last week against Panama was not there for the majority of the game. The deep through balls, from the defense and midfield, that connected last week where always a bit to long tonight.
Even though the U.S. did not play their best they still won and gained an extremely valuable three points putting them five points clear in the hex.
The U.S. started sluggish and unenthusiastic against, a defensive minded Honduras team, struggling to connect passes and win tackles. The Honduran National team won the majority of the fifty-fifty balls in the first half, showing the lack of urgency the U.S. possessed. Honduras was the team applying high pressure and winning dangerous balls, in the first twenty minutes instead of the United States.
The main threat from the U.S. was from a handful of corner kicks and early crosses but nothing came from them. The U.S then started long balls over the top which Jozy Altidore and company could not make use of. Bradley then played a great through ball to Clint Dempsey who whiffed on the header.
As half time loomed both the United States and Hondurans played extremely sloppy soccer, which was very hard to watch at times. A sloppy back pass from Matt Beasler lead to a break away for Honduras but Tim Howard saved neatly to keep the U.S. level. The first half ended with U.S fans disappointed.
At the start of the second half the U.S. came out slow and inaccurate on passes. Once again the Hondurans were applying high pressure in the midfield causing problems for the U.S.
Then after another almost goal by Dempsey around the sixty-second minute something happened to the U.S. Suddenly their was pressure and great execution. The ball moved from flank to flank freely and when the ball was lost immediate pressure was applied.
Zusi and Dempsey became more involved controlling the flow of the game with great technical and athletic ability. The crowd could sense a goal coming soon and in the seventy-second minute it came when a Clint Dempsey pass was dummied by Zusi to a charging Fabien Johnson who laid it across for an easy finish by Altidore.
Cameron and Brad Davis then came on sealing the much-deserved victory for the United States. This victory almost seals a place in Brazil for the United States men’s national team.