For those who have not seen the USMNT rosters for the World Cup qualifier in Honduras please check the bottom of this post.
U.S.- When I look at this roster I see a interesting mix of youth and experience. I'm happy to see Timmy Chandler finally committing to the U.S. (Not that there was any question he would but it was merely a matter of when). Also nice to Jozy making the trip considering he had a great showing for his club lately. In case you haven't heard he's been tearing it up for Alkmaar including a recent hat trick. If his club success could translate into national team success it would be a HUGE boost in qualifiers. Great to see Omar get the call for this game. Every American is hoping he'll be the answer for at least a few defensive answers. We shall see Wednesday but I have confidence that he will show why he deserved a shot. Good to also see Eddie Johnson back after his strong showings in the semis including his clutch performance against Antigua. I've definitely curious about Brad Davis being selected. I would have expected a younger option unless Jurgen plans to utilize his free kicking ability.
We of course have the usual group of Dempsey, Bradley, Gomez, and Howard. Let's not forget one of our upcoming stars in Zusi. Mark my words he will do good things for the U.S. team. I know you are probably reading this with a raised eye brow. I'm telling you right now he will become a good player for the US (not a star player though). Now I'm sure all of you noticed Brek Shea and Landon Donovan are not on the roster (Typical US fan reaction-No Donovan in a US qualifier= WTF?). Well Shea is unfortunately still recovering from his injury and in the process of moving to Stoke (congrats to you sir). Donovan is currently finding himself and trying to figure out his next move. This isn't all doom and gloom for the US however. The Stars and Stripes need find a way to win without Donovan carrying them. They did in the Semis and they better dig deep again to do it once more.
So at this point you are probably thinking ok so what is the strategy for a line up like this? Simple- Possession. This is a highly defensive/bunker type of team. You will have to expect Zusi and Chandler making some runs because this group definitely lack width. Honduras will be doing everything to take Dempsey away so offense will have to come from somewhere else. Perhaps Gomez or Altidore? I expect a lot of long shots because the US will be avoiding a potential counter. This is where Honduras excels. If the US gets caught in transition they will be in serious trouble. Having said that with injuries hitting Honduras suddenly the chances of a positive result definitely increased for the Star and Stripes. Andy Najar was just announced today out of the qualifer due to injury. Meaning the U.S. won't deal with him until this summer in the return game.
I personally see a low scoring game. I think both teams will be hesitant to take lots of chances in the 1st game, at least early on in the game. Premium chances will be at a minimum. If you get a chance you got to take advantage. This game will be won by a goal in my opinion (Like 2-1 or 1-0). I could see a draw as a strong possibility however.
US wins if:
- Good Possession- Not just possessing but finding creative ways of attacking. Rattle Honduras with a early attack (A early goal would rattle the team and take the crowd partially out of the game) . Keep in mind Honduran fans demand goals. If Honduras doesn't score they will turn on their team even in a tied game. 0-0 in the 70th min actually favors the U.S.
- Avoid costly turnovers- I can't emphasize this enough. Honduras generates their attack from this. Especially near the middle field.
Stepping up- The young players will need to make plays in this game. The vets like Dempsey need to be leaders but the U.S. needs to know it's youth can handle these games. Players like Omar and Chandler need to make plays.
Honduras wins if-
- Turnover the U.S. at mid field and early third. U.S. might get away with this a few times but you give them multiple chances you will pay dearly. It only takes one.
- Feed off the Honduran fans. Honduras is not as great they once were but they are still good and this game is being played in the hot Honduran afternoon with 45,000 people in blue and white at your throat. If Honduras can get a early score the Honduran fans will be all over the U.S. team. If U.S. shuts Honduras down for 50+ mins the crowd will start to turn out of frustration.
- Test the U.S. back line. The backline of the US is a giant question mark. The beginning of the Guatemala game was proof of that. Put some balls over the U.S. and see if the backline can handle it. The questions about the backline of the U.S. is probably why Jurgen is putting a lot of focus on defense with this roster.
Let us all remember Jurgen's comments heading into the qualifiers. He said he expects 9 points. That is a major demand when you consider U.S. plays at Honduras, Costa Rica, and at Mexico. Talk about laying down the challenge. Nice to see a U.S. coach demand the most of his team though. Don't just hope for a result. Believe you can get it. That separates the good coaches from the average ones.
What- USMNT vs Honduras- Hex Round of 2014 World Cup qualification
When- Wednesday 4pm EST
Watch- Channel- BEIN Sport (requires package) or online stream
Where- San Pedro Sula (Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano)
HONDURAS QUALIFIER – FEB. 6, 2013
|Altidore, Jozy||F||6-1||11/06/89||AZ Alkmaar|
|Besler, Matt||D||6-0||02/11/87||Sporting Kansas City|
|Bocanegra, Carlos||D||6-0||05/25/79||Racing Santander|
|Cameron, Geoff||D||6-3||07/11/85||Stoke City|
|Castillo, Edgar||D||5-7||10/08/86||Club Tijuana|
|Davis, Brad||M||5-11||11/08/81||Houston Dynamo|
|Dempsey, Clint||M||6-1||03/09/83||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Evans, Brad||M||6-1||04/20/85||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Gomez, Herculez||F||5-10||04/06/82||Santos Laguna|
|Gonzalez, Omar||D||6-5||10/11/88||LA Galaxy|
|Guzan, Brad||GK||6-4||09/09/84||Aston Villa|
|Johnson, Eddie||F||6-0||03/31/84||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Johnson, Sean||GK||6-3||05/31/89||Chicago Fire|
|Jones, Jermaine||M||6-0||11/03/81||Schalke 04|
|Zusi, Graham||M||5-10||08/18/86||Sporting Kansas City|