SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (Feb. 6, 2013) - The U.S. Men's National Team garnered a first-half lead, but Honduras rallied for a 2-1 victory in Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in the teams' opener of the Final Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
Clint Dempsey scored the USA's goal, only to see Honduras get goals from Juan Garcia and Jerry Bengtson to take all three points.
On the winning Honduras tally, the ball was played to the edge of the box with Honduras midfielder Oscar Garcia, U.S. defender Geoff Cameron and goalkeeper Tim Howard all having an opportunity to get to the ball. Cameron noticeably held back on his run and Garcia took advantage, passing the ball to Bengtson who lost U.S. center back Omar Gonzalez and slotted the ball into the net for the victory.
Next up for the U.S., which is celebrating its Centennial throughout the 2013 campaign, is a home World Cup qualifier on March 22 against Costa Rica at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. The game kicks off at 8 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN and Univision networks. Fans can also follow the game online via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
The USA and Honduras played the day's early match among the final six CONCACAF teams looking to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Panama hosts Costa Rica and Mexico hosts Jamaica in their Final Round openers Wednesday night.
After a sluggish start for both teams through much of the first half, the U.S. got on the score sheet first in the 36th minute when Jermaine Jones lofted the ball over the Honduras defense to Dempsey in the box. Dempsey struck the ball solidly with his right foot, driving his volley past Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares for the 1-0 lead.
Dempsey's goal was the 31st of his career, his 11th in World Cup qualifying matches and the sixth goal in this current World Cup qualifying cycle to lead the USA. He moves into sole possession of second place in qualifying goals ahead of Eddie Johnson and Brian McBride. Dempsey also moved into sole possession of third all-time in career goals ahead of McBride (30 career goals).
The U.S. lead only lasted a few minutes as Garcia equalized with a highlight-reel bicycle kick in the 40th minute. The sequence began with a corner kick from the left side that went over everyone in the box, but Victor Bernardez tracked down the ball in the right corner and swung the ball back in to Maynor Figueroa who chested the pass to Garcia. With his back to the goal, Garcia without hesitation uncorked an overhead kick and the shot was no match for Howard.
In the 56th minute, Honduras appeared to take the lead when Carlo Costly hit a shot that went into the left side of the net, but referee Walter Quesada acknowledged his linesman's offside flag.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made his three substitutions early in the second half. Maurice Edu was brought in for Williams in the 58th minute, Sacha Kljestan replaced Johnson in the 59th minute and Graham Zusi was brought in for Jones in the 67th minute.
Bengtson would score the winner 12 minutes later and Honduras took the early lead in the Hexagonal.
- With his start in Wednesday's game, German-born defender Timmy Chandler officially became cap-tied to the United States as he started at right back, paired with Cameron and Gonzalez and left back Fabian Johnson. Chandler and Gonzalez made their World Cup qualifying debuts.
- U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard had three saves in the match, including a clutch punch on Mario Martinez's left-footed shot in the 33rd minute to keep the match scoreless at the time.
- The USA saw its unbeaten streak (3-0-2) dating back to last year come to a close and moved to 12-4-3 all-time against Honduras in a series that dates back to 1965.
- The U.S. is now 3-2-1 in games played in Honduras and 3-1-0 in San Pedro Sula.
- Since 2002, the U.S. is 9-1-1 against Honduras.
- In World Cup qualifying matches, the U.S. is now 4-2-1 all-time against Honduras.
- In the past five openers of the Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying, the U.S. is now 3-1-1.
- The U.S. has qualified for six straight FIFA World Cup tournaments, which is the seventh-best active streak behind Brazil (19), Germany (15), Italy (13), Argentina (10), Spain (9) and Republic of Korea (7), and ahead of eighth-place CONCACAF rival Mexico (5).
- Five USA players are currently carrying yellow cards in World Cup qualifying: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi. Their next caution will result in a one-match suspension.
- Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is now 11-7-5 at the helm of the U.S. MNT. Klinsmann's first win was the USA's 1-0 victory on Oct. 8, 2011, against Honduras at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
-- U.S. Men's National Team Game Report --Match: USA vs. Honduras
Date: Feb. 6, 2013
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifier - Final Round
Venue: Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano
Kickoff: 3 p.m. CT
Weather: 84 degrees, humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F HON 1 1 2
USA 1 0 1
USA - Clint Dempsey (Jermaine Jones) 36th minute
HON - Juan Carlos Garcia (Maynor Figueroa) 40
HON - Jerry Bengtson (Oscar Garcia) 79
USA : 1-Tim Howard (capt.); 2-Timmy Chandler, 5-Omar Gonzalez, 20-Geoff Cameron, 23-Fabian Johnson; 14-Danny Williams (7-Maurice Edu 58), 13-Jermaine Jones (19-Graham Zusi 67), 4-Michael Bradley, 18-Eddie Johnson (16-Sacha Kljestan 59); 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 6-Michael Parkhurst, 9-Herculez Gomez, 10-Jose Torres, 11-Brad Davis, 12-Brad Guzan, 15-Edgar Castillo, 21-Brad Evans, 22-Sean Johnson Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
HON : 18-Noel Valladares , 5-Víctor Bernárdez, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 6-Juan Carlos García, 8-Arnold Peralta, 15-Roger Espinoza, 14-Oscar Boniek García, 19-Luis Garrido, 10-Mario Martínez, 11-Jerry Bengtson (20-Jorge Claros 84), 13-Carlo Costly(9-Georgie Welcome 90+)
Subs not used: 22-Donis Escobar, 1-José Mendoza, 17-Brayan Beckeles, 2-Osman Chávez, 4-Juan Pablo Montes, 12-Orlin Peralta, 16-Alex López, 23-Aldo Oviedo, 7-Christian Altamirano, 21-Roger Rojas Head coach: Luis Suarez
Stats Summary: HON / USA Shots: 12 / 11
Shots on Goal: 5 / 2
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 7
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 5 / 0
Officials: Referee: Walter Quesada (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Leonel Leal (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Octavio Jara (CRC)
Fourth Official: Jeffrey Solis (CRC)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey