U.S. loses to Honduras in World Cup qualifier
TribLIVE Sports Videos
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Jerry Bengston took advantage of a defensive mix-up to score the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, and Honduras rallied to beat the United States, 2-1, on Wednesday in the opener of the final qualifying round for next year's World Cup.
Clint Dempsey put the U.S. ahead in the 36th minute, but the Americans, using a new-look defense that featured Omar Gonzalez and Timmy Chandler, gave up the lead when Juan Carlos Garcia tied the score with a bicycle kick in the 40th minute.
Bengston, who plays for Major League Soccer's New England Revolution, scored the winner when defender Geoff Cameron and goalkeeper Tim Howard both went for a pass by Maynor Figueroa to Oscar Boniek Garcia. That allowed Garcia to tap the ball across to Bengston for a shot into an open net, and Gonzalez was too late to challenge him.
“Overall, there were too many mistakes done and too many players today just didn't reach their usual potential,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “They stayed behind their own game and therefore, it's really difficult coming away with a win here if you're not having everybody 100 percent at their limits.”
Playing without Landon Donovan, a veteran of three World Cups who is unsure whether to continue his career, the 28th-ranked U.S. was under pressure for much of the match. No. 59 Honduras had the better chances, forcing Howard into several difficult saves.
Gonzalez had a chance to redeem himself, getting his head on a corner kick by Graham Zusi in the final seconds of stoppage time. But his shot from the 6-yard box sailed well above the crossbar.
The U.S., which had been 12-3-3 against Honduras, lost its final-round opener for the first time in five games since the “hexagonal” format was adopted in qualifying for the 1998 tournament. The Americans are seeking their seventh straight tip to soccer's showcase.
Klinsmann used his three substitutes in the early part of the second half, inserting Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan and Zusi for Danny Williams, Eddie Johnson and Jermaine Jones.
“We had problems closing down the passing lanes, also on the outsides throughout the whole first half and also in the second half,” Klinsmann said.
“I think with Maurice Edu, things kind of calmed down a bit. He cleaned more up. He played simple balls. We kept more possession. That's what we were asking for.”
The general rule in qualifying is to win home games and pick up points on the road. The top three nations in the six-team group represent North and Central America and the Caribbean at next year's tournament in Brazil, and the No. 4 country advances to a playoff for another berth, likely against New Zealand.
Qualifying resumes next month when the U.S. hosts Costa Rica on March 22 at Commerce City, Colo.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Predators winger Neal caught ‘blindsided’ by trade from Penguins
- 2 dead, including student gunman, after Wash. school shooting
- Ferrante trial: Cyanide order form in plain sight
- Howard Hanna family donates $1M for business student scholarships at University of Pittsburgh
- First Niagara sets aside $45 million
- Arrest made in connection with Rostraver home invasion
- Rossi: Middling Steelers must make a statement
- Monsour hospital properties sold at free-and-clear sale
- Steelers’ Adams delivers in pinch against Texans
- Steelers free safety Mitchell is still settling into role on defense
- Counterfeit credit card ring falls for failure to remember birth date on fake ID