Photo by ISIphotos.com
We are a day away from the U.S. national team's Gold Cup semifinal against Honduras and if you're feeling a bit concerned about the U.S. team being able to beat Honduras for a third time this summer, you have reason for concern.
The Hondurans are coming in off a confidence-building victory against a very tough Canada side, and while the referee helped the Hondurans in the quarterfinals, the Catrachos still did their part to win that game.
Meanwhile, the United States is faced with a roster that seems to lose players every game, either to Europe or, in the case of Jimmy Conrad, to injury. Bob Bradley has stuck with his initial group and has been rewarded with some impressive comebacks and individual performances.
Will the Americans have enough to beat Honduras for a second time this tournament?
It will be up to players like Stuart Holden, Brian Ching, Davy Arnaud and Chad Marshall to step up and pick up the slack for the departures of players such as Charlie Davies, Benny Feilhaber and Steve Cherundolo.
Will Bradley turn to Clarence Goodson to replace Jimmy Conrad (who I don't believe has been ruled out yet but who I can't see playing after that nasty concussion vs. Panama). Michael Parkhurst seems like the more likely replacement in the lineup because you would think Bradley wouldn't call in Parkhurst just to have him on the bench.
Whoever plays will have his hands full against a Honduran attack that had some chances in the first meeting between these teams, and it must be said that shutting down Carlos Costly for two matches is asking a lot. If Chad Marshall can pull that off then he will continue to climb up the centerback depth chart (where I currently rate him just behind Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra and Jay DeMerit).
One player to watch for Honduras is Kansas City Wizards midfielder Roger Espinoza, who has quietly enjoyed a stellar tournament. His growth as a player in the past two years, and performance in the Gold Cup, is just as much a testament to Major League Soccer's ability to develop talent as are the tournaments of players like Holden and Beckerman.
For those of you who didn't see it, here is my preview of the match for ESPN.com.
What do you think of tomorrow night's match? Are you worried about Honduras, or have you grown confident in this young group of Americans? Who do you see stepping up this time? Who are you hoping to see in the Gold Cup final?
Share your thoughts below.