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USA vs. Honduras: A Look Ahead

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The U.S. men's national team has played Honduras three times this year, but none of the previous meetings will be as tough for the Americans as the fourth meeting, this Saturday in San Pedro Sula.

It won't just be the toughest because it is in Honduras, but because Honduras will be featuring a strong side than any the Americans have faced this year.

Yes, the 'Catrachos' will be without starters Amado Guevara and Danilo Turcios, but won't miss a step because of depth at both positions. In fact, even without those two starters, Honduras head coach Reinaldo Rueda still has plenty of options and tough decisions to make about his lineup.

For the Americans, Bob Bradley has two decisions that will dominate his lineup selection, at right midfield and right wing.

Here is a closer look at Saturday's match-up:

For the USA, Bradley must decide whether to use Stuart Holden at right wing, or go with Benny Feilhaber or Jose Francisco Torres as options to replace injured starter Clint Dempsey. Holden is the favorite to be the choice.

At right back, Bradley has Steve Cherundolo and Jonathan Spector to pick from. Cherundolo has been playing well for Hannover 96 while Spector hasn't been playing regularly for West Ham, which means Cherundolo should get the nod. Whether Spector will get consideration at left back, where Jonathan Bornstein is expected to start, remains to be seen.

Those might not be the only potential moves Bradley could make for Saturday's match. Jozy Altidore's lack of playing time at Hull makes his status as a starter less of a lock. With a wing tandem of Landon Donovan and Stuart Holden, Bob Bradley could be tempted to go with veteran Brian Ching as Charlie Davies' strike partner. Ching has a good understanding with both Donovan and Holden, but Altidore is clearly the more dangerous forward of the two and should get the nod.

For Honduras, the lineup decisions revolve around the forward line and the midfield.

In midfield, Rueda has two options to replace Guevara. He could start the central midfield tandem of Wilson Palacios and Hendry Thomas, which would likely mean that speedy winger Edgard Alvarez starts on the right. Rueda could also go with a more offensive-minded midfield by starting Ramon Nunez in front of Thomas, with Palacios starting on the right. look for the more offensive-minded lineup to get the nod at home.

Rueda has a decision to make at forward as well, where three quality strikers vie for two spots. David Suazo is reportedly healthy and should start if he is. That leaves Rueda to decide between veteran Carlos Pavon and the more dynamic Carlos Costly. While Costly may be more talented, Pavon has been a revelation in this qualifying cycle and been the more reliable goal-scorer.

Here are the lineups we expect to see on Saturday:














Charlie Davies vs. Maynor Figueroa. Davies speed causes trouble for most central defenders, but Figueroa has the quickness to keep up, certainly moreso than the bigger but slower Osman Chavez, who should pair up with Altidore or Ching.

Stuart Holden vs. Julio Leon. If Holden gets the nod, part of the reason will be because of his ability to be a solid two-way winger, something that will be needed to combat the dynamic ability of Leon, who will be a key creator for Honduras. Defending isn't Holden's only task, in fact, his ability to get forward and be a threat with great crosses and runs will force Leon to defend some.

Landon Donovan vs. Wilson Palacios. If Rueda deploys Palacios on the right wing, part of the reason will be in order to try and neutralize Donovan. With Sabillon posing a threat on the counterattack, Donovan will also need to help Bornstein (or Spector) defensively as well. This match-up alone is worth the price of admission and Donovan will need to win this match-up if the Americans are going to pull off the road win.

Carlos Bocanegra vs. David Suazo. Whether it is Bocanegra or Onyewu, someone will need to stay close to the fast and strong Inter Milan striker. Suazo has battled injuries and isn't on top form, but is still Honduras' most dangerous forward, and could have a big day if the U.S. midfield loses the battle in the middle.

Ricardo Clark vs. Ramon Nunez. MLS fans might be surprised to see Nunez be such a key for Honduras, but the former FC Dallas midfielder has enjoyed a career renaissance since leaving MLS and now plies his trade at Mexican club Cruz Azul. Nunez is a truly dangerous playmaker who can pick a defense apart with his passing or darting runs. Clark is no stranger to Nunez and must do his best to shackle the Honduran playmaker. If Rueda goes with a Palacios-Thomas central midfield tandem, Clark will have an equally tough challenge in Palacios.


The Americans will need to shut down playmakers Leon and Nunez to keep Honduras strikers from getting going early, while Donovan and Holden must be able to push the Honduran defense and create their own chances for Davies and Altidore (or Ching). If Leon and Nunez are neutralized, Honduras could feel the heat of needing a result,which could open the door for the Americans to find success on the counterattack in the second half. The first 20-25 minutes will be crucial because Honduras is almost certain to come out strong. If the Americans can hold firm, it can slowly take control of the match and take the San Pedro Sula crowd out of the match. If Honduras finds success early, the U.S. team could be in for a long day.


What do you think of the USA-Honduras match? What do you see being the keys to the game? Do you see the Americans clinching there World Cup berth?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Why would you suggest rogers starting over Holden? Thats fine but thats also saying rogers over Torres and Benny, which is insane.

    Thats like saying you would like to see Ching start over Davies or something, probably not a good example but still.


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