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Early red card dooms USA in opening loss to Honduras

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Playing its first match of the new year, the U.S. men's national team fell to Honduras 3-1 before a heavily Honduran crowd at the Home Depot Center. The inability to crack the Catracho defense plagued the Americans all night, but it was one moment in particular that nearly brought down the U.S.

In a battle of two B teams of World Cup-bound nations, the U.S. team found itself down early when captain Jimmy Conrad was dismissed following a second yellow card for an apparent shirt tug of Honduran forward Jerry Palacios in the box, leading to a Carlos Pavon penalty kick goal. Following the match, Conrad remained defiant.

"I'm not going to speak about the referees, I choose to use my fifth amendment rights tonight," said Conrad. "It's unfortunate that we had to go a man down after only 17 minutes."

Playing a man down and a goal down, the United States was forced to chase the game, but was unable to crack the Honduran defense. With Conrad out, the U.S. team immediately was forced to play winger Robbie Rogers in a left back where he was able to support the defense, but to the detriment of the American attack. This proved fatal as Honduras was able to capitalize and put the game out of reach with an additional two goals.

Although the side found itself down 3-0 at the 53rd minute, the squad avoided capitulation after a Clarence Goodson header that put the score 3-1, where it would end. After the match, the players remained cautiously optimistic about what this game means to the Americans year in 2010.

"It was tough to go down a man so early, but we kept pushing on," said midfielder Kyle Beckerman. "It wasn't the result that we want, but we just need to learn to get better for the next match."

With the United States on the ropes and the midfield unable to distribute the ball evenly, the United States found little way to impose itself during the match. Honduras remained expert at countering and intercepting the US attack and expertly sending it back in the direction of the Americans. Following the match, Head Coach Bradley believed that the the squad's ability to connect on the field led to serious problems against the Hondurans.

"One comment for sure tonight, was that our passing was poor," said head coach Bob Bradley. "A lot of passes were deflected or were mishandled, ending up on guys chest when they should have ended up on their feet, overall just the type of passing that was not good at all. "

The U.S. will now break camp until February 10th when preparations will begin for the match against El Salvador.


  1. 3rd string??? Klijestan, Borenstein, Feilhaber and Casey are all Dad’s boys, all will be going to the WC in a fortnight. I have a feeling that El Sal will give us a tough match too in Feb, seeing how they played us off the park in the last qualifier (offside goal for US to level, then multiple minutes of e.t. at the end of first half while El Sal were reeling enabling Jozyboy)

    Moreover, you know that the midfield against England (Ing-a-len, Ing-a-len) will be Lil Mikey and Benny the Bench (Feilhaber), exactly the same as it was on Dad’s first competitive match at the Gold Cup 4 years ago. So, while Dad pretends to look at players, it’s all an act.

  2. ‘…… apparant shirt tug’. He collared the player around the neck. Making it sound as if it were a questionable foul is ridiculous only because it was so obvious. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but we need to be a bit more honest when something occurs that is cut and dry…………

  3. If you pull an attacker down to the ground in the penalty area by grabbing his shirt that will get you a card every single time.

    Especially in the World Cup where refs keep an eye out for this specific foul.

    And especially if you are an American.

    How many times does this have to happen before American players realize they have to be three times as good as everyone else?

    I love Conrad and he is normally a good center back bu in this instance he was a farging idiot and a World Cup vet like him has absolutely no excuse for not knowing better. He singlehandly ruined the entire game and made a mockery of all the effort everyone made in their three weeks (or however long it was) of camp. If the US weren’t so iffy at the CB position I’d ban him from the US team for a year.

  4. Part of the problem with our youth and not developing a soccer mind is that they do not watch the game. I am a high school coach and I would say the majority of players still do not watch soccer on even a monthly basis. There is still not enough exposure on mainstream TV. It is getting better, but still we need more exposure. Kids need that to experience to develop the soccer mind. Think of it this way; how many games of football do you think a 10 year old in England (or any other country in the world) has seen? How about that same 10 year old in the U.S.? We lack the culture to cultivate it. Look at Donovan, He has been in soccer his whole life and England still blew him away. We need to keep working to educate and develop a soccer culture in this country as we improve.

    It is essential to developing the soccer minds of our youth.

  5. I agree! And Findley wasn’t much better. If I were a coach (and I am a high school coach) the effort they showed would put them far down on my list to even clean up after the game. How hard is it to at least give 150%?

    The effort we need to see out of these guys is like the effort we saw ou tof Dempsey in 2006 in these types of games.

    Right now our work ethic is not there.

  6. I was also at the game, surrounded by Honduran fans since the supporter’s section was sold out. Just thought i’d add my two cents:

    Feilhaber and Bornstein were the life of the team, the only ones doing well throughout the game.

    Sacha was invisible during the first half, but picked it up and gave a decent performance during the second half before he got plucked.

    Rogers was horrible. Could not get a cross in to save his life. Same goes for Wynne, who was caught out of position and kept losing the ball.

    Findley really looks like he wants a spot on the roster, but i was disappointed to see nothing from cunningham. To be fair though, neither was getting much service throughout the first half.

    Surprise for me came from Dax McCarty. The kid looked really composed on the ball, and made some decent passes. His turnovers heading past the 85th show us that he may not be ready for SA–but to see how calm he was on the ball made me really excited for 2014 and 18. Which leads me to my final thoughts…

    I read a post (I think from Gary?) about the development of our youth pool. I agreed 100% about the lack of a “soccer brain” exhibited by our pool. If we could develop that knowledge of the game in our youth, and composure on the ball, I think we would have a far better team. It is for that reason that I get happy when JFT hits the field. If we could get an XI that knew how to move with and without the ball, combine that with the athletic ability that our players have–and we could very well be contenders.

  7. Ives,

    No offense to ESPN’s Soccer coverage, but the FSC presentation is much better the ESPN’s.

    Othenr then that, I thought Bornstein solidified a Roster spot in SA.

    I think everyone was a bit tough on both Rogers and Kljestens performances

  8. The Pachuca and Tigres games were on Telemundo just before the US game. I watched to see Torres and some of Castillo (the US game came before the second half of his game).

    I’ve only seen a handful of Mexican league games. Torres is very comfortable on the ball. However, he usually unmarked when he gets the ball and his passes are mostly to players who are similarly unmarked. You don’t usually see this in European or World Cup games where defense is usually much tighter. I didn’t get to see much of Castilo marking people. Tigres usually were being attacked on the other flank and most of what I saw Castillo do were attacking runs up his side of the field. It’s not surprising Bradley used him as an attacking LM in Denmark. I like Torres and Castillo a lot but I’m not sure how they would do over the long haul where the defending is tighter and the play more physical than in the Mexican league.

  9. John1 I was at the game, and even before the US went down a man we did not look good. Also many teams that go down a man actually are able to garner the energy to play very effectively. There was something mentally not right. Which I think has been common issue under Bradley. That is why during qualifying the US team continually went down a goal early. Our guys were not pressuring the other team at all. It was a totally conservative game plan. Just postion yourself infront of the other team, but allow them time on the ball. Lastly the US team has gone a man down quite a few times under Bradley, is that just a coincidence?

  10. I think you have a good argument, but I think it should also be noted that soccer is still viewed as a kiddie game and then kids move on to more “competitive” sports with a higher visibility ie, the other sports in the US.


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