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USA edges Honduras for first win of Klinsmann era

Clint Dempsey 1 (AP Photo)


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The U.S. men's national team is full of new faces now a days, but Jurgen Klinsmann can thank the familiar ones for his first victory as U.S. head coach.

The Americans won their first game in the Klinsmann era by beating Honduras 1-0 in front of 21,170 fans on a rainy and windy Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium. 

Clint Dempsey scored the lone goal in the first half with a left-footed effort, and Tim Howard came up with a plethora of quality saves to give the United States its first victory since defeating Panama in the Gold Cup semifinals.

"Important was that we got the three points because obviously this team is hungry for success," said Klinsmann. "They want to do well and get the results done right."

Playing in a 4-1-3-2 formation, the Americans began the game by passing sloppily and giving up a number of chances to a Honduras attack that was orchestrated by Roger Espinoza.

The visitors took advantage of the U.S. team's slow start and nearly jumped out in front in the 19th minute when Jerry Bengston got behind Michael Orozco Fiscal and brought down a pass over the top. Howard came to the rescue for the Americans though, as he blocked the ensuing shot.

Getting help from fullback Timmy Chandler and Brek Shea's runs down the left flank, the United States eventually settled and started to dictate the tempo in a game that saw eight yellow cards handed out.

"It took us a little bit to get into a higher pace," said Klinsmann. "The first 20 minutes was a bit too static movement wise, but also because Honduras did a good job there, kind of pushing high up. Then after 20, 25 minutes, we took over and we created a lot more chances."

The United States broke the deadlock in the 36th minute. Following a corner kick that was played short by Steve Cherundolo, Shea whipped in a low cross from the right flank. Orozco Fiscal redirected the path of the ball to Dempsey, who finished with his left foot to score his 23rd goal wit the U.S. team.

"I didn't know if it was going to come through. I got a little bit lucky," said Dempsey. "I tried to take it with my right foot, saw that it was going to get blocked so I pulled it back to just try and place it with my left foot. I couldn't have hit it any better."

Honduras almost equalized a minute later when Orozco Fiscal was beaten by a ball played over the top, but the visitors' poor finishing continued as Costly shot wide.

The Americans' defensive effort improved in the second half following the insertion of Oguchi Onyewu, who replaced the injured Orozco Fiscal. Onyewu, who had not played since a pre-Gold Cup match against Spain, helped tighten things up in the back with his physical style of play and aerial presence.

That sturdy defending helped the Americans keep the ball for longer periods, which ultimately resulted in more chances.

At the center of those chances was Dempsey. Four minutes after the intermission, Dempsey made a dummy run that allowed the ball to find a wide open Danny Williams, who played and started in his first game for the United States. Williams' shot was gobbled up by Donis Escobar, who made five saves on the night.

Dempsey looked to have put the game away in the 84th minute when he rose up to meet a Jonathan Spector cross and headed past Escobar. Jamaican referee Courtney Campbell waved it off, though.

"I don't know what the call was on that," said Dempsey. "I rose up to the ball before the other player did, and I thought it was a clean goal. But I guess you kind of get used to a little bit of those decisions dealing with some of the refs in CONCACAF."

Dempsey's disallowed goal wasn't the only opportunity the Americans had to double their lead. In the second half alone, Shea, Onyewu and substitute DaMarcus Beasley all wasted good looks on goal.

Honduras also had clear opportunities to equalize that it missed, including a shot from 15 yards out by Costly that went wide left.

"Over the course of 90 minutes, it's always going to happen when you have some lapses or bad giveaways," said Jozy Altidore, who played in front of around 300 family members and friends. "Throughout the game, we picked it up and we did enough for the win."

The United States next faces Ecuador at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Tuesday, Oct. 11.


What do you think of the United States' win over Honduras? Who impressed/disappointed you? Did you like the way the U.S. team played?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I hope Shea does NOT go over the pond yet. I think he needs another year or 2 in MLS to build up his experience and strength.

    Holden vs Altidore are the perfect contrast on moving to Europe too early. Altidore while very talented went before he was able to hold down a starting job. Holden played several years at Dallas to really cement his playing skills and maturity to where he had all the tools to start.

    Because of the competition, being a starter in Europe is very tough. There is fierce competition at every position and while a player may be talented with lots of potential its very much what have you done for me lately situation.

    Consequently, Altidore needs time and games. He is not going to get them at that level and so stalls in his development. Holden in contrast moves on to a level that he can control a starting position and off he goes.

    We need for Shea to be more of a Holden not Altidore…….

  2. I agree. Holden, if he recovers and there is no reason why he shouldn’t, will be a starter either in CM or on the right.

    I am curious as to how good this Fabian Johnson is if he is rated so much better than Williams.

  3. I agree. Bradley is an excellent player who is growing by leaps and bounds.

    I just don’t get some of the criticism of Bradley. Playing in Italy will only take him to the next level.

  4. I agree with your relative ratings but they are all about 1 or 2 high for everyone.

    Remember, this is a Honduran A/B team we are playing not Spain, Brazil or even a 2nd level Euro team like Belgium.

  5. No way. The defense markedly improved in the second half once Gooch came in. Orozco has been a complete mess in his games with the Nats.

    At this point I have to wonder why Omar Gonzalez from LA is not given a shot, who I see as a superior player to Orozco, and a massive upside.

  6. I don’t know; I think wing and no. 10 are WAY too different. Plus, Timmy is one of our best out wide somewhere; so he should stay there for that and not necessarily because he wouldn’t be good in the center.

    20 minutes of bad passing is acceptable in a friendly while you’re still getting comfy with the other 10 guys playing around you and it’s your third (Deuce missed a game, no?) game under a new skipper.

    I know Deuce is more used to getting service than giving it because of his general role at Fulham, but I really see him as more than adequate to be our creator. He plays at the highest level, knows the game, has a serious engine, has the flair and unpredictability that a no. 10 NEEDS, and he is very, very composed on the ball. Great touch too.

    I think he could really settle in there. Deuce is the type of guy you want to build around IMO. At least, out of any player that could suit up for the nats, he is the most deserving of that kind of consideration.

  7. That is a point, Klinsmann has never been in charge long enough to see a team personnel change over time. He made some big changes for Germany, but then did not tinker much with that group. At Bayern, he was not there long enough to see any changes.

    So far his choices have been more conservative than Bradley’s in terms of bring new players into the pool. I think that Bradley was more likely than Klinsmann to decide upon a player based up performance in training while Klinsmann seems to want to see players in multiple full games. If that is right, it will take Klinsmann a long time to wade through a whole bunch of new additions.

  8. We should have such problems at every position. In the midfield, Klinsmann may have the joy of choosing players who reflect the style he wants to see. In the back and at forward, not so much to choose from.

    Bradley, Adu, Beckerman, Feilhabe, Torresr are all good but are all very different players. You can, of course say the same thing about Holden, Edu, and Jones.

    Ultimately it will not be the absolute quality of the player so much, but how the coach sees that particular skill and mind set of the players fitting into the style he wants to see the team play.

  9. Could not disagree more. He won balls, connected on all of his passes, lost the ball only once and that was just after he had won it, so it was still in a50-50 situation. He attacked, playing some give and goes and it was not his fault when the return pass failed to reach him. Still on that play, he tracked back to defend instead of moaning like so many players do when they don’t get a perfect pass.
    I do wish he would have taken a long range shot when he had the opportunity, but passing the ball wide was not a bad choice.

  10. I like many of the things Klinsmann is doing. The change in style and new additions are impressive. Yet, I need to see who he subtracts and how long it takes. His recent comments to Jorge Ramos about keeping the entire group make me worry.

  11. Benny has had plenty of time to make his mark.

    To show he still has soemthing to offer he needs to do really well with the Revs. But right now, he is pretty far down the depth chart.

    Adu needs to get back in form which is nothing new for him. He would certainly be welcome but I wouldn’t lose any sleep if he doesn’t coms back.

    Holden and Lichaj have serious injuries. Besides, Lichaj will have a fight on his hands to be anything other than a squad player for the US. And Holden is exceedingly popular and a style icon, but has never proven he can be a regular starter for the US. Great for Bolton, average for the US.

    It’s a good thing that the US may not need to rely on this inconsistent bunch.

  12. not surprised. remember the Gold Cup 2009? he looked gassed to me last night in the 2nd half, but he plays hard, smart, good movement, good feet. he’s kind of slow but hyper dedicated

    the guy is good

  13. the midfield gets some blame here, yes? Gooch is a presence out there, and after being out for sooo long, he responded pretty well.

  14. what did you think of Chandler and Shea plsying together…pretty good stuff

    I believe Chandler gets his shots at RB tho, too. Looks to me like another versatile, skilled player who contributes when called upon whatever is asked

  15. +1 1/2

    Lack of overall depth and experience @ CBack keeps Boca in the loop. We saw that first hand when Gooch went down. His injury literally put us back 6-8 months of growth. As a result — we’ve had to make do.

    I would have breathed much easier if Oroz had a good or even a decent couple of games. He did and has not since his call up. I do believe that part yesterdays challenge was do to a VERY sluggish Boca. But only a small part. Oroz thus far has not been up to par. Not even close. That being said, I DO NOT believe that Oroz is the new B’stein. No one can be the new B’stein. (he’s ultra special)

    Does Oroz have a future? No idea…but I’m not willing to toss him. Not yet at least.

    MOST EMPHATICALLY — I hope we all know that there very well could be a “long road to reconstruction” or even ‘construction’ ahead. AND — it may get even uglier before it gets better.

  16. Where do you get bradley was poor in passing? He was 22/22 according to the chalkboards and the variety of distribution was impressive.

    However with the addition of Williams, Edu and Beckerman playing well, I would not say Bradley has don anything to deserve minutes over those three. We’ll have to see where Klinsman prefers Johnson. Also, when Torres and Holden return there is going to be a lot of competition in the midfield.

  17. Should have been 4-1. I imagine in better weather Honduras would have put one in. The 19th minute close call doesn’t count because it was blatantly offside. Watch Howard’s reaction after he makes the save.

  18. +1

    From the looks of it, Cameron has the skills to succeed at the international level…pace, height, strength, above average ball skills, ability to distribute, ability to transition into offense. There’s no guarantee, but he’s definitely worth a look.

  19. Brek Shea is a lot of fun to watch. He needs to improve defensively, but he really is the next big offensive threat for the US. His game reminds me very much of Dempsey’s and you can tell Shea-Dempsey are starting to combine well. With Dempsey, Shea, Donovan and Altidore up top we are finally looking threatening again. Depth after that is lacking, however.

    The rest of the team did not impress. I’m glad we have depth at d-mid, but I don’t think it’s quality depth. And our back line did not have a good game at all. There are some big time communication and speed issues. We need to get that sorted ASAP. I think we’re going to need some younger legs back there for the next cycle (as much as I love Boca, Gooch, Cherundolo, etc.). For all those saying “it should have been 3-0”, you aren’t looking at this game objectively (that includes you Klinsi). It could have also been 3-1 Honduras. That said, take this game for what it is – an experiment.

  20. To be fair, Beckerman has had 2 other solid performances under Klinsmann. The most recent was not up to par, but that’s hardly grounds for eliminating him from the team.

  21. I’m not unsold on Castillo yet either. Castillo is so durn quick you want to give him a real shot to settle down – he hasn’t looked settled yet – and see what he looks like if he can get in a comfort zone. It’s not like we’re exactly loaded with left backs at the moment and I’d like to give Castillo a full shot before we write him completely off.

  22. That was probably more a function of the score, than the personnel. Honduras had to press at that point of the game.

  23. One good from last night, more people showed up in the rain than people who show up for a Florida Marlins game. Although doesn’t come close to the Barcelona-C.D. Guadalajara game

  24. I was at the game in person and wow the game was fun even though it was raining and my clothes were soaked. I did not think that Edu and Fiscal were very good. Beckerman was getting tired in the game and he was not passing as good as he was in the beginning. Howard saved us a lot and the ref was not very good. I am just wondering why is Edu passing good for Rangers, but when he is with the nats it is not that good.

  25. I don’t know. I was there last night in the rain and I thought Orozco was acceptable. He was all over the place covering for other back line partners and was strong against the larger forward who was trying to hold up play a couple times. He did seem to keep a Honduran player onside on a questionable call, but did show some speed getting back and sliding to cut off part of the goal and give the forward a difficult shot. Over all I don’t think he’s stellar (but none of our CBs are world stoppers) but I think it’s unfair to say he’s terrible.

  26. line up for the next game still a 4-1-3-2

    dolo gooch boca chandler for the back line
    i think edu is given the start for the lone cdm since beckerman went the full 90 last game, williams was good on the wing but i think klinsmann will stick him in the middle this game with shea and DMB on the wingers, dmb gets the start due to a good performance when he came in, dempsey and altidore up top, i could actually see bunbury maybe starting in jozy’s role just to see what he has, and thats not shot at jozy cause i thought this might of been one of his best games i’ve see him play and thats with him not even scoring, if bunbury doesnt start expect agudelo to come in as a sub for jozy

    dolo gooch boca chandler
    dmb williams shea
    dempsey jozy


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