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USMNT takes on Honduras looking for the first victory of the Klinsmann era

ClintDempseyRed (Getty)


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – It has been a little more than two months since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as head coach of the U.S. men's national team, but that short period of time hasn't stopped an increasing pressure from befalling the team already.

Having tied once and lost twice in their first three games, Klinsmann and the U.S. team are beginning to feel the burden of going winless. That's why a victory against familiar CONCACAF foe Honduras is sorely needed when the two squads face off in a friendly at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday (6pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel and Univision).

"We're always results oriented. We're competitors and we want to win every game," said Klinsmann. "It's important for us and for the confidence of the team and for the fans as well."

For a win to happen, the Americans will need to demonstrate improvement in a few areas, not the least of which is possession. 

Under Klinsmann, the United States has gotten better in regards to keeping the ball, though it has only been able to do it in spurts rather than long stretches.

Likely to be deployed in a 4-3-3 formation, the Americans understand that an emphasis on setting the tone is important. Not just for the match with the Catrachos, but also for the looming World Cup qualifiers.

"The big thing about us on Saturday is you're going to see us try and control the tempo," said Howard following Tuesday morning's training session. "We did it a little bit against Costa Rica, obviously the goal changed the game, but for the most part you saw how we controlled the tempo of the game. We're going to try and do that again.

"It's important that we put an emphasis on that in this region. For us, that's vitally important. Mexico is a tough nut to crack in terms of tempo because they are one of the masters at controlling tempo, but even in those games we can do better. But for certain ,outside of that, we need to be able to set the pace over the course of 90 minutes, with our passing, with our running forward, how we defend, so hopefully that can be a staple for us."

Facing a Honduras side that will be without some if its top players (goalkeeper Noel Valladares is out, as are midfielder Wilson Palacios and forward David Suazo), the United States will be the favorite in South Florida on Saturday.

That doesn't mean a win is guaranteed, not even when the Americans have won eight of the last nine games against their well-known opponents dating back to 2002. 

The U.S. team has had trouble finding the back of the net under Klinsmann; the Americans have scored just once through the first three games under Klinsmann. But as much as finishing has been talked about by both players and coaches this week, the real issue could lie elsewhere.

"I feel like we need to be able to create chances in order to score goals," said Juan Agudelo. "That's what we've been focusing more on (in training), just creating chances."

There aren't many offensive-minded players in camp for the United States, though Jozy Altidore, Brek Shea, DaMarcus Beasley and Clint Dempsey top the list.

One player who could be added to that group is TSG 1899 Hoffenheim midfielder Danny Williams, who is in his first camp with the U.S. team. Williams looked good all week in practice, but it is doubtful that Klinsmann hands him a start in his first game with the group.

Williams spent time in scrimmages throughout the week in different positions. He played centrally and on the outside. He was asked to man the flanks and whip in crosses on some days, and told to be the link between the defense and offense in the middle of the pitch on others.

Regardless of where he plays, it seems increasingly likely that Williams will earn his first cap against Honduras.

"(Williams) can be nasty," said Klinsmann. "We talked about it after the last game, in Belgium, what I saw that was positive and negative about the game, and one thing that was a little bit lacking was more nastiness in our game.

"Danny Williams is one of those guys. He goes at you. He goes one against one, he can be very tough to deal with."

Honduras may be missing some of its stars, but it still has guys in camp that are capable of causing havoc, including Houston Dynamo forward Carlo Costly, Motagua striker Jerry Bengtson, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza and Wigan Athletic defender Maynor Figueroa.

"They're a big strong, physical side. But at the same time, if you give them time and space on the ball, they can move the ball around well," said Dempsey. "They did well in the Gold Cup, got to the semifinals and gave Mexico a good game, pushed them to overtime. It's going to be a good opponent and it's good practice for us because it's a team we could see in World Cup qualifiers."

Offensively, the Catrachos still have enough punch to pose problems to the U.S. defense. Klinsmann is all but assured to start sturdy veterans Steve Cherundolo and captain Carlos Bocanegra, and Timmy Chandler is likely to continue to experiment with the left back position.

Who Klinsmann pairs with Bocanegra in the middle is a bit less clear. Michael Orozco has started twice under Klinsmann, and could be summoned upon again. Oguchi Onyewu and Tim Ream are also options, though of those two, Onyewu has the better chance of starting.

No matter who starts, they'll need to perform. Failure to do so will cause further scrutiny towards Klinsmann, who was questioned throughout the week by fans and media on some of his roster selections and omissions.

That pressure could be eased if the United States pulls out its first win since June, and the players know that it's time for them to start putting together complete performances under Klinsmann.

"You've got to start putting pressure on yourself to start getting the right results," said Dempsey. "You want to get to winning ways, and we're a team that has experience and has the quality on our side that we should be expecting that from ourselves. Now it's about grinding out results and getting the wins."


  1. Williams & Orozco should not be there.. that is crazy. Edu is arguable. Some want to see Williams but he is a fullback sub for Hoffenheim. How does that exactly equate to starting in the midfield for the national team..? I know he can play in the mid but how he beats out Bradley, I just dont know..

  2. Yup, I called it. Only player I missed was Beckerman over Beasley.

    Shea Williams Dempsey
    Beckerman Edu
    Chandler Boca Orozco Dolo

  3. Why is orozco fiscal starting again? He is not a good CB. Good to see Williams get the start although I wish Bradley were starting instead of Beckerman.

  4. Yeah, that grinding and attempting to win is really holding him back at Fulham, a low level club which time and again depends upon his dogged determination and hunger. How dare he speak of this quality in regards to the Nats. He makes me puke.

  5. I am looking forward to watching this game. I want to see how Klinsmann’s project is coming. It will be interesting to see what he does without Donovan and Torres. However, little good can come from over hyping the game. It is not a must win game. Nothing will be different tomorrow win or lose. Klinsmann can mess with the lineups and tactics all he wants. And we should give him that room. We all know that when the WCQs start all that will matter is the scoreboard.

  6. I would add Castillo and Kljestan. Although, it seems like Kljestan is playing better now? Maybe he just plays better for club than country.

  7. My all-time list of U.S. players I least like seeing on the squad would include: Agoos, Beasley, R. Clark, Bornstein (though I feel bad for the guy because everyone hates him), and Onyewu.

  8. I know that Beasley is supposedly doing well in Mexico, but why is he back in the squad? He has horrible touch, does not strike the ball well, and his one asset [speed] is probably dropping off with age. I can’t stand watching him play.

  9. Please tell me what the almighty jurgen is actually doing that demands patience. Is he overhauling the youth system? No Reyna is the one changing that and hes been trying to do that since the Bob Bradley days. Is he testing new players? Hardly hes called in about the same people as Bradley did and has as many sh!tty favorites as Bob had too. Is he promoting an attacking style of play? If you think isolating jozy up top and playing 3 defensive mids is attacking then most US fans are dumber then i thought. Jurgen is not implementing some revolutionary system and the USMNT has played like absolute sh!t. jurgen has not down anything new. But no we need more latinos they are the only ones that can save us. Please spare me that bullsh!t.

  10. Just as people who believe that Klinsi is the Messiah who will lead the US to play like Spain or any “new style” are delusional. The players he has called up (that haven’t sucked) are the same, even the formation is likely to be the same. If you expect to see anything other than a sharpening up and bleeding in of some new players you are in for a very disappointing three years.

  11. agreed. Folks is acting like a bunch of drama queens. He can lose the next six friendlies for all I care. Come qualifying is when I want to see some hulk smash. Until then I’m interested in slow deliberate steady improvement. Goals have to come from that.

  12. Those who are saying that this game is a “must win” are absolutely delusional.

    Please explain to me what will happen to US Soccer if we lose this game?

    I’m glad Klinsmann, the team, and US Soccer don’t share this hasty attitude. They know very well that with the appointment of Klinsy that there was going to be a ramping up period as the team learns a new style of play… one that has been sorely needed of an overhaul for far too long.

    This result won’t define anything for this team except another step to gelling and understanding how to control a soccer game through passing and flank play.

    A friendly is never a “must win”, even if you say it is. All that matters is WQC, and the goal of the team is to improve themselves by then.

    Also the pitch is going to be a waterlogged mess, and the game will most likely be ugly as a result.

  13. They should play all the scrub players from camp. The conditions are going to be terrible and there is no sense risking serious injury for a meaningless game.

  14. i dont get how a winning attitude coupled with grinding out wins is not building a team… losing doesnt do us any favors…. i think your attitude is to passive.

  15. ——–Altidore——-





    Beasley is solid defensively on a left side that needs help. If he wants to prove he has something to offer this team then here it is. Edu has been in great form lately, even if it is the SPL. Confidence is confidence. Same with Gooch. Dolo has played some left back for H96 so I’d like to see it tried out.

  16. Keep forgetting Onyewu is back. Onyewu for Goodson…

    & @ Alex…

    Edu was not impressive at all vs Belgium either imo while Beckerman has just been on fire lately.

  17. I’ll stop a bit short of it being an absolute must, but moral victories only go so far. At some point, results and victories have to be a priority, regardless if it’s a friendly and especially if not a friendly.

  18. If you want some entertaining pre-game reading, check out this interview with Daniel Williams. The guy is a real character and seems as American as apple pie–not to mention that he apparently has been powerful in camp this week.













  19. I almost would kind of like to see this tonight, but I dont think Shea or Beasley are much of the cutting in to shoot type of wingers…


    Shea Dempsey Beasley

    Bradley Beckerman

    Chandler Boca Goodson Cherundolo


  20. Dempsey’s comments seem to match how he played in the last USMNT match. Disconnected.

    “Now it’s about grinding out results and getting the wins.”

    He doesn’t get it, and it really showed in his play. The team is still learning the philosophy and style of play… cohesive possession, building runs, and a lot of off ball movement… and that is still the focus. It’s not about grinding out results, it’s about building a playing style and the results will come as a result of that.

    I unfortunately foresee another match of Dempsey being a black hole.


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