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Dempsey brace leads USMNT to victory over Honduras in Gold Cup opener

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Photo by Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

By RYAN TOLMICH

After months of build up and preparation, Clint Dempsey and the U.S. Men’s National Team did just enough to emerge victorious from Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener.

In his return to his home state of Texas, Dempsey led the way for the USMNT by bagging a brace in a 2-1 defeat of Honduras to open Gold Cup play. With the victory, the U.S. has won each of the team’s 13 Gold Cup openers since the tournament’s inception.

After struggling to get much going offensively in the early going, the U.S. finally got their attack kickstarted by a Dempsey finish via a set piece.

With DeAndre Yedlin playing a short corner to Bradley, the ball was whipped in before bouncing across the six-yard box. Jozy Altidore pounced, firing a shot that was blocked, only to see Dempsey muster up a header on the rebound to tap the ball just over the line, earning the U.S. a 1-0 first half lead.

That lead remained until the 64th minute when yet another set piece yielded another Dempsey finish. 

Having earned a free kick on the left side of the field, Bradley’s ball to the backpost found a wide-open Dempsey streaking in on goal. Unmarked and well above the Honduras defense, Dempsey headed in easily for his second goal of the night to double the U.S. advantage while sealing all three points.

With the goals, Dempsey pulls within 14 goals of the all-time USMNT record, sitting behind just Landon Donovan.

Honduras pulled back a lifeline in the 70th minute, when Carlos Discua cut the lead to one while setting up a nervy finish for the USMNT.

After cruising right past Ventura Alvarado with his first touch, Discua found himself in all alone on Guzan. The Honduras midfielder provided a picture-perfect finish to reduce the lead to one, where it would stay until the final whistle.

In what was an overly physical first half, with the two teams combining for 12 first half fouls. USMNT centerback John Brooks was the only one punished for an early challenge, though, earning a yellow card for a push in the midfield.

Aside from Dempsey’s goal, Honduras looked the more lively of the two sides in the opening half, aside from one effort for Yedlin. Former D.C. United star Andy Najar was dangerous in particular, testing goalkeeper Brad Guzan numerous times with long range efforts.

Those efforts proved futile as the game wore on, as both teams noticeably tired due to the immense Dallas heat. Both Najar and Altidore were sacrificed to the substitute bench early in the second half as the game slowed down due to tired legs.

Regardless, it proved to be just enough for the U.S., who now lead Group A with three points after Tuesday’s draw between Panama and Haiti.

The U.S. returns to action Friday at Gillette Stadium for a matchup with Haiti, while Honduras faces Panama earlier that day.

Comments

  1. I’d bet $$$ that gonzalez starts over brooks next game or starts with brooks. I think Jurgen is going to use the group stage to experiment and to make sure guys get rest. I only see Bradley playing all 90 the entire tournament. Everybody else likely gets breaks starting or coming out during games. We’ve got a pretty deep roster.

    And the continuous jozy bashing is just nuts. He’s the only ‘target” striker we have. And in the game last night, almost every tough he got in the last 3rd was the most dangerous of the match outside of our free kicks/corners. When he held the ball we were dangerous. Is he “world class” right now? Of course not. He’s been battling a hamstring for two months. But as the tournament goes on he will continue to make an impact.

    Last but not least. We wont’ play a better defensive side in the tournament. These guys made Mexcio’s “a” team look awful last week. Honduras could make a run in this tournament. They might be a semi-final team. People bitching about beating a very good team in less than desirable circumstances. Geeze… You’d think we were on a 6 game losing streak, not a 6 game winning streak.

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  2. If every US players on the field had performed as well as they can, would the result have been different? I sort of doubt it. The assortment of players offered up didn’t really make any obvious sense. Of the four midfielders, two were playing in new positions and neither of those in new positions is known for his passing or general team play. Whom was Bradley supposed to interact with?
    Of the left side, Yedlin and Chandler are remarkably similar players, both wanting to go forward on every occasion. Surely one of these is enough.
    Brooks and Alvarado have hardly ever played together. Alvarado has hardly played ever. Don’t you want your center back pair to be a real team — comfortable with each other and so on?
    You could go on, but while it may be amusing to debate whether player X or Y was the worst or whatever, aren’t we really talking here about a coaching debacle?

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  3. I’m still not sold on Alvarado. He seems mistake-prone and is associated with too many opponents’ chances, in my opinion. Not sure what a statistical analysis would show, but that’s just my impression.

    I love Zardes’s attacking instincts, but his first touch and his ability in tight spaces seem sub-par for a winger.

    Was it just me, or did the referee let an awful lot of stuff go last night?

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    • It wasn’t just you. There should have been 5 or 6 yellow cards given in this match, not just one. Agree with about Alvarado, not sure what Jurgen’s problem with Gonzalez; okay, so he has some momentary lapses, but Alvarado and Brooks don’t?

      The one thing that I was thinking near the end of the match: Honduras looked like they were in Gold Cup mode and the U.S. still looked in friendly mode; the intensity was drastically different between the two squads, and the ref letting physical play go unchecked seemed to further energize Honduras. Hopefully, the U.S. will work their way into the tourney and up the focus. A draw would have been a fair result, but it is not like the U.S. stole it; Honduras was a bit lacking in the final third, Guzan was solid, Dempsey was Dempsey, and the guys got the three points. Fine by me, just tighten some things up and probably make a few lineup changes to figure out the best lineup by the knockout round.

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    • I think its a lot of things but the lack of playing time together and poor communication between Brooks and Alvarado lead to a lot of Honduras chances. I don’t think we need to abandon the tandem just yet but they need a ton of reps so that can get on the same page. Many of the times they were beat they were level with each other (a defensive no-no) where one pass beat both of them. They are two good of defenders to have just “forgot” this so I think a lack of communication is what we are left with. Alvarado also tried to pull one of the Honduras players off sides and was way off with his positioning which led to a great chance for them, which they luckily yanked wide.

      In regards to Zardes, he is a great attacker. Defender…..not so much. Honduras was pushed so high that Zardes was forced to defend and got exposed because of it. I don’t really fault him as its not something he is used to doing. I think having him and Yedlin on the field at the same time forced Beckerman and Bradley to both be more defensive minded and it obviously stalled our offensive game plan. Would like to see either one come on as a sub and Bedoya paired with them.

      Just my two cents.

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      • Todd – – wait, when you say that they were level with each other when they were beaten… do you mean that they were beaten by a well placed through-ball? That neeeever eeeever happens to the top defenders in the world… no, when the best defenders in the world play in a flat back 4 through balls are only ever put through by Messi. Its in a rule-book or something.

      • I assume this was meant as sarcasm. I see that. What maybe I didn’t make clear was that when in a flat back four, both defenders cannot both move to pressure an attacker without support nor can they both stay flat footed. I understand that good through-ball’s do beat good defenders on a regular basis, I just saw that when Alvarado made a move toward pressuring the ball he freed up the attacker to be open for a through ball but didn’t have anyone to cover for him so the ball got played into the space behind the back line. They need some work together and communication is key for good team zonal defending. That was all.

      • Alvarado made mistakes in that game, but mostly they were related to NOT being flat with Brooks. I remember him keeping guys onsides in at least 3 situations blaying deep almost like a sweeper… and I remember a couple instances where he was way high leaving a huge gap behind him for Chandler/beckerman to fill.

        Regardless, I agree that their communication/intuitive sense of spacing between them needs some work.

      • Once we figured out how to attack them (it was never going to be easy, even If Germany had played them) we controlled the game. We just had to figure it out and stay patient and move the ball quicker. Zardes and yedlin were both dangerous most of the match. And IMO yedlin played very well defensively, especially in the last 15 minutes. Several key take aways and tackles by him down the stretch. And as Zardes plays more on the wing he will continue to get more comfortable. This is a good time to learn, against teams we should beat.

  4. Jozy gets plaudits for his holdup play because it caters to his strength – which is not moving. Never, ever, ever, makes any intelligent runs, I have no idea what anyone sees in him anymore.

    And as far as coming back from an injury.. when doesn’t he have a built-in excuse? Why oh why oh why is he considered our first choice at striker????

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here! I invented the piano key necktie!

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    • I am happy to see someone tell it like it is. Jozy really doesn’t hustle, hardly ever. Expects every ball played in his direction to get past the defender. Can’t win a ball in the air. He’s rarely in position to receive the ball to hold it up when the defense clears, and even if he is near it, he doesn’t hustle to try and pressure the opposing team.

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      • Man, this is a really hot taek!

        How is the “Jozy doesn’t hustle” theory still a thing? The ONLY reason we scored the first goal was because Jozy pounced on a loose ball in the box. You could make the argument he’s the only one that hustled on that play.

        “Rarely in position to receive the ball to hold it up when the defense clears”? First off, I’m not totally sure what this even means, but his hold up play was pretty much the only reason we were dangerous in the first half. His nifty lay offs to Bradley and Fabian Johnson (on the run that should’ve resulted in a Yedlin goal) alleviated the constant Honduran pressure and allowed the US to get forward. Because he was checking so far back and playing with his back to goal, he didn’t have very many chances to make runs in to space. But he did CREATE the space that Dempsey could run into off of the ball.

        “Can’t win a ball in the air”? He’s proven pretty consistently that he can do this. One of the most memorable goals in recent US history is the Bradley goal to tie Slovenia in the 2010 WC… which came off of an immaculately placed Jozy Altidore header.

        Listen, we can continue to trot out these tired opinions on Jozy forever or we can evaluate as objectively as possible. He wasn’t great last night, but I honestly thought everyone on the squad was very meh. His ability to link with Dempsey is disappointing, but most of that seems to be a tactical thing. He’ll improve and the US will too. He’s very integral to this team’s success.

        Jozy Altidore might end up going down as one of, if not the, greatest pure strikers that the US has ever had. A lot of people are going to miss the chance to witness a really great US career because they’re too busy furiously typing about how “lazy” he is. Don’t be one of them.

      • Except for the last paragraph, which is a bit overstated, db nails it.

        If you are ragging on Jozy after last night’s game, it shows that you don’t fully understand what you watched and/or that you have a reflexive bias against Jozy.

      • “If you are ragging on Jozy after last night’s game, it shows that you don’t fully understand what you watched and/or that you have a reflexive bias against Jozy.”

        spot on…

      • We’ll agree to disagree. You can go ahead and call my opinions “tired”, and I can say the same of yours. Both opinions have been written on this site for years. We are in different camps.

        Gotta love the guy below telling me that I “don’t understand what I watched”. That’s always been the best compliment paid to me when I used to post frequently on here back in the day.

    • Jozy gets credit for his holdup play because that’s what he is asked to do for our team. Hold the ball and distribute it to other players using his strength to hold defenders off. It shouldn’t be something he is criticized for doing if that is what is being asked of him. We don’t get upset with Deuce for not holding up players because that’s not what he is asked to do. Different players have different skills sets, it’s just how it is. Also, Jozy happens to be the best at what he does for OUR team.

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  5. one more thing. Imagine Jordan Morris in the last 25 minutes up top in that game.. His speed is LETHAL late in games as a sub. Especially when it’s 100 degrees with 90% humidity.

    We likely win this tournament without him, but he would be an amazing weapon in this heat.

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    • we could use Gatt or Gyau’s speed to but injuries happen, Morris missed it due to an injury, not non-inclusion.

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  6. A. I’m curious why Gonzalez didn’t start over Alvarado? Gonzalez has been great this year. perhaps it’s in an effort to rest Brooks next game?

    B. Jozi, before he got tired (remember he’s been out for a month) was very good on the ball. He created our chances early in the game. To bash him when he’s clearly not yet in game shape is just silly. Only a great save kept him from scoring our first goal.

    C. Alvarado has some learning to do. he can be really good I think but he’s got to develop. The group stage isn’t a bad place to do it. Fact is, the next two games should be and will be used to explore lineups.

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      • He said “before he got tired” which is when he came off. If you’re implying he shouldn’t play if he gets tired then very few countries would be able to field a full team…

      • i believe he was implying that Jozy isn’t in “full 90” shape… that’s no grounds for benching. check his minute logs from the 5 or so games he’s played for TFC coming back from injury (9,16,30,70,70– roughly). going 60 in the first game of a big tourney a month back from injury isn’t out of the ordinary.

      • Exactly… he’s not in 90 shape. add to that the fact that he plays in “cool” Toronto during his season, playing in 100 degrees with 90% humidity is sure to wear him down.

        He’ll get more minutes each game IMO. as I said below. I just wish Jordan Morris wasn’t hurt and we could make that sub in the last 20 minutes. he would have SHREADED them the last 20 minutes last night. Oh well…

  7. That was one horribly officiated game. Literal punches by the Honduran players and nothing called. Bradley’s free kick also crossed the goal line but the line judge wasn’t paying attention. What can you expect with CONCACAF I guess. Chandler played horrible also. You could tell he was out of sort in this environment. Brooks was a beast in the air. Altidore looked a step slow. Evans look very composed. Ah the Gold Cup. Where terrible referees, humid weather, dirty play, and anything can happen goes.

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    • The officiating was bad but consistent in that it didn’t seem to favor one team. We never got good reply of Bradley’s kick, but from what I saw it didn’t look like it was ever close to going in.

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      • didn’t seem to favor one team??? excuse me, but you don’t get this game… if I come out with the intent of kicking you into submission, the ref allowing lots of kicking will favor you.

        If, on the other hand you come out to a game trying to kick me into submission like a muay thai fighter and the ref is handing our yellows… then he is favoring my style of play (assuming I too am not intent on kicking you back.)

        This ref absolutely favored Honduras. and honestly, the US discipline was impressive… I saw a bunch of people totally lose their heads in Copa America under conditions like what was on display last night.

  8. I thought alvarado looked quite poor and i dont really get why he continues to get time over gonzo. Chandler finally looks like a solid option at RB
    Beckerman was eh, not great but no glaring mistakes
    I hate having bradley play so high and then have wingers not shifting inside to defend, that along with the lack of technical ability from yedlin and zardes made it difficult to control the game
    Yes jozy wasnt great but what better option do we have? Wondo cant hold the ball up there, either can iceman, so maybe zardes up top is worth a try?

    My 11 for friday
    ————————Zardes————————
    -F. Johnson—-Dempsey——–Zusi———
    ————–Morales——-Bradley————
    –Garza—-Brooks—–Gonzo—–Chandler
    ———————-Guzan————————

    Also wanna see bedoya get 25-30 minutes
    Love yedlin off the bench for last 20 minutes or so going at tired defenders

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  9. 1. Honduras was better than anyone thought.
    2. The officiating was horrible yet again. When a defender impedes the progress of the other player using his body after getting beat, IT IS A FOUL. Honduras was allowed to get away with this all game long. Also there were multiple reckless challenges that weren’t even whistled.
    3. The US tactics and personnel were all wrong. I know JK sees those players as the best at their positions but for whatever reason, it is not clicking. Bradley and Beckerman have to be the centermids, but it’s time to consider changing any or all of the rest. Jozy was sharper this game, but his lack of movement off the ball still kills too many attacks. Dempsey still has that knack for finishing, but seemed off otherwise. It’s hard to ignore how much more fluid our attack was without those two in the lineup…

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  10. Good positioning, excellent passing, decent work rate on defense, weak defending set pieces, unlucky in the final third, obviously a well coached team… and now for the United States.

    It’s like watching someone play Football Manager for the first time. Maybe some day Jurgen will get the hang of this game, but right now it’s just massive fiddling — no consistency, no cohesion, weird lineups, no obvious strategy except hoping that your players are better athletes than their players.

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  11. No team “deserves” to win any game. You either score more points than your opponent or you don’t. Honduras may have played well, but they only scored once. (The Cowboys deserved to beat the Packers)

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  12. Usually I am pretty critical of the U.S., but this was a tough win. It is really hard to play your game whenever a defender is coming in and you think he is trying to break

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  13. Klinsmann, fix the backline, please!

    Brooks and Alvarado were continually beat (on one-on-one runs, through balls and over-the-top). Alvarado lost Discua on the Honduras goal. Don’t care if another midfielder–Zardes or whoever–got beat by Discua first, Alvarado is the part of the backline, and so needs to clean up and clear out.

    Chandler looked mediocre at best. Thought Davis was a significant improvement. Even Johnson, whom I normally like for his ability to get forward, didn’t stand out.

    Had the backline been less of a worry, the US midfield could have done a much better job in transition and creating chances. Zardes looked like a shell of his recent form tonight. Yedlin didn’t do much either.

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    • Brooks and Alvarado were so far out of position so much of the time, it was tough to tell what formation we were using.

      The D was a catastrophe.

      Is it too late to bring in the USWNT D?

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    • of course they will… as a wittier man than me once said “the Gold Cup is a tournament where a bunch of teams play a bunch of games in the US, and in the end the US and Mexico meet in the final.” But it is besides the point too… I saw a great US national team playing against Germany and Holland… I want to see that same play in a real tournament… and I will be continually disappointed until I do.

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  14. Why is somebody always at “fault”?

    When a game is much tighter and more competitive than expected, and you get outplayed for long stretches by a team thought “inferior”, the first thing soccerniks always do is look for somebody to blame.

    I would have been happy with the ugliest 1-0 win headed into this game. I wouldn’t have been broken up by a tie. Honduras is a big, physical (borderline dirty), athletic team with some very good technical ability. Add a manager like Pinto to that and all of a sudden you’ve got a real challenge on your hands…and indeed, we had exactly the challenge on our hands anybody rational would have predicted. Did anybody here watch the 0-0 draw they got against Mexico the other night…which Mexico was very, very lucky to get?

    I have a strong suspicion Honduras – if they hold onto Pinto – is going to be a pain in the butt this qualifying cycle, and they’re going to shoot up in the rankings, as Costa Rica did. They’re by far the biggest and most athletic of the Central American teams and they’re plenty technical. Pinto actually might be able to do more with Honduras than he did with Costa Rica because they have the size and pace Costa Rica did not. And we ourselves might want to keep an eye peeled towards Pinto as a possible Klinsmann replacement.

    The other thing is…we now have a bulls-eye painted on our chest. We are the team everybody in CONCACAF circles on the schedule, the team everybody now wants to beat. We’re going to get everybody’s “A” game. Success does that. Now we’re the hunted.

    Every game’s going to be a fight. In a group like ours, especially, we were never going to just breeze through.

    Still got the three points, and that is never a bad thing, especially against a team that has been to the last few World Cups. And Klinsmann still has six subs and a bunch of interesting options he can go to at the end of group.

    Grind out a couple more ugly results if you gotta against Panama and Haiti, then see where your squad is at and what replacements you need to make to continue to advance. All we can do, the way things are set up this year. But it’s likely going to be a grind, every game.

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    • No doubt that Honduras played extremely well. Their passing was accurate about 98% of the time. The US was plenty awful and played well at times, but their passes were all over the place, even when they weren’t pressured. So, yes Honduras is a good team, but the US has the capability to be better, but they didn’t show it tonight. I will always take an ugly win over a well played loss, but I’m disappointed with the US performance, and I expect that the coaches and players are, too.

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    • Quozzel, I agree that Honduras seems like they are going to be giving us a major problem in qualifying, and that they are a very competent team… and I agree with your view on the morons who are running around looking to blame US players… its pointless.

      +1 to you sir.

      That being said, if you are suddenly the team looking to play proactive pressuring ball (like Klinsmann wants) your inferior sides are going to come out kicking… like Honduras did (I mean for huge stretches of the game they seemed more interested in Kicking Americans than the ball). And you have to do a much better job than we did of holding possession.

      My recollections from last night were this: 1. Chandler (and from time to time Alvarado) was trying to play direct ALL F-ing game. Its like here never got the play from the back memo… 2. Beckerman NEVER turned with the ball (I mean, ok defensive MF and all… but if you actually want to play from the back, your DMF must, from time to time turn with the ball and find another MF. Those two things IMHO allowed the Hondurans to press us into far too much direct play. If we only win 1-0 against a team that came out to kick us… that is fine. But I definitely expect to have 60-70% possession in a game like that… If I want to play JK’s proactive style. I don’t know what it was, but it didn’t look like a 60/70% day.

      Also, just because something is a grind, doesn’t mean we played well… I clearly remember looking at the space between Honduras’ DM and their back line all game wondering why Dempsey wasn’t dropping into it to make himself an outlet for Bradley/Becks… And wondering why we were intent on passing up the sides (which we admittedly did well a couple of times… I remember thinking, in the first half, that we looked positively German going up the flank (einz, zwei, einz, zwei, einz, zwei cross)… but it just was not at all consistent… and I point to 1 and 2 above for why…

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  15. Dempsey wins a lot of fouls with those dives. And him showing up to score goals after nothing stretches is what he does. Tonight it got the team 3 points….

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    • It’s called being a forward. Scoring goals, drawing fouls, fighting hard. Dempsey did what he he had to do to get the win. Man of the match.

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    • Honduras was fouling like crazy all night and only got called for about half of them. It was an absolute joke that they didn’t get a yellow until the last few minutes.

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      • +1 for every yellow card they should have gotten.

        personally i can’t stand when a player noticeably extends there arms signifying an obvious push with clear intent to do so. that’s not a soccer move. clipping a player, sliding in recklessly, etc, that’s all arguably trying to make a play. extending both arms to push a player is just classless. a shoulder is one thing, but i can’t stand to watch a non call when a player extends the arms and pushes. a honduran even did it while dribbling the ball (pushed down yedlin, yedlin called for could i believe). why are you forcibly pushing a defender down? you have the ball! just go where you want to go, don’t throw someone down; have some tact.

      • Are you thinking of the push right before the half? It was Najar who pushed Yedlin off with two hands before shooting over the top from about 20 yards. Absolutely absurd non-call, and BF in the commentary booth is complementing him for his strength. Yeah… whatever…

      • That’s CONCACAF. Yedlin was being chipped at all game, and while he was high-energy in his defense also, Yedlin wasn’t nearly as aggressive as the Hondurans. I don’t think the ref liked his haircut…or that he’s American. Something was going on with that.

      • yea that was the play. also another player pushed demspey down with force later. in the slowmo replay you could see his arm move quickly to extend and push CD down.

  16. while he came up clutch aka unmarked on 2nd and loose ball on 1st, i thought dempsey was awful. lost count of how many bad passes+dives. neveretheless most of the team did any better pass comp.-wise

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  17. Alvarado was solid all evening. The goal was the fault of Zardes who failed to track his runner. Alvarado recognized danger but couldn’t get there in time.

    JAB was a beast, and has cemented his spot as a starting CB for the next decade.

    Tactics were all wrong. Only real positive is we cap tied Alvarado, and picked up an undeserved 3 points.

    Subbing off Jozy was a mistake. We needed his hold up play late to ease pressure.

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    • I’d like to see this on replay. Zardes is a winger and the fact is that there were 3 attackers in the box and only one defender, so I don’t think it was entirely or even mostly his fault.

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    • yea re: the goal, wasn’t it Evans that tried to come sliding in to block it, not Alvarado, or maybe i’m understanding your comment wrong. bUt yea Alvarado was strong most of the match with a few bad choices, but the same was said for Brooks in his first couple of starts… (remember him and Gooch vs Ukraine i believe… yikes)

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    • I don’t think undeserved is fair, a draw wouldn’t have been unjust, but I don’t think it was a cheap 3 points

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      • what was a catastrophe was our possession game in the midfield. Very poor all around from start to finish.

  18. El Commie haven’t u been exposed when u first joined this site (when goal.com came into the picture). Go back to goal.com with all the other English speaking mexico fans

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  19. – Honduras did a great job tracking Bradley in the middle and keeping him from getting the ball with a head of steam. That said, it seemed our young wingers struggled to link up with our forwards and Bradley.

    – Chandler took turns looking brilliant and brutal early on. Unfortunately those moments of brilliance became few and far between as the game went on.

    – The best opportunities the US had in the run of play came from holdup play from Altidore. Jozy’s still the only forward in the pool who can deliver that game in and game out.

    – By starting both Zardes and Yedlin, we didn’t have a dynamic late game substitution that could immediately put pressure on the defense. It made those final 20 minutes tough to watch.

    – We’ve got 3 points in the bag from the toughest opponent in our group.

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    • -Yep

      -YEP

      -….YEP!

      -I think Zusi did a serviceable job and i feel Bedoya and AJ can do that job as well. personally i like yedlin and zardes starting. but i wouldn’t be opposed to a rotating starting lineup for the first 3 games.

      -Aaaaaand Yep!

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    • I pretty much agree with your assessment. I’ve been pushing for Bedoya to start and the reason you outlined is the exact reason why Jürgen needs to make the switch. I’ve heard Bedoya may not be 100% from his injury so that may be a possible reason why he wasn’t included but either Bedoya or Diskerud should start on one of the outside mid spots. When you play in CONCACAF you need players that are comfortable in possession and can hit a killer pass to the forwards. When the game gets stretched in the second half, bringing on a Yedlin or Zardes to run at a tired defense and get the counters going.

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  20. Yes its was a sloppy game but this team has only trained together for a very short time before the cup started. Our quality came through and we won the game. Sometimes a team starts slow, it happens. They will start to gel. Next couple matches are perfect practice before the knockout stage

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  21. We have better players but Honduras’ tactics and substitutions were way better than ours. Lucky to get the 3 points. We were outcoached and only managed to overcome it through luck and individual skill.

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  22. I understand the lack of flash from the offense in a Concacaf game. Concacaf opponents are gritty, well-organized and tactically smart with their fouls so as to disrupt free-flowing open play.
    But someone explain to me the defensive lapses. We just withstood Netherlands and Germany (albeit with some mishaps) and then we get lit up and exposed by Guatemala and Honduras. Why the dramatic drop when we play teams with a less potent attack…?
    Also, very disappoint about how easily Alvarado got beat.

    START TIM REAM. Nobody mentioned his name from the Guatemala friendly, but he played rock-solid. his soccer IQ is so beyond the rest of our CDs, it’s laughable.

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    • Easy. We gave up lots and lots of counters into acres of space. The fullbacks were often caught out of position up the field (as they tried to press the attack) and Beckerman had way too much space to try to cover, especially for someone so slow. No defense is going to hold up well in such circumstances.

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      • but our fullbacks got forward in Europe too (heck even our center backs got forward!); Maybe it’s a mentality thing when we play lesser opponents- that we don’t have to recover or we can skate by with 80% effort.

    • Admittedly, the Netherlands did put three past us, all rather easy looking. In the end, Honduras scored only one. Seems about right, given their relative quality to each other. Both point to a defense that needs to do better.

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      • Sorta hope this is a joke… Based on your comment, it is evident you have never watched Ream play. Yes, he CAN play anywhere across the back line but he is a center back- that’s where he plays for both Bolton and Klinsmann.

    • The Holland game was 4-3 so not really a great defensive performance. I thought Alvarado was going to be the real deal a few months ago but he’s been disappointing. Still needs time though.

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      • to me he looks about where Brooks was when he had as many caps; he does many things well but also has a moment or two (or three) of bad judgment. I chalk it up to youth.

    • because the games against netherlands and germany were friendlies, maybe, and not an accurate gauge of how good the teams/players are? people are reading way too much into those games.

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  23. I thought Honduras played surprisingly well. Najar is the real deal, too bad he didn’t decide to play for the US. With the Panama and Haiti tie, this win pretty much guarantees the US will win the group. I can see Honduras giving Panama a run for their money.

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      • Eh… He probably could have done in while maintaining residence? IIRC (and I could very well be wrong), he would have had to have been in the US for something like 183 days in a calendar year. It’s possible that he could have gone somewhere with a long summer break and a short winter break and got the necessary days, but it would have been hard to do.

      • Yeah too bad Najar turned his back on the country where he was raised, learned the game and got his first pro opportunity. But at least with Honduras he can get back to his club sooner so he can get ready for another season on the bench.

      • You realize he would have had to forgo an opportunity to move overseas to a Champions League club to stay in the US long enough to get citizenship, right? Also, he wasn’t getting call-ups at the time and had a long list of experienced wingers in front of him.

      • Najar moved to Virginia when he was 13. He signed for DC United’s academy at 15. He signed one of those Generation Adidas contracts at 17

        He chose to play for Honduras when he was 18 in 2011

        He played for Honduras in the World Cup in 2014 when he was 21.

        Andy said he always wanted to play for Honduras and most neutral observers seem to agree with this That’s the emotional side.

        If you think Andy is lying, then on the practical side:

        He had a green card but probably would not have been a US citizen in time to play in the 2014 World Cup.

        He was far more likely to make the Honduras WC squad than the US WC squad.

        His move to Anderlecht would have complicated his citizenship process.

        Moving to Europe and being a World Cup player most likely made for a significantly larger revenue stream, earlier than he would have gotten had he held out for the USMNT.

        For a pro athlete whose revenue earning potential career is always one bad tackle from ending, this is not a minor consideration.

    • I didn’t want to steal him, dude should play for Honduras. I don’t feel bad taking players from Germany, but no reason to poach guys with no real US roots.

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    • Honduras took it to Mexico last week and should have won. Mexico never threaten them, at least we won and scored goals

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    • I thought Alvarado had an OK game, not great, but not bad. I’m not sure if you are being hyperbolic, but I didn’t think he was “exposed”. He was quick to step out and clean up messes, and good at shutting down the wingers breaking in toward goal. I think he still gets fooled by dummy runs too often, and sometimes steps out of position to challenge players outside the 18 when he should let Bradley and Beckerman handle that, but he’s still young.

      I suppose you could start Gonzalez in his place, but then Gonzalez and Brooks play very similarly, you would lose a lot of speed, and Omar gets caught ball-watching far too often for my comfort.

      Jozy looked tired early. Is he still coming back from an injury? If so, wouldn’t he be a better second half sub?

      Chandler still does a lot of stupid things with his positioning and with the ball at his feet. Do we really not have anyone better?

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      • Jozy was playing well, we have no midfield to service the forwards, Bradley is terrible in the advanced position, can’t pick out a positive pass for anything except on set pieces or over the top balls. Can’t wait until Bradley is no longer part of the mix, probably after 2018

      • Jozy wasn’t very good tonight, and – in case you’ve forgotten the two wins over Germany and the Netherlands that weren’t more than 4 weeks ago – Bradley has shown he can play in that advanced role. Granted he didn’t play his best tonight, the entire team was sloppy.

      • MB was good in those games in an advanced role but I still don’t think that’s his best position.

      • Who cares if it is his best position? It is where he helps/improves this team the most. That is all that matters. Period.

      • Chandler must have something over Klinsmann. Otherwise, there is no rational explanation for his being on the national team.

      • Yeah too bad we don’t have a RB who starts every week in the EPL. Oh that’s right we do but JK never plays him there because he’s smarter than everyone else.

      • Stoke asked Cameron to not play in this tournament.

        Besides the Stoke right back, Phil Bardsley, does not play the position the same way the USMNT right back does.

        Further more, Cameron is more of a midfielder for Stoke these days.

      • I think Dempsey didn’t have a good complete game, let’s face he got lucky in the first goal and Honduras didn’t mark him in the second goal. But it was the little things he did right which helps a lot along with his experience on the field. Now Jozy wasn’t sharp on top due to the lack of playing time since he is coming back from an injury. I think Just a little bit of position changing can make a different I would put back Bradley to his original position and put Zardes on top with Jozy and have Dempsey drop back a bit and have the freedom to move around and get the ball maybe he can create more for the U.S from a free attacking position than just being on top.

      • “let’s face he got lucky in the first goal and Honduras didn’t mark him in the second goal.”

        You can say that about a lot of goals that a lot of people score.

      • That goal was all about hard work and skill.

        I’ve seen lots of players who would not have been in position to take Zardes’ pass and more than a few, such as Clint, who might have shot it over or wide.

        I’ve seen Clint have worse misses in the Gold Cup

        Wondo f++ked up vs Belgium but that doesn’t mean he is a f++k up for the rest of his life nor does that f++k up change the fact that Wondo is a very, very good goal scorer.

        Roberto Baggio had the worst penalty miss I’ve ever seen in a World Cup. It didn’t mean he wasn’t a great player.

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