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U.S. U-23s to play Honduras for Olympic berth in semifinals of CONCACAF qualifying

Jerome Kiesewetter U-23 USMNT 92

photo by Peter G. Aiken/USA Today Sports


Winning its group paid off the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team.

The U.S. avoided having to face Mexico in the semifinals round of CONCACAF Olympic qualifying after El Tri won Group B by defeating Honduras, 2-1, on Wednesday. The result means the Americans will now play Honduras on Saturday in a semifinals match at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, that will grant a berth to the 2016 Olympics.

Honduras was beaten by a strike from Houston Dynamo forward Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres in the second half of Wednesday’s game. The Catrachos had used an Alberth Elis strike to cancel out Raul Lopez’s fourth-minute opener, but Torres found the winner in the 65th minute.

The U.S. – which finished Group A with a perfect 3-0 record – can secure automatic qualification if it beats Honduras this weekend. If the Americans lose, they can still qualify for next summer’s tournament in Brazil if they defeat the loser of the other semifinals bout between Mexico and Canada and then top Colombia in a play-off.

Honduras will enter Saturday’s pressure-filled showdown with a 2-0-1 record. The Hondurans scored four goals and conceded two in those matches.

Kickoff for the U.S.-Honduras clash is set for 3 pm ET, and will be aired on Telemundo.

What do you think about the U.S. U-23s playing Honduras in the semifinals of Olympic qualifying? Fully expect the Americans to prevail and punch their ticket to Rio 2016 this weekend? Would you have preferred to see a second intense bout between a U.S. team and Mexico on Saturday?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Can anyone explain why Olympic Qualifying is being held in the US yet TV coverage is only on spanish speaking channels? Is it some sort of black out? Am I suppose to travel across the county to Rio Tinto to watch this game? I mean I don’t mind watching a game in Spanish it is just that I can’t even do that because my Direct TV package doesn’t include Telemundo. The only one that does is some sort of international package which requires a different satellite than the one I have so I can’t even switch to that package. A lot of soccer fans have direct TV specifically to watch lots of soccer and I bet the majority of those who are USMNT fans don’t have the international package. Not even sure if the sports bars in my area would have it. I guess US Soccer doesn’t really want me to give a dam% about U23 olympic qualifying. Another reason Sunil needs to go.

    • Because outside of the soccer die-hards (like most people who visit this site), no one really cares that the U23s is 90 minutes away from the 2016 Olympics and all that comes with that. We have grown leaps and bounds in terms of soccer coverage on TV in the last decade, but it will quite a while longer before a TV station believes it will get the ratings to justify showing it on TV. With that being said, you would think US Soccer could get an English feed on their website or via YouTube. Ultimately, we’ll be watching the US next summer in Rio.

  2. Good job getting this far, but this is the game that really matters. Although beating El Tri U23 in the final would be comforting.

    • Herzog has to accomplish and show some real results on his resume besides sitting next to Klinsmann communicating to the players for his immediate future career. JK won’t be with the USMNT forever. Klinsmann’s departure may very well happen between 2016 and 2018 depending the outcome of Sat Concacaf Cup and World Cup qualifying starting November 13. There are way too much displeasure and even hatred from 50% or more of the US fans, US soccer media and ex-USMNT players, in particular the legendary LD for Klinsmann to stay at the US boss for any longer than 2018. I’d bet my everything that USMNT will not win the World Cup in Russia.

      • There are a lot of disgruntled USMNT fans, but BB had a lot of disgruntled USMNT fans (in case you don’t remember). All that matters is what the US Soccer board think. If he gets through qualifying and does well in Russia (quarterfinals with a new generation of players,) JK could leave on his own terms. He he gets blown out on Saturday and has a shaky start to qualification, he may…may not see 2018. However, I doubt US Soccer wants to eat $2.5 million for the next 2 1/12 years. The thing is $2.5/year is nothing for elite coaches for elite teams. you have guys making over $10 million. You have a lot (including people quoted on this board, making over $5million a year).

        It’s funny because I think a lot of people on this board seem to forget how disliked Bradley was as well as how many insults he and Michael got about 5 years ago. Bunker Bob was not an endearing nickname. While I think that Klinsman promised too much (having us play an attacking, proactive style) because we do not have the players, that is not the core issue. A lot of US fans OVERESTIMATE the quality of players the US produces. We do not produce that many quality players, if any (maybe 1 or 2 per generation). Jozy’s generation w/his exception has yet to really pan out (Adu, Shea, Opara, Sarkodie, Diskerud, Bunbury, Boyd, Akugo, Corona). Agudelo, Gyau are kinda this cycle because they only miss the U23 cut-off by a 2-4 months.

        I have both defended and been critical of both Bradley and Klinsman for different reasons. I don’t think Bradley should have been fired and I don’t think Klinsman need to fired. However, Klinsman need lessons on how to deal with the US media and fans. We still need to produce better ELITE players. Mexico does a MUCH better job. In their history, they have arguably produced the 5th best striker (Hugo Sanchez) in La Liga history. People slam Rafa Marquez, but he was the starting DM/CB on Barcelona for years as well as during their 2006 Champions League title winning side. Not one US outfield player is good enough to start on a team good enough to win the Champions league. Mexico has better skilled players, but, thankfully, they are headcases.

      • +1. This is a thoughtful and well-articulated comment, in my view.

        I find it hilarious when people rip JK for his “massive” $2.5 million salary, which you correctly observe is next to nothing in the context of top tier global soccer. Moreover, even those who dislike JK (many of whom talk as though his salary is coming out of their tax dollars) should be happy that the benchmark salary has been increased for future coaches. Hard to see us going back to paying $600k at this point, and that’s a good thing.

      • When comparing Bradley and Klinsmann, you are neglecting a number of important points. Under Bradley, the team always played hard. People may not have liked his style, but the team always played with a lot of determination and character. It never quit. Compare it to the recent games of the US team.

        Bradley was called bunker Bob. Yet, Klinsmann has played bunker football much more often than Bradley ever did. Just look at the Belgium and Germany games at WC-14. Utter embarassment. I don’t think I had ever seen the USMNT bunker down the way they did those two games (and I had been watching the team play since early 80s). Many of the great results achieved by Klinsmann (Italy and Mexico games, for example) were achieved exactly in that way — by parking the bus. Yet, for some reason, no one has ever called Klinsmann bunker Jurgen.

        And do you remember Bradley ever publicly berating, blaming, and criticising his players the way Klinsmann has constantly done?

        Another important difference. You can lament the absence of talent in this country. Bradley didn’t have much talent to work with either, but Klinsmann has a large pool of German (and other European) players that Bradley never had.

        And when you can just compare the results, Bradley’s are clearly better. Winning its WC group vs coming in second. No worse than 2nd place in the Gold Cup vs the very recent embarassment.

      • +1 Not a lot of people bring up those points when defending JK. Outside of the Portugal game, I was embarrassed by our style of play at the WC and GC.

      • You seem to forget that Bradley had the best US player ever playing for him at the WC.

        These comparisons are just plain stupid.

      • Of course, you can’t say why they’re stupid. If I were to say that your statemnt was stupid, I’d be much more closer to the truth than you.

        And by the way, remind me, why didn’t Klinsmann have “the best US player ever playing for him at the WC.”?

      • I have to disagree with you in a large part. Players played hard for JK until the last couple games. Really the last year was hard, but there is a always a post-world cup lay off since there is am emotional let and often a rebuilding process beginning.

        I can remember a few times under the Bradley when the team looked not into at a certain times. However, THAT IS ON THE PLAYERS and their professionally. If I hire you and you don’t like the supervisor I place you under, it is still YOUR job to work hard and act professionally. Players not showing up in shape for January camp is unprofessional and acting entitled. The one thing that worried me in the Brazil game was the fact that team didn’t hustle which I could not get.

        “And do you remember Bradley ever publicly berating, blaming, and criticising his players the way Klinsmann has constantly done”. I will admit that BB never public berated his players, but he NEVER said anything publicly,which I kinda like. Fans feel too entitled to know everything. That being said, JK does not publicly berate individual players publicly. In fact, what he does do is talk down to US Fans and Media which is annoying so he should be shocked that they do not like him.

        “And when you can just compare the results, Bradley’s are clearly better. Winning its WC group vs coming in second. No worse than 2nd place in the Gold Cup vs the very recent embarrassment.” I agree that coming 4th is an embarrassment, but please do not try to sell me wining the 2010 group is an achievement. That was arguably the weakest group that the US has ever had in a World Cup. Even past players (Wynalda, Lalas) were saying it during the build up to the World Cup. Your seeded team was an overrated England and a weak Slovenia and Weak Algeria. US was never going to win a group where the best team was the World Cup champion. Additionally, if Cameron had not made either one of his 2 errors, US would have had 6 points (most in our history).

        “Another important difference. You can lament the absence of talent in this country. Bradley didn’t have much talent to work with either, but Klinsmann has a large pool of German (and other European) players that Bradley never had.” The issue, as I state is the depth in mediocrity. There are more German players, but most are mediocre level players. To me, the only ones that stand out are FJ and JJ for now and Brooks and Kieswetter (sp?) for the future. You can only start 11 players and play 14. I would argue that the front 6 was better in 06-11 than 11-14. That being said, the future 18-23 yr olds look very good.

        Finally, I have been a USMNT fan since ’89 ( the days of Desmond Armstrong, Paul Caligiuri). Brazil and Belgium were an embarrassment. However, as a long term fan, you cannot honestly saw with a straight face that you haven’t seen US bunker as badly. Klinsman is fairly predictable in that he attacks in games that he views don’t mean that much to see what we can do, but to games he regards as important against teams he fears, he bunkers.

      • Why do you say that … it’s not like one of their guys got a straight red in the group stage or anything crazy like that. Oh wait ….

        Seriously though, you’d already expect Honduras’ backline to have trouble with the USA considering the game’s in the US and the Americans will be far more rested. Now, add in they have to start their 3rd choice CD, and their mountain just gets higher.

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