Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Honduras 2 - United States of America 1

San Pedro Sula was the locale as Honduras welcomed the United States of America to town for the first of the thirty matches in the CONCACAF Fourth Round.  The flow of the early minutes was completely in the favor of los Catrachos as they took advantage of the slow start by the United States, who were adjusting to an unbalanced formation in which they had never before played.  Nevertheless, the Americans weathered the storm as goalkeeper Tim Howard made an excellent punching save from Catracho winger Mario Martinez, who tried to curl a ball over Howard when Howard strayed a bit off his line.  Honduras nearly had the opener on one other occasion, but American fullback Fabian Johnson stepped around his mark at the last moment to steal the pass that was about to result in a tap-in goal.  The Americans found a jewel of a goal when center midfielder Jermaine Jones knocked a brilliant elevated through ball that was volleyed home from an angle by Clint Dempsey (pictured, blue).  The 1-0 lead was short-lived, however, as the Americans did not handle an overhit corner very well three minutes later.  Victor Bernardez (pictured, white #5) chased down the ball, and under no discernible pressure, gathered his wits before crossing to Maynor Figueroa, who chested a ball in the air that allowed Juan Carlos Garcia to unleashed from an amazing bicycle kick to equalize in stunning fashion.  1-1 was the score at intermission.

The Americans seemed to be much more comfortable in the second period, but a spree of substitutions around the hour mark seemed to take away from some of their attacking impetus.  Honduras regained their wits after a sliding block by goalscorer Garcia prevented a goalward shot by Dempsey from troubling their goalkeeper with midway through the period.  From then on, Honduras's defense stood firm, setting the foundation for a quick-strike winner.  On the whole, the young American backline seemed to be slow to react to situations that called for stepping up and closing down space all afternoon, and this habit bit them a second time with under a dozen minutes left in the match.  A through ball from Figueroa to fourteen yards caused indecision between an oncoming Howard and retreating centerback Geoff Cameron, so Oscar Boniek Garcia was able to get a touch across the face of goal from where Jerry Bengston was free to slot home for a 2-1 lead.  Honduras saw the match out comfortably, though an injury forced Bengston off the pitch.  The 2-1 victory for los Catrachos marks their first ever home victory against the United States in a competitive match.  All in all, this was a remarkably clean match, with neither team earning a yellow card as both were wary of conceding set pieces to the other side.

Juan Carlos Garcia 39
Jerry Bengston 79

United States of America
Clint Dempsey 36

Match Reports:


Full Match Video:

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