Recap: USMNT 1–1 Honduras

On a hot and muggy night, on a poor surface, the U.S. played out a relatively dreary 1–1 draw with Honduras, enlivened by one moment of real quality by the U.S. attack and a series of individual defensive interventions.

First half

As alluded to yesterday, Jermaine Jones started in central defense, rather than his usual central midfield berth alongside Michael Bradley. Greg Garza started again at left back, while the midfield shaped up as a diamond behind Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey up top. Interestingly, Mix Diskerud played at the bottom of the diamond with Michael Bradley at the attacking point.

The field was sodden and slow, and attacking play was anything but fluid, at least early on. Dempsey had two bites at the ball off a 6th minute corner, then Altidore jumped on a poor back pass a minute later, but played the ball behind Dempsey and his shot dribbled wide.

In the 10th, however, the U.S. put it together. Diskerud, playing with an aggression unusual for him, won the ball twice in quick succession in midfield, and poked it forward to Bradley. Bradley, as he so often has, got his head up and played a diagonal ball over the defense to Altidore. Altidore took the ball down off his chest, in stride, and drove into the box, cut inside his man, then finished fiercely against the grain at the near post.

Honduras menaced occasionally with its crossing, but rarely connected with an attacker and put an attempt on net. The U.S. nearly gifted Honduras a goal, however, in the 19th. Nick Rimando, renowned for his ball skills, passed the ball out of defense straight to Andy Najar, who cut inside and let fly, but his shot curled high and wide.

A few minutes later, the U.S. nearly doubled their lead. A great flick from Dempsey played ALejandro Bedoya up the left flank. He ran into the box unchallenged and squared for the onrushing Dempsey, but his ball was just too close to the retreating defender, Luis Garrido, who made an excellent, sliding recovery tackle to put the ball out for a corner.

The rest of the half passed with few chances for either side and the U.S. entered the locker room with a one-goal advantage.

Second half

Honduras came into the game in the second half, and nearly all of the chances generated were theirs, with the U.S. making highlights with defensive plays. In the 53rd, Najar tried to take matters into his own hands and run through the whole U.S. team, but was eventually stopped by a recovering Bedoya. Just past the hour mark, and shortly after getting booked for a frustrated foul, Jones did very, very well to make a clean last-man tackle to prevent a goal.

In the 69th, after a defensive switch by Garza and substitute Tim Ream, Honduras played Mario Martinez into the box as he made an incisive run between the center backs, only for Martinez to put his close-range shot into the side-netting.

In the 74th, after the U.S. seemed to have squandered a good opportunity, Yedlin recovered the ball and fed Diskerud at the top of the Honduras box. Diskerud looked covered, but he turned past his defender and slithered into the box, nearly reaching the six before getting smothered.

In the 83rd, Jones, unwilling to allow Quioto any joy, found himself in a rundown with the Honduran. With the ball at Quioto’s feet as they entered the U.S. box, Jones made an immaculate—and forceful—sliding challenge, winning the ball and putting a hurt on Quioto in the process.

A few minutes later, Diskerud tried to emulate Jones, but his tackle was marginally from behind, and he gave up the foul and earned a yellow. It was the best opportunity Honduras had come by in the second half, and Martinez put in a dangerous, fizzing ball. Rising highest at the six, Maynor Figueroa flicked it past a helpless Rimando for the equalizer.

The U.S. had a chance to take the lead back with a set piece of their own in the 90th, even subbing in NASL’s own Miguel Ibarra, but substitute Joe Corona sent the ball over everyone and out. Up the other end, Honduras nearly took the lead themselves when a corner was poorly cleared. Martinez took his snap shot quickly, but Rimando was there to block it.

For the first time all night, the game became stretched, with chances at either end as regular time ended and five minutes of stoppage time began, but neither team deserved a winner, and neither got it.

U.S. verdict

Deja vu: This result was remarkably similar to Friday’s against Ecuador, and means as little. Late substitutions killed what rhythm the U.S. had, and allowed Honduras too much joy. Good information for Klinsmann, all the same.

Diskerud the DM: The unfortunate consequence of his late tackle aside, Diskerud did quite well at the base of the midfield diamond. Indeed, there’s a way to spin his tackle as a positive. That said, it seems odd for him to play behind Michael Bradley when both players seem better suited to a swap.

Bradley the No. 10: As noted above, Bradley just doesn’t seem like a natural playmaker. That seemed obvious in Brazil, and hasn’t changed. While he has that lofted ball over the defense in his locker, his play on the ball is too often too conservative for an attacking player. He turns back toward his defense and recycles the ball, or finds himself level with his center backs.

Miguel Ibarra debuts: A nice story for any Minnesota NASL fans—Miguel Ibarra saw a few minutes in extra time. He did nothing of note, but his appearance was noteworthy enough.

Final thoughts

The U.S.’s long unbeaten streak at home continues and, with the positional experiments tonight, Klinsmann will hopefully have learned useful things about his squad as it stands today. It’s hard to know how much of it will matter four years from now, but that’s how these things go when the cycle is so long.

More importantly, Jozy Altidore scored again, and a very good goal it was, which may be the most important thing about this international break for the U.S.

USA: 22-Nick Rimando; 21-Timmy Chandler, 13-Jermaine Jones, 5-Matt Besler (16-Tim Ream, 64), 14-Greg Garza; 19-Graham Zusi (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 64), 10-Mix Diskerud (9-Miguel Ibarra, 90), 4-Michael Bradley (6-Alfredo Morales, 75), 11-Alejandro Bedoya (15-Joe Corona, 78); 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (23-Bobby Wood, 64), 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs Not Used: 3-Michael Orozco, 12-Bill Hamid, 18-Chris Wondolowski
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

HON: 22-Donis Escober; 13-Wilmer Crisanto, 3-Maynor Figueroa (capt.), 5-Victor Bernárdez, 7-Emilio Izaguirre; 20-Jorge Claros (23-Edder Delgado, 46), 19-Luis Garrido, 14-Oscar Boniek García (8-Juan Josue Rodríguez, 69), 17-Andy Najar (10-Mario Martínez, 62); 9-Alberth Elis (12-Marvin Chávez, 75), 21-Roger Rojas (11-Romell Quioto, 46)
Subs Not Used: 1-Kevin Hernández, 4-Henry Figueroa, 6-Bryan Acosta, 15-Wilfredo Barahona, 16-Javier Portillo
Head Coach: Hernan Medford

Scoring Summary
USA – Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley) — 10
HON – Maynor Figueroa (Emilio Izaguirre) — 86

Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 8 / 11
Shots on Goal: 1 / 3
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 4 / 11
Fouls: 15 / 11
Offside: 2 / 3

Misconduct Summary
HON – Jorge Claros (caution)– 16
USA – Matt Besler (caution)– 22
HON – Romel Quioto (caution)– 50
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution)– 60
USA – Mix Diskerud (caution)– 85
HON – Luis Garrido (caution) — 89

Referee: Yadel Martinez (CUB)
Assistant Referee 1: Jairo Morales (PUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Caleb Wales (TRI)
4th Official: Sandy Vasquez (DOM)

Competition: International Friendly
Venue: FAU Stadium; Boca Raton, Florida
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Attendance: 14,805
Weather: 83 degrees, partly cloudy


  1. Bradley at CAM and Mix at CDM makes sense given that JK wants to play up tempo and build out of the back.

    While Rimando has always played behind Howard and Guzan, he is the best of the three with the ball at his feet. Jones and Belser as centerbacks are both comfortable on the ball and good at distributing. Garza and Chandler like to get up the wings in attack. Zusi and Bedoya as the shuttlers like to get forward fast.

    I think JK switched Mix and Bradley because Mix wants to move forward as soon as he is on the ball. Bradley has a tendency to move backward first either on the dribble or with a pass which slows down the attack. Playing him higher also is usually coupled with higher defensive pressing because of his fitness and work rate. The idea was to press high up the field to force turnovers then play up tempo and get forward as soon as the ball is turned over.

    Also as a sort of side note, I think JK is getting frustrated with Bradley’s play because he does tend to drop deep, slow down play, and move backwards more often then not. Hence, playing him higher and trying to force him to play more offensively as well as his comments that he needs to stay at a high level while playing in the MLS. JK was hired to change the team’s style toward a more possession/attacking approach and so far, Bradley has not been able to change his style of play. Don’t get me wrong, Bradley is one of my favorite players, but he needs to change his mentality and play if he is going to continue to be one of the automatic selections.

    • Mostly agree. I found there was often a gaping hole in the middle when either Mix and Bradley were too far up the field or in the instances when one was not dropping back. against Honduras, no big deal. Against France, Spain, Argentina, Chile- big deal.
      I have to say. I really like the idea of J.J. at CB. He is an intelligent player and very physical and an automatic IMO over the likes of Gonzalez.

      • Jermaine Jones and Edu as a center back pairing?

      • Stable. though I like Beesler a lot. I think Jones makes a weakness a strength on the back 4. Give hime 15-20 games to really develop the mindset and he’s lock down at CB. I can take or leave Chandler- Fabian is the man for that job, Jones will have to fix Timmy’s mistake once a game. I like Beesler as mentioned and Garza looks quick minded and like a fine wine over the last ten years — that is now ready to bloom in the glass. Give it a swirl.
        A point of strength to build out of the back from. Make no mistake this is JK’s plan. Jones helps solidify that.

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