SAN JOSE, Calif. (March 24, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team used a hat trick from Clint Dempsey as well as goals from Sebastian Lletget, Michael Bradley and Christian Pulisic to earn an emphatic 6-0 Final Round World Cup Qualifying win against Honduras at Avaya Stadium. The victory gives the U.S. its first three points of the Hexagonal and pushes the team into fourth place, just one point behind Tuesday’s opponents Panama for CONCACAF’s third and final automatic World Cup berth.
The U.S. was clinical in front of goal all night, converting six of the eight shots it put on target. That finishing touch told from the outset as it took the U.S. just five minutes to gain a lead when Lletget tallied his first international goal by finishing Pulisic’s deflected shot at the back post. The U.S. doubled the advantage through Bradley in the 27th minute, before Pulisic slipped Dempsey in on goal to score his first in the 32nd, sending the MNT into halftime with a 3-0 advantage.
The U.S. was relentless coming out of the locker room, with Pulisic converting 12 seconds into the second half to give the MNT a 4-0 lead. A well-worked play between Jozy Altidore and Pulisic led to Dempsey finishing his second of the game in the 49th minute, before the veteran forward scored his third from a brilliant free kick in the 54th minute. Dempsey’s hat trick is the second of his international career and first by a U.S. player in World Cup Qualifying since Jozy Altidore bagged all three in a 3-0 U.S. win on April 1, 2009 vs. Trinidad & Tobago
The win is the largest margin of victory for the U.S. against Honduras as well as the team’s biggest in the Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT looks for another three points as it travels south to take on third-place Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City on Tuesday, March 28 at 10 p.m. ET on beIN Sports, Telemundo and Universo.
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|2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying - CONCACAF Final Round Standings|
|Trinidad & Tobago||3||1||2||0||3||2||5||-3|
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Sebastian Lletget, 5th minute: The Honduras defense struggled to control the USA’s early high press, with Ever Alvarado popping a clearance straight up in the air. Jozy Altidore chested it down and began a nice combination with Christian Pulisic, sending the 18-year-old into the box along on the left. The MNT midfielder rifled a quick shot that deflected off the goalkeeper straight into the path of Lletget, who easily tapped home at the back post. USA 1, HON 0 [WATCH]
USA – Michael Bradley (Alejandro Bedoya), 27th minute: After sustaining some pressure from Honduras, the U.S. double its lead through its captain. Alejandro Bedoya collected a pass on the right sideline and laid it back for Michael Bradley. The veteran midfielder switched towards the left, rounding Jorge Claros to gain more space and unleash a shot that skipped off the wet turf and inside the lower right post. USA 2, HON 0 [WATCH]
USA – Clint Dempsey (Christian Pulisic), 32nd minute: Continuing to press the attack, Darlington Nagbe headed a ball into the path of Pulisic who turned and took a stride before sending a deft chip into the path of Dempsey. With Henry Figueroa on his back, the bullish forward took the ball off his right shoulder before muscling off the Honduras defender and chopping a rising shot past Donis Escober and inside the top right corner. USA 3, HON 0 [WATCH]
USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore), 46th minute: Christian Pulisic started and finished the fourth goal, which came straight from the second-half kickoff. Pulisic laid back to Michael Bradley in the center circle, who chipped a ball to the right sideline for Altidore. The expert forward then nodded ahead for Dempsey, who got a foot to it, but briefly lost possession to Maynor Figueroa. Dempsey won the ball back and played for Altidore, who then threaded Pulisic into the box, where the young attacker coolly finished inside the lower right corner 12 seconds after kicking off. USA 4, HON 0 [WATCH]
USA – Clint Dempsey (Christian Pulisic), 49th minute: After pressure from Pulisic forced a turnover at midfield, Altidore drove up the left flank and centered for Pulisic, who caught Dempsey strolling straight up the middle and a perfectly weighted through ball. The newly returned forward split the Honduran defense and rounded Escober to bury his second of the game. USA 5, HON 0 [WATCH]
USA – Clint Dempsey, 54th minute: After Pulisic earned a free kick just outside the penalty area, Dempsey lined up over the ball and rifled a right-footed blast that swung inside the top left corner to complete his second career hat trick. The goal also pushed Dempsey back past Jozy Altidore and into first on the MNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying goals list with 17. USA 6, HON 0 [WATCH] FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Tim Howard, 16th minute: After Omar Gonzalez made an initial clearance on a through ball, Emilio Izaguirre collected on the left and charged up the flank before centering a cross. The ball fell for Alberth Ellis right at the penalty spot, where he settled with his left before turning to hit a low, right-footed effort that Howard was quick to get down to save.
- Making his World Cup Qualifying debut, Lletget tallied his first international goal in the fifth minute before having to leave the match due to injury in the 18th.
- Bradley’s 27th minute strike was his 16th international goal, sixth all-time in World Cup Qualifying and first since scoring against Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals on July 22, 2015.
- Dempsey recorded his second hat trick and first since July 18, 2015 vs. Cuba. The three goals push him to 17 all-time in World Cup Qualifying, moving him past Jozy Altidore into first for the MNT’s all-time lead.
- Dempsey’s hat trick for the USA is the team’s first in a World Cup Qualifier since Jozy Altidore bagged all three goals against Trinidad and Tobago in a 3-0 U.S. win on April 1, 2009 in Nashville, Tenn.
- The hat trick also pushes Dempsey’s overall goals total to 55, placing him just two behind Landon Donovan for the USA’s all-time lead.
- The goals were Dempsey’s first for the USA since returning from medical problems he suffered over the end of 2016. He last scored against Ecuador in the MNT’s 2-1 win on June 16 in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
- Christian Pulisic’s goal is his third career World Cup Qualifying strike. He previously scored two against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2, 2016 (also in a 6-0 USA win).
- Tim Howard made four saves to earn his 38th career clean sheet.
- After making his international debut on Jan. 29 vs. Serbia, Jorge Villafaña joined Lletget in earning his first World Cup Qualifying cap.
- The U.S. Men’s National Team moves to 16-4-4 all-time against Honduras and has gone 13-2-3 on U.S. soil.
- The MNT has now gone 6-2-1 against Los Catrachos in World Cup Qualifying.
- Bruce Arena moves his career record vs. Honduras to 6-1-0 all-time.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Honduras
Date: March 24, 2016
Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia - Qualifier
Venue: Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PT
Weather: 56 degrees; raining
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 3 6
HON 0 0 0
USA – Sebastian Lletget 5th minute
USA – Michael Bradley (Alejandro Bedoya) 27
USA – Clint Dempsey (Christian Pulisic) 32
USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore) 46
USA – Clint Dempsey (Christian Pulisic) 49
USA – Clint Dempsey 54
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Jorge Villafaña, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 6-John Brooks (14-Tim Ream, 70), 20-Geoff Cameron (19-Graham Zusi, 59); 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 9-Sebastian Lletget (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 18), 10-Christian Pulisic, 15-Darlington Nagbe; 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 12-David Bingham, 22-Nick Rimando; 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 21-Walker Zimmerman; 13-Kellyn Acosta, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 23-Dax McCarty; 18-Chris Wondolowski
Head coach: Bruce Arena
HON: 22-Donis Escober; 7-Emilio Izaguirre (14-Boniek Garcia, 46), 3-Maynor Figueroa (capt.), 4-Henry Figueroa, 5-Ever Alvarado, 21-Brayan Beckeles; 20-Jorge Claros, 15-Roger Espinoza; 12-Romell Quioto (11-Erick Andino, 43) 19-Alberth Elis, 17-Andy Najar (8-Oliver Morazan, 61)
Subs not used: 1-Luis Lopez, 18-Ricardo Canales, 2-Felix Crisianto, 6-Allans Vargas, 23-Cesar Oseguera; 10-Mario Martinez, 16-Carlos Disuca, 9-Anthony Lozano, 13-Eddie Hernandez
Head coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 9 / 11
Shots on Goal: 8 / 4
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 0 / 7
Fouls: 15 / 8
Offside: 2 / 2
HON – Ever Alvarado (caution) 15th minute
USA – Geoff Cameron (caution) 25
Referee: Walter Lopez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Gerson Lopez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
4th Official: Oscar Reyna (GUA)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint DempseyRead more
USA vs. Honduras
2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Final Round
March 24, 2017
Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.
Live Broadcast: 10:30 p.m. ET on FS1, UniMas, UDN
Today’s U.S. MNT Starting XI vs. Honduras: 1-Tim Howard, 2-Jorge Villafaña, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 6-John Brooks, 8-Clint Dempsey, 9-Sebastian Lletget, 10-Christian Pulisic, 15-Darlington Nagbe, 17-Jozy Altidore, 20-Geoff Cameron
Substitutes: 12-David Bingham, 22-Nick Rimando, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 13-Kellyn Acosta, 14-Tim Ream, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 19-Graham Zusi, 21-Walker Zimmerman, 23-Dax McCarty
- The veteran trio of Geoff Cameron, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard all return to the MNT lineup after recovering from recent injuries.
- Cleared to come back after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat last August, Dempsey makes his first MNT appearance since the Copa America Third-Place Match vs. Colombia on June 25, 2016.
- Howard makes his first MNT appearance since suffering a right adductor fracture in the USA’s World Cup Qualifying match vs. Mexico on Nov. 11, 2016.
- After coming back from an MCL strain suffered while playing with Stoke City, Cameron returns to the MNT lineup for the first time since Oct. 7, 2016 at Cuba. The veteran defender makes his 50th MNT appearance tonight vs. Honduras.
- After making their MNT debuts on Jan. 29 vs. Serbia, midfielder Sebastian Lletget and defender Jorge Villafaña earn their first World Cup Qualifying caps tonight.
- Dempsey (four) and Jozy Altidore (two) have both previously scored against Honduras, with each tallying once in World Cup Qualifying against Los Catrachos. Dempsey scored in the MNT’s 2-1 defeat at Honduras on Feb. 6, 2013, while Altidore found the lone goal in a 1-0 win on June 18, 2013.
- Sitting first and second on the MNT’s all-time World Cup Qualifying goals list, Altidore (16) and Dempsey (14) start up top together for the 17th time. When paired together, the duo has combined for 19 goals, with five of those coming against Honduras (Dempsey 4, Altidore 1).
- Tonight’s match marks the sixth time that John Brooks and Omar Gonzalez will partner in the center of a four-man back line.
- Captain Michael Bradley makes his 129th international appearance tonight.
- Almost a year to the date of his MNT debut, Christian Pulisic earns his fifth start and 12th international cap tonight.
- Darlington Nagbe earns his first World Cup Qualifying appearance since March 25, 2016 at Guatemala.
- The MNT Starting XI combines for 175 caps and 39 goals all-time in World Cup Qualifying: Clint Dempsey (36/14), Jozy Altidore (34/16), Tim Howard (33/0), Michael Bradley (31/5), Geoff Cameron (19/2), Omar Gonzalez (12/0), Christian Pulisic (5/2), Darlington Nagbe (3/0), John Brooks (2/0).
- The U.S. Men’s National Team holds a 15-4-4 all-time advantage against Honduras and has gone 12-2-3 on U.S. soil.
- The MNT has gone 5-2-1 against Los Catrachos in World Cup Qualifying.
- Bruce Arena managed against Honduras six times during his first tenure as MNT manager, going 5-1-0.
Any competitive elite soccer player will tell you that being a consistent starter is the goal. You want to be on the field representing your team and battling from the first minute to the last. That said, being a substitute may be even harder mentally. Not everyone is the best player coming off the bench. To be a good reserve, you must be mentally locked in, resilient and ready to make something happen to provide a boost when your team might need it the most.
2016 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Shannon MacMillan, better known as Mac, played 176 games for the USA. She started her fair share of matches, but came off the bench 62 times, the most substitute appearances of any player, besides Heather O’Reilly, who has played 175 or more games for the USA.
“Shannon was the type of player, that whether she was starting or coming off the bench, she always made an impact,” former U.S. WNT captain and teammate Julie Foudy said.
MacMillan battled hard when it came to establishing her role in the Women’s National Team pool. At times during her career she was in and out of the both the squad and the starting lineup. The ups-and-downs served only strengthen her and helped mold her into the vital player she became for the USA.
MacMillan scored 60 goals for the USA, but perhaps none was bigger than her game-winning golden goal against Norway in the semifinal of the 1996 Olympics. Norway had knocked the USA out of the 1995 Women’s World Cup a year earlier, and their celebration was not what you would call classy.
“I just remember her making this incredible diagonal run,” said former teammate Mia Hamm of MacMillan’s Olympic semifinal score. “I remember her seeing running through the midfield, and then she just cuts across and lays it in with such grace and composure. No big deal, finishes it off and finishes Norway off.”
Three days later, this time as a starter, she got the USA going in the gold medal game, scoring the first goal in the 2-1 victory against China.
“In the final, the Chinese goalkeeper made an incredible save (on Hamm’s shot), but then there’s Shannon right there to slot it home first time for us,” Hamm said of the 19th minute goal. “For her to give us that boost and confidence going in for the rest of the game was huge.”
The goal embodied a common topic when former teammates and coaches talk about MacMillan: she always delivered. She gave the team an extra lift and always kept a positive attitude, a strong work ethic and a love for the game.
Currently, MacMillan is the director of club operations for the Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Soccer Club in her native San Diego, passing on those qualities and her passion for the game to the next generation of young players.
Achieving fame and a legendary status in sports usually comes because of a combination of two things: 1) you’re one of the best at your craft and, 2) you are the author of a moment (or moments) so mythical, that it remains etched in the minds of generations to come.
Think Jason Lezak’s come-from-behind relay swim against France in the 2008 Olympics, or Keri Strugg landing her vault despite a badly injured ankle in the 1996 Olympic Games. Think Abby Wambach’s last-minute header against Brazil at the 2011 Women’s World Cup, or Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup.
The reason these moments are unforgettable is because they happened when it mattered most. In a competition when everything was at stake, when you needed to call upon the preparation that every drop of sweat, every tear, and every hour of training had given you.
They happened in do-or-die situations when the number of people watching was massive and everyone was on the edge of their seat, waiting, hoping for the dream to come true and then… the dream does.
U.S. Soccer has had a few of these moments that brought a nation to its feet, moments that spurned thousands headlines and brought tears of joy to fans of all ages. Whether more recent moments, like the Donovan or Wambach goals, or Carli Lloyd’s epic hat-trick performance in the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final, or even years ago, when the 1950 World Cup men’s team defeated powerhouse England in one of the most shocking upsets in international soccer, these indelible marks were left on this organization, on this country and its people.
But even among these legendary moments there is one that stands out from the rest. A moment that changed women’s soccer in the United States and around the world: Brandi Chastain’s final penalty kick in shootout at the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final.
“You need a couple days to talk about Brandi as a player,” former WNT captain and teammate Julie Foudy said. “She had this passion that just oozed out of her for the game. It was contagious. She always wanted to learn and get better. When she stepped up to that penalty spot, I knew we had won it.”
Chastain’s left-footed blast into the upper left corner against China PR was the kick that won the 1999 Women’s World Cup, but her celebration became as historic as her goal. Once the ball rippled the net, Chastain ripped her shirt off as she fell to her knees and screamed while pumping her arms in perhaps one of the most unbridled displays of joy ever witnessed in sports.
"Before the kick, the stadium was so incredibly quiet - it's amazing how 90,000-plus people could be silent - if I had to stop, I could hear my heart beating," Chastain said recalling the moment she stepped up to the penalty spot. “I had no idea that would be my reaction. It was truly genuine and it was insane and it was a relief and it was joy and it was gratitude all wrapped into one.”
Chastain had a highly successful 12-year career with the U.S. Women’s National Team. She played in 192 international matches and scored 30 goals from 1988-2004. A two-time Olympic gold medalist (1996 and 2004) and silver medalist (2000), she was the first U.S. player to score five goals in one match, accomplishing the feat in 1991 during World Cup Qualifying as a forward when she came off the bench to score the first five goals of her career.
While she debuted for the USA in 1988 as a forward (her college position), the vast majority of her international caps were earned after she converted to a defender from 1996-2004. She competed in three FIFA Women’s World Cups (1991, 1999 and 2003), winning world titles in 1991 and 1999 and enters the Hall of Fame as a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee.
Chastain may have gained world-wide fame – and the covers of Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and Time – for that famous moment, and while it may be what people remember the most, it’s what the moment meant for the game that has made the biggest impact on women’s sports.
“Women's soccer was not anonymous anymore.” Chastain said.
A crowd of 90,185 witnessed history at the Rose Bowl on a sweltering day in Pasadena, California back on July 5, 1999. And more than 40 million people watched it on television in the U.S. alone. But it’s the millions of little girls and young women that were drawn to play sports or to reach for their dreams in anything they choose. It was the empowerment of that moment that was resonated 18 years later.
That’s the beauty of sports. They can be unpredictable and cruel yet glorious and life-changing.
“Yes, the sport is great and soccer is great and winning is great, but the bigger picture is that Brandi always inspired these girls to play and enjoy the gift of sport,” Foudy said. “That’s something she brought every day.”Read more
The USA’s World Cup Qualifying series with Honduras has served up memorable matches at every turn. Ahead of USA-Honduras, presented by Volpi Foods, take a photographic look back at the series with the players that were heroes along the way.
Following a wild set of matches in 2002 FIFA World Cup Qualifying the U.S. earned two comeback wins during the 2009 Hexagonal, sending the team on its way to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Current MNT captain Michael Bradley and other players look back on the most recent series during the 2013 Hexagonal.
Feb. 6, 2013 – Honduras 2, USA 1
The U.S. opened the Final Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying with a difficult away fixture in Honduras. Wanting to get off on the right foot, the home side elected for an early afternoon kickoff, when the sun and heat were at their highest, to give Los Catrachos more of a home-field advantage.
“It was a brutal day,” remembers MNT captain Michael Bradley. “It was hot as could be, humid and this was back when there were still single fixture dates. I believe this was a game on a Wednesday where we had all played on the weekend and were returning right after the game to play another game with our club teams. As usual, we met in Miami on Sunday or Monday, flew down to Honduras, trained once in the stadium and then played.
“Those fixtures were always whirlwinds, and when you add in the fact that most of us were playing in places where in February the weather was cool [eight of the 11 starters were playing in Europe at the time], it meant that it was a real challenge in terms of the conditions and getting ourselves ready. It was early afternoon, very hot and the grass there is traditionally left very long and is slow and thick. We knew from the beginning it was going to be a tough day.”
As expected, the early moments of the match saw Honduras on the front foot, but the U.S. sustained the pressure as they served up a few opportunities that Tim Howard easily dealt with.
“We were having to defend and take care of some things, but I don’t think it was huge chance after huge chance. Nonetheless, they had the upper hand and they were looking at home to really be aggressive. We were able to withstand some pressure and quite honestly you’re always going to have to do that on the road in qualifying.”
The U.S. picked its moments and came close when Eddie Johnson crossed for Jozy Altidore who’s flick-on redirection grazed just over the bar in the 29th minute.
Two more Honduras chances came just after the half-hour mark when Roger Espinoza made his way into the box and pushed the ball past Tim Howard, only to have Fabian Johnson clear the danger away from lurking Honduras forward Jerry Bengtson. Moments later, Espinoza forced a turnover at the back which led to Mario Martínez blasting a shot that Howard had to punch over the bar.
Against that pressure, the U.S. found the go-ahead goal in the 36th minute. A small bit of possession in midfielder resulted in Jermaine Jones sending a weighted ball into the area, where Clint Dempsey timed his run before volleying past Noel Valladares and inside the left post.
“There are going to be periods where you have to deal with the home team really being aggressive and coming at you and you have to understand in those moments how to take care of things and still not give anything away,” Bradley said. “I thought we were able to do that and obviously it ends with the fact that we were able to get a really good goal to go up 1-0.”
While the U.S. looked to take the lead into halftime, the goal instead galvanized Honduras, who struck back three minutes later. Following a corner kick, defender Victor Bernárdez chased down a ball in the right corner and crossed for Maynor Figueroa. The center back chested the ball up in the air where Juan Carlos García rose to slam home a bicycle kick inside the top left post.
“To give away a goal right after we went up 1-0 and right before halftime was not ideal in any way. In a game like that if you can take your goal into halftime and they’ll have a little bit of time to regroup and get yourselves ready for the second half. That makes a big difference.”
Halftime did little to quell the Honduras attack. Oscar Boniek García fired just wide of Howard’s goal in the 52nd minute and what looked like the go-ahead goal was waved off when Carlo Costly was judged to be offside.
“We couldn’t make a play. Obviously the longer the game goes, the heat and travel certainly come into play. In the end, those are thing we’ve all dealt with before and to not be able to walk out of there with a point was very disappointing.”
Tiring in the afternoon heat, the U.S. mostly bunkered in hopes of stealing a point, but finally conceded what would stand as the game-winner in the 79 the minute. A worn-out U.S. defense saw Figueroa slip Boniek Garcia through before sliding for Jerry Bengtson who finished into an empty net.
“I just remember us being slow to react all afternoon and a little bit sluggish and you see that on both of the goals we gave away.”
June 18, 2013 – USA 1, Honduras 0
The U.S. rebounded from that opening defeat, earning a 1-0 victory against Costa Rica in the famous SnowClasico on March 22 before an historic 0-0 draw away to Mexico four days later. Entering the summer set of qualifiers, the MNT used a late goal from Brad Evans to earn a 1-0 win at Jamaica on June 7, and goals from Eddie Johnson and Jozy Altidore to take a 2-0 home win vs. Panama on June 13.
Those four results gave the MNT plenty of momentum going into the June 18 date against Honduras in Salt Lake City, with a win vs. Los Catrachos likely setting the U.S. up for qualification come the September international window.
Playing at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, the U.S. pressed the attack early on, with Clint Dempsey’s seventh-minute header going just wide of the right post. Moments later, Fabian Johnson exploited the left flank and crossed for Eddie Johnson whose one-time effort was only kept out with a sprawling save from Valladares.
A scoreless first half led to more U.S. chances in the second, with Dempsey leading the way.
The veteran forward’s snap header was well-saved in the 56th minute. Four minutes later, a wild scramble in the box concluded with Dempsey heading the ball down where Honduras midfielder Wilson Palacios committed a clear hand ball, yet avoided a penalty kick. In the 70th minute, Graham Zusi crossed for Dempsey again, but his glancing header was again kept out by Valladares.
Just as it looked like the goal might not fall for the U.S., Dempsey and Johnson worked a quick combination up the left, before centering for Altidore who coolly finished to the back post, scoring in his fourth-consecutive U.S. match.
The MNT locked down and closed out the game, and that September defeated Mexico 2-0 in Columbus to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.Read more