Nine-Man U.S. Team Gives Up Late Goal, Falls 2-1 to Honduras
"We struggled in the first half and we solved the problem in the second half," U.S. coach Clive Charles said. "It looked like we were going to win the game, but we made two youthful errors and you can't win with eight players on the field."
U.S. midfielder Pete Vagenas scored his second goal in as many games for the Americans, knotting the score at 1-1 with a drive from the top of the box in the 56th minute. Ryan Futagaki's corner kick from the right side was long and DaMarcus Beasley chased down the ball and sent it back toward the middle, where it squirted to Vagenas near the top of the box.
Vagenas' goal seemed to give the United States momentum, as two minutes later Sasha Victorine broke down the right side of the field and his cross just missed an open Ryan Futagaki in front of the goal.
The momentum swung to the Hondurans in the 68th minute when Cory Gibbs was whistled for a tackle from behind on Elvis Turcios and was promptly showed a red card by referee Carlos Batres.
Five minutes later the U.S. was reduced to nine men when Evan Whitfield was shown his second yellow card of the game for pulling Felix Pavon to the ground.
Despite being outnumbered, the United States nearly went ahead and again it was Victorine who gave the Honduras' defense trouble. Victorine, a first-half substitute for Landon Donovan, outpaced Jamie Rosales down the left side and carried the ball into the penalty area where Noel Valladares did well to come off his line and deflect the Victorine shot.
Following Victorine's effort, Honduras began to take advantage of the two-man edge. In the 78th minute, a Honduran corner kick made its way through three U.S. defenders and fell to the feet of Luis Ramirez, who knocked the ball into the roof of the net from seven yards out.
Honduras dominated play in the opening half as the United States seemed tentative from the outset.
Jaimo Martinez opened the scoring for Honduras in the 15th minute, taking a perfectly paced ball from Carlos Salinas and outracing Carlos Bocanegra down the left side before touching the ball over a sliding Tim Howard.
The lead could have been greater if not for a tremendous save from Howard on Turcios from eight yards out in the 21st minute. Howard came up with five saves in the match.
The United States now sits tied at the top of Group B with three points. Jamaica, Cuba and Honduras also have three points, but Jamaica and Honduras have only played one game.
The United States will not play again until July 29, when they will take on Jamaica at 7:00 p.m. at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex.