FIFA World Cup Qualifier
June 6 – Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Soldier Field – Chicago, Ill.
LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK: The U.S. takes the field in Chicago looking to rebound from a disappointing defeat at the hands of Costa Rica three days earlier. The 3-1 loss to Los Ticos extended the USA's winless run at Saprissa, but as disappointing as the result was, Bob Bradley's team needs to shift gears quickly as they host Honduras at Soldier Field. Midfielder Michael Bradley is suspended for the game, having picked up his second booking of the final round in the game against Costa Rica. The U.S. has not faced Honduras in World Cup qualifying since a Sept. 1, 2001 final round game at RFK Satdium. The 3-2 loss marks the last time the U.S. has lost at home in a World Cup qualifier, having gone an impressive 15-0-1 in WCQs since. Honduras, meanwhile, are looking to qualify for their first FIFA World Cup since 1982 and boast arguably the strongest squad in the history of the Central American nation. Reinaldo Rueda's team will look to build on Matchday 3's victory over Mexico by repeating their memorable feat from nearly eight years ago. Coverage on ESPN and Galavision begins at 7 p.m. CT. Fans can also follow along on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker.
- The U.S. team arrived into Chicago early Thursday morning after departing Costa Rica immediately following Wednesday night’s match. The five-hour flight put the team on the ground around 7:30 a.m. local time.
- Michael Bradley is suspended for the match after picking up his second caution in qualifying in the 3-1 loss to Costa Rica. Honduras will be without midfielder Julio César de León.
- Six players on the U.S. roster are carrying yellow cards into Chicago: Jozy Altidore, Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey, Frankie Hejduk, Sacha Kljestan, and Oguchi Onyewu. Should they receive another caution, it will result in a one match suspension.
- As for Honduras, they bring six expected starters into Soldier Field with yellows: Victor Bernardez, Maynor Figueroa, Amado Guevara, Hendry Thomas, Danilo Turcios and Carlos Costly.
- Brian Ching has been ruled out of Saturday night's match against Honduras as he continues to recover from a hamstring strain that he aggravated earlier in the week. Ching, who has four goals in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, will be replaced on the roster by Conor Casey.
- Casey, the MLS Player of the Month for May, has nine career caps, the most recent in the USA's 2-0 qualifying win against Guatemala on Nov. 19 in Commerce City, Colo.
- Frankie Hejduk continues to be evaluated to gauge his availability for the weekend.
- The goal 79 seconds into the match against Costa Rica was the second fastest ever scored against the U.S. in World Cup qualifying, only behind a first minute goal by Carlos Hermosillo in a 2–2 draw with Mexico in 1997.
- The 3-1 defeat also ended a 13 match run in which the U.S. had not lost by more than one goal. The last two-goal deficit came against England, a 2-0 loss on May 28, 2008 in London.
- With his 92nd minute goal against Costa Rica, Landon Donovan moved into a first-place tie with Brian McBride on the USA’s all-time scoring list in World Cup qualifying with 10 career goals.
- Donovan has 29 career appearances in World Cup qualifying, two shy of the all-time leaders Brian McBride, Eddie Pope and Claudio Reyna.
- Clint Dempsey earned his 50th international cap Wednesday night. He has 13 career goals, including four in World Cup qualifying.
- Meantime, Marvell Wynne made his first start in World Cup qualifying in only his third appearance for the full team. Sacha Kljestan reached double digits in caps in qualifying when he entered as a half-time substitute Jose Francisco Torres, who made his second start in the 2010 campaign.
- The U.S. is playing its third home game of the final round of qualifying, having picked up consecutive shutout victories against Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago.
- The U.S. has a lifetime record of 7-2-3 against Honduras, with a 2-1-1 record in World Cup qualifying. That one loss came in Washington D.C. however, proving that the Hondurans will not be intimidated on American soil where the U.S. is 5-1-2 against them.
- Against Central American nations, the U.S. is 48-18-19 all-time. On home soil, the U.S. improves to .769 with a 40-4-8 record.
- Six players on the current roster played Honduras in their last meeting, a 2-1 Gold Cup semifinal victory in East Rutherford, N.J. on July 21, 2005: Oguchi Onyewu, Frankie Hejduk, Clint Dempsey, Pablo Mastroeni, Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley.
- Onyewu scored his first national team goal against Honduras, a game-winner in the 92nd minute that sent the U.S. into the final of 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Panama.
- In the last home game against Trinidad & Tobago, the 19 year old Altidore scored the third U.S. hat trick in FIFA World Cup qualifying, with all three goals coming off assists from Donovan.
- Altidore is now the leading U.S. goal scorer of this FIFA World Cup qualifying cycle with five goals in six appearances. Ching, Dempsey and Bradley are all tied for second on the U.S. squad with four each.
- The three assists put Donovan’s U.S. all-time leading total to 36. The next closest on this roster is Beasley with 12 assists.
- Dempsey recorded two game-winning goals in FIFA World Cup qualifying last year—against Barbados on June 15 in Carson, Calif., and in a 1-0 win on Sept. 6 in Cuba.
- Beasley (Oct. 11 against Cuba), Bocanegra (Aug. 20 against Guatemala) and Altidore (April 1 against Trinidad & Tobago) are the other players on the roster with game-winners in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
- Beasley has played a team-leading 912 minutes so far out of a possible 1,080 in World Cup qualifying (84 percent of all possible minutes). This performance is just over one year removed from a six-month injury layoff due to a torn PCL in his right knee.
- Honduras enters the game with a 6-3-2 record in qualifying for 2010, but an inconsistent 2-2-1 record in their last five matches. Their last game was an impressive 3-1 victory against Mexico on April 1 in San Pedro Sula
- The U.S., on the other hand, enters the match with a 9-2-1 record in qualifying
- Trailing the U.S. by three points in the final round hexagonal, the Catrachos are currently in the coveted last guaranteed spot for a place in South Africa, looking to stay ahead of a Mexican side that is just one point behind them.
- This is the first meeting between both teams in qualifying since the 2002 cycle. The U.S. did not face Honduras on their road to Germany 2006.
Average Age: 25
Average Caps: 30
Most Caps: 109 (Landon Donovan)
Least Caps: 3 (Marvell Wynne)
Oldest: 34 (Frankie Hejduk)
Youngest: 19 (Jozy Altidore)
Play professionally in: USA (9), England (5), Germany (2), France (2), Denmark (2), Spain (1), Sweden (1), Belgium (1), Mexico (1), Scotland (1)
CONCACAF FINAL ROUND UPDATE: Four of the teams in the ‘hexagonal’ will be playing their first match of the double fixture, since the Costa Rica-USA match moved up to June 3 due to the USA’s participation in the FIFA Confederations Cup. So what is MatchDay 4 for the rest of the group sees Mexico travel to El Salvador in their first qualifier since the hiring of Javier Aguirre, while Costa Rica ride their 3-1 win into Bacolet, Tobago, and a crucial home match for the Soca Warriors.
HOME IS WHERE THE POINTS ARE: The U.S. has worked hard to establish a dominating presence at home, and the record speaks for itself. The United States has not lost to a regional opponent at home in 52 consecutive matches, amassing a 42-0-10 record since 2001 that includes 13 games in World Cup qualifying. The last loss came Sept. 1, 2001, a 3-2 qualifying loss to Honduras at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. A look at the remarkable streak:
Year Record (Since Sept. 2, 2001) World Cup Qualifying
2001: 1-0-0 (2 GF, 1 GA) 1-0-0 (2 GF, 1 GA)
2002: 7-0-1 (19 GF, 0 GA)
2003: 5-0-1 (16 GF, 2 GA)
2004: 5-0-2 (17 GF, 2 GA) 3-0-1 (12 GF, 1 GA)
2005: 10-0-2 (22 GF, 4 GA 5-0-0 (10 GF, 1 GA)
2006: 1-0-2 (5 GF, 1 GA)
2007: 7-0-1 (15 GF, 3 GA)
2008: 4-0-1 (21 GF, 3 GA) 3-0-0 (11 GF, 1 GA)
2009: 2-0-0 (5 GF, 0 GA) 1-0-0 (2 GF, 0 GA)
Total: 42-0-10 (122 GF, 16 GA) 14-0-1 (40 GF, 4 GA)
SNAPSHOT – HONDURAS: Honduras enters Saturday’s game still confident from a comprehensive 3-1 defeat of Mexico on April 1st, 2009. After missing a spot in the 2002 World Cup by a mere three points, Honduras fell even further when they failed to qualify for the final Hexagonal round of CONCACAF in the run up to Germany 2006. Led by Reinaldo Rueda, the former Colombian national team manager took Honduras into a quarterfinal berth in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Honduras is represented in MLS by captain Amado Guevara, who plays at Toronto FC, and Roger Espinoza at Kansas City. With midfielder Wilson Palacios at Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League, this is a Honduran side that has both the skill and experience to challenge the giants of CONCACAF.
THE USA HAS NOT:
- suffered a shutout loss at home in 23 overall matches (5/23/06 vs. Morocco, 0-1 L)
- lost at home v. CONCACAF opponent in 51 matches (9/1/01 vs. Honduras, 2-3 L)
- been shutout at home in World Cup qualifying in 19 qualifiers (10/11/00 vs. Costa Rica, 0-0 T)
- suffered a shutout loss at home in World Cup qualifying in 36 qualifiers (5/31/85 vs. Costa Rica, 0-1 L)
- suffered a shutout loss in 13 overall matches (6/4/08 @ Spain, 0-1 L)
- lost at home in a FIFA World Cup Qualifying match since September 1, 2001, a streak of 15 games in which the team went 14-0-1.
CARRYING CHAMPIONSHIPS INTO CAMP: Two members of the roster won league championships in Europe this season. Oguchi Onyewu and Standard de Liege won their second Belgium title in a row after a harrowing two match playoff with Anderlecht, winning 2-1 on aggregate. Meanwhile in Scotland, DaMarcus Beasley helped Rangers capture their 52nd Scottish League title. A week later, they collected their second trophy of the season when a 1-0 victory against Falkirk in the FA Cup final handed Rangers the Scottish ‘double’.
SUCCESS IS RELATIVE: On the other end of the spectrum, Michael Bradley helped Borussia Mönchengladbach stave off relegation from the Bundesliga. ‘Gladbach collected 20 points in the second half of the season, including wins in three of their last four matches to guarantee another season in Germany’s top flight.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: With his goal on March 28 in El Salvador, Frankie Hejduk became the 14th different U.S. player to score in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. Hejduk joins Carlos Bocanegra (1) and Oguchi Onyewu (1) as the other defenders to score in qualifying. Jozy Altidore leads all scorers (5), with Brian Ching (4) Clint Dempsey (4) and Michael Bradley (4) just behind him. Landon Donovan (3) and DaMarcus Beasley (2) have also registered multiple goals. Also on the score sheet with one goal each are Freddy Adu, Kenny Cooper, Charlie Davies, Eddie Johnson and Eddie Lewis, who made his goal count as the game-winner on June 22, 2008, against Barbados.
BOB ON THE JOB: Since January of 2007 it has been the charge of U.S. head coach Bob Bradley to achieve the most important goal of any soccer playing nation: qualification for the FIFA World Cup. With 37 games under his belt, seeing more than 70 different players at least once and the process of reaching South Africa in 2010 in full swing, a review of the body of work during the past two years points to the U.S. clearly heading in the right direction. Since the start of the four-year cycle, the U.S. has:
- won six straight FIFA World Cup qualifiers in a row in 2008, a new team record (June 15-Oct. 15)
- defended the CONCACAF Gold Cup title and qualified for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup
- won by the largest margin of victory in U.S. World Cup qualifying history (8-0 vs. Barbados on 6/15/08)
- won back-to-back games in Europe for the first time in team history (Oct. 17, 2007, @ Switzerland and March 26, 2008, @ Poland)
- won three straight matches on the road for the first time in team history (Oct. 17, 2007, @ Switzerland, Nov. 17, 2007 @ South Africa and March 26, 2008, @ Poland)
- played five matches against four teams ranked in the Top 10 in the world at the time they stepped on the field against them (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain)
- played matches on four continents and in two major international tournaments
THE BRADLEY BREAKDOWN
Goals For: 72
Goals Against: 35
Record vs. …
CONCACAF: 15-2-3, 42 GF, 13 GA
CONMEBOL: 1-4-1, 7 GF, 13 GA
UEFA: 5-3-0, 12 GF, 7 GA
AFC: 1-0-0, 4 GF, 1 GA
CAF: 1-0-0, 1 GF, 0 GA
Record when …
Leading at half: 16-0-1
Losing at half: 1-3-1
Tied at half: 7-6-2
BY THE NUMBERS – U.S. IN FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFYING:
0 – Losses at home in qualifying under Bob Bradley
4 – Goals each by Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey Brian Ching in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, tied for second
5 – Goals scored by leading goal scorer Jozy Altidore
6 – Consecutive games the U.S. held opponents scoreless, setting a team record (Oct. 12, 2005 – Oct. 11, 2008)
8 – Total clean sheets kept by Tim Howard and Brad Guzan out of 12 games
10 – Goals in World Cup qualifying career of Landon Donovan, tied for USA’s all-time best
12 – Number of leagues represented on the U.S. roster spread across 10 countries
14 – Number of different goal scorers for the U.S. in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying
36 – Players with at least one appearance in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying
IN FOCUS: HONDURAS
HONDURAS FACT FILE
Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras
Founded: 1951 (Joined FIFA in the same year)
Head Coach: Reinaldo Rueda (Colombia)
Best World Cup Finish: First Round, 1982
Best CONCACAF Gold Cup Finish: Runner-up, 1991
Caps Leader: Amada Guevara (123)
Top Scorer: Carlos Pavon (51)
Key Players: Amado Guevara, Carlos Costly, Wilson Palacios
STAKING THEIR CLAIM: With two victories in qualifying against Mexico already on the books, Honduras has served notice they intend to reach the World Cup for the second time in team history, the first coming in 1982. The roster boasts loads of experience in qualifying competition, with five players boasting at least 25 appearances. Guevara, who played under Bob Bradley at the MetroStars, is the team's engine in midfield. Palacios provides ample support in the middle of the park while the experienced Carlos Pavon gives Honduras strength and a cutting edge up front. Goalscoring is spread throughout the lineup, strikers accounting for nine goals while the midfielders have buried seven of their own. The Catrachos are backstopped by goalkeeper Noel Vallardes, who has 32 qualifying caps to his credit.
HOSTS AGAINST HONDURAS: A host of U.S. players have experience against Honduras at the full international level, with nine players having at least one crack at the Catrachos. Donovan leads the pack with four caps, and also has a pair of goals, scoring both in the first multiple-goal game of his international career in a 4-0 win on March 2, 2003 in Seattle. Gooch got credited with his first international goal in the 2005 Gold Cup semifinal (please don’t remind Gooch about the game against Panama in 2004 – it was the referee who didn’t give him the goal, not us). The rundown:
Howard 1/1 SO
MAKING PK’S COUNT: Pavon is the lone goal scorer who has a notch in his belt against the United States, scoring the penalty that gave his side a 2-1 lead that ended in the 3-2 qualifying win in 2001 in Washington, D.C. At the other end of the park, goalkeeper Noel Vallardes saved an Earnie Stewart penalty attempt late in the first half that would have given the U.S. a 2-1 lead going into the interval.
GIANT KILLERS: Honduras is the only Central American team to ever defeat and eliminate Brazil from a tournament, dispatching them in the 2001 Copa America.
On the field for the USA
June 3, 2009 – Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, San Jose, Costa Rica– FIFA World Cup qualifier, MatchDay 5
Costa Rica 3 Alvaro Saborio 2’, Celso Borges 13’, Pablo Herrera 69’
USA 1 Landon Donovan 92+ (pen)
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Marvell Wynne, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 4-Pablo Mastroeni (11-Freddy Adu, 63), 12-Michael Bradley, 9-José Francisco Torres (16-Sacha Kljestan, 46); 8-Clint Dempsey (15-Charlie Davies, 80), 10-Landon Donovan, 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 18-Brad Guzan, 2-Ricardo Clark, 13-Jonathan Bornstein, 14-Jay DeMerit
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
CRC: 1-Keylor Navas; 15-Harold Wallace (2-Pablo Herrera, 56), 4-Michael Umana, 3-Freddy Fernandez, 17-Junior Diaz; 7-Andy Herron (6-Cristian Bolanos, 72), 5-Celso Borges, 10-Walter Centeno, 8-Esteban Sirias; 11-Bryan Ruiz, 9-Alvaro Saborio (16-Carlos Hernandez, 77)
Subs not used: 18-Ricardo Gonzalez, 12-Andy Furtado, 13-Gonzalo Segares, 14-Armando Alonso
Head Coach: Rodrigo Kenton
On the field for Honduras
April 1, 2009 – Estadio Olimpico, San Pedro Sula, Honduras – FIFA World Cup qualifier, MatchDay 3
Honduras 3 Carlos Costly 17, 79 Carlos Pavon, 43
Mexico 1 Nery Castillo, 82 (penalty)
HON: 18-Noel Valladares; 2-Osman Chavez, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 7-Amado Guevara (Capt.), 8-Wilson Palacios, 9-Carlos Pavon, 10-Julio Cesar De Leon (15-Marvin Chavez, 90), 11-Ramon Nunez (17-Elvis Turcios, 74), 12-Emilio Izaguirre, 13-Carlos Costly (6-Hendry Thomas, 82), 16-Mauricio Sabillon
MEX: 13-Memo Ochoa; 2-Jose Magallon, 3-Carlos Salcido, 5-Fausto Pinto, 7-Luis Perez (12-Matias Vuoso, 46), 8-Pavel Pardo (capt.), 9-Omar Bravo (10-Nery Castillo, 70), 11-Carlos Vela, 14-Leandro Oldoni, 16-Leobardo Lopez (4-Aaron Galindo), 18-Andres Guardado
July 21, 2005 – Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.– 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal
USA 2 John O’Brien, Oguchi Onyewu
Honduras 1 Ivan Guerrero
USA: 18-Kasey Keller (Capt.); 4-Oguchi Onyewu, 23-Eddie Pope (2-Frankie Hejduk, 15), 12-Jimmy Conrad; 14-Chris Armas, 25-Pablo Mastroeni (8-Clint Dempsey, 58), 5-John O’Brien, 10-Landon Donovan; 19-Steve Ralston, 16-Josh Wolff (13-Pat Noonan, 63), 7-DaMarcus Beasley
HON: 1-Victor Coello (22-Junior Morales, 51+), 4-Samuel Caballeros, 21-Erick Vallecilo, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 2-Asthor Enriquez (24-Luis Guifarro, 89); 14-Oscar Garcia, 13-Mario Berrios, 19-Danilo Turcios (8-Wilson Palacios, 75), 23-Ivan Guerrero; 10-Wilmer Velazquez (capt.), 11-Milton Nuñez