ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (March 19, 2005) — The U.S. Men's National Team defeated Honduras 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M., in the team's final tune-up matches for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers on March 27 in Mexico and March 30 in Birmingham, Ala.
The match was an historic milestone for U.S. head coach Bruce Arena, who became the first coach in U.S. Men's National Team history to reach the 100-game plateau, improving his all-time record to 55-23-22.
Forward Eddie Johnson continued his torrid scoring pace, tallying the game’s only goal on the stroke of halftime to extend the USA’s team-record unbeaten run to 16 games. Johnson has now scored seven goals in six career games since making his debut back on Oct. 9, 2004. For the USA, their last lost came more than a year ago and the team is now 11-0-5 in their last 16 games.
On the goal, Clint Mathis of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, struck one of his patented long-range swerving bombs from 35 yards out that beat Honduras goalkeeper Junior Morales and careened off the crossbar with ferocious pace. The shot rebounded into the middle of the box where Johnson left his feet to slam home the game’s only goal.
Johnson’s current goal pace is unrivaled in the 90-year history of the U.S Men’s National Team, as he is the only player to score as many six goals in his first seven matches.
“I thought on the whole that our team played well,” said Arena after the game. “Our young group in the back defended well, (and) held Honduras to one shot on goal that I saw and then the one at the end that could have tied the game. Our team played well for 90 minutes, and if there is a criticism of our team today it was we did not do well with our chances. It was a game where perhaps we could score three or four goals and win conformably. Because we didn’t do well with our chances, we kept Honduras in the game until the last kick.”
The overall performance for the U.S. was a good one, with the first half beginning slowly and the first shot in the match not being registered until the 19th minute when Mathis and Johnson hooked up on a nifty give-and-go that saw the FC Dallas forward slide a shot past the right goal post.
The first half ended with the U.S. outshooting Honduras 9-0 and first-time starter Joe Cannon pitching a shutout which was matched by Kevin Hartman, who replaced him in goal for the second half. It was Hartman who made the defensive play of the game, diving to his left and slapping a goal bound shot out of harm’s way in the 88th minute when Honduran Wilmer Vilasquez received a through ball that just eluded the outstretched foot of defender Chad Marshall. The shot was one of only two in the game for Honduras, who did not challenge the U.S. goal until the 76th minute when Vilasquez tried to chip Hartman, who snared it to help preserve the clean sheet.
Under Arena, the U.S. is an amazing 29-2-3 against CONCACAF opponents at home and the victory in New Mexico extended the team’s 42-month unbeaten run against countries from this region to a staggering 31 games heading to Mexico.
In addition to Joe Cannon’s first career start in his second appearance, defender Nat Borchers also made his first start after becoming the 100th player to earn a cap for Arena in the team’s 3-0 win over Colombia on March 9 in Fullerton, Calif. Meaning Arena has used exactly 100 players through 100 games at the U.S. helm.
Today’s match-up was an important one for the U.S., as they continue preparations for two tough World Cup qualifiers in a matter of four days at the end of March. The U.S. will travel south to face Mexico at Estadio Azteca on March 27 live on ESPN2 and Telemundo at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT, then head back to the States to host Guatemala on March 30 live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.
-- U.S. Men's National Team Game Report --
Match-up: U.S. Men's National Team vs. Honduras
Date: March 19, 2005
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: University Stadium – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Kickoff: 2 p.m. MT
Weather: 48 degrees, overcast, cool
Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - F
USA 1 - 0 - 1
Honduras 0 - 0 - 0
USA – Eddie Johnson (Clint Mathis), 45th minute.
USA: 1-Joe Cannon (22-Kevin Hartman, 46); 12-Chad Marshall, 19-Nat Borchers, 5-Chris Albright; 25-Pablo Mastroeni (Capt.; 6-Kerry Zavagnin, 85), 8-Clint Dempsey, 14-Steve Ralston, 11-Clint Mathis (10-Kyle Martino, 63), 13-Pat Noonan (15-Bobby Convey, 63); 9-Eddie Johnson, 21-Brian Ching.
Subs not used: 18-Jon Busch, 7-Brian Mullan, 20-Taylor Twellman.
Head Coach: Bruce Arena.
HON: 22-Junior Morales; 17-Erick Vallecillo, 6-Sergio Mendoza, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 5-Milton Reyes (15-Mauricio Sabillon, 46); 9-Walter Lopez (12-Elkin Gonzalez, 74), 18-Elmer Marin, 21-Carlos Moran (2-Mario Gomez, 56), 20-Ivan Guerrero (Capt.); 8-Denilson Costa (10-Wilmer Velasquez, 69), 11-Milton Nunez.
Subs not used: 1-Henry Enamorado, 25-Cristian Garden.
Head Coach: Chelato Ucles.
Stats Summary: USA - HON
Shots 12 - 2
Saves 2 - 2
Corner Kicks 1 - 1
Fouls 7 - 11
Offside 2 - 10
HON – Sergio Mendoza (caution), 23rd minute.
USA – Clint Mathis (caution), 34.
HON – Milton Reyes (caution), 44.
USA – Nat Borchers (caution), 62.
USA – Pablo Mastroeni (caution), 64.
HON – Maynor Figueroa (caution), 92+.
Referee: Mauricio Navarro (CAN)
1st Asst.: Neil Schofield (CAN)
2nd Asst.: Simon Fearn (CAN)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Salazar (USA)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Eddie Johnson