- Clint Dempsey’s Goal in 36th Minute Holds Up as Game-Winner
- Tim Howard collects 37th Win; Now Tied for Second Place All-Time Amongst U.S. Goalkeepers
- U.S. Team Will Next Face Ecuador on Oct. 11 at Red Bull Arena with Kickoff at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Univision
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (Oct. 8, 2011) – Clint Dempsey scored off a nifty dribble and finish in the 36th minute as the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated regional foe Honduras 1-0 to give U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann his first win at the helm of the United States.
Tim Howard earned Budweiser Man of the Match honors, posting six saves en route to his 37th victory. With the win, Howard moves into a second-place tie with fellow New Jersey native Tony Meola on the USA’s all-time win list for goalkeepers.
"I think we saw a match that we kind of expected. Honduras is a strong and physical side, with surprises and technically gifted players who can score goals out of nothing,” said Klinsmann. “It took us a bit to get to a higher pace and the first 20 minutes were a bit too static movement-wise. Then we took over, created a lot more chances and I had a feeling it was just a question of time until we scored that first goal. The important thing was that we got three points because this team is hungry for success. They want to do well and get the results done right."
The match was played in a steady rain, but the Americans put together numerous quality attacking sequences despite the wet, windy, and slippery conditions.
After some sustained pressure throughout the first half that produced a handful of chances, the USA finally broke through a little less than 10 minutes before halftime.
Right back Steve Cherundolo ran down Brek Shea’s blocked cross on the right wing and then slipped the ball back down the flank to the young U.S. midfielder. Shea struck a hard cross on the ground into the penalty area that was dummied by Jozy Altidore and then took a slight deflection off the heel of Michael Orozco Fiscal as it skipped through his legs. The ball rolled perfect to Dempsey, who wound up for a right-footed shot, but then dragged the ball back to his left foot, losing Honduran defender Mauricio Sabillon who bit on the fake.
Dempsey then quickly bent a curling left-footed shot from 15 yards out into the upper left corner past flying Honduran goalkeeper Donis Escobar. It was Dempsey’s 23rd international goal and just rewards for a U.S. team that created a plenty of scoring opportunities before and after the goal.
Klinsmann lined the U.S. team up in a 4-1-3-2 formation that featured U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra, making his 97th career appearance, paired centrally with Orozco Fiscal. Veteran defender Oguhci Onyewu would come on for Orozco Fiscal at halftime in what was his first action for the USA since playing against Spain on June 4 in Foxborough, Mass.
German Bundesliga players Cherundolo and Tim Chandler were the outside backs while Kyle Beckerman played in front of the back four behind Maurice Edu. Danny Williams and Shea ran the flanks with Dempsey and Altidore up top.
Williams, who grew up in Germany and recently received his U.S. passport, became the first player to earn his first cap under Klinsmann. The Hoffenheim midfielder played 65 minutes in his debut before giving way to DaMarcus Beasley, who made his first appearance under Klinsmann and first for the U.S. since coming on as a sub in the USA's 1-0 win against Algeria at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Honduras had the first chance of the game which came in the 3rd minute as Carlo Costly beat Orozco Fiscal around the left corner. The U.S. defender tugged him down by the jersey and was fortunate not to get a yellow card. The ensuing free kick was driven into middle by Julio Cesar de Leon and skipped off Jerry Bengston’s body inside the six yard box, but fortunately for the U.S. it flew over the goal.
The USA’s first chance came in the 12th minute after a nice buildup led to a cross from Williams on the right. The ball was brought down well inside the box by Dempsey, who dropped a pass back to Chandler outside the left edge of the penalty box. The left back chipped a cross into the penalty spot and Shea won the ball to snap a header just outside the right post.
Howard made a game-changing save in the 19th minute after Bengston got in behind the defense. When the flag stayed down, Bengston cut to the center of the goal and with Orozco Fiscal closing fast, Howard made a great one-on-one save, making himself big and cutting down the angle, forcing the Honduran striker to pound the ball off his body.
In the 24th minute it was Escobar’s turn to pull off a spectacular save. Cherundolo whipped a free kick from near the left sideline into the penalty area and Edu got the slightest touch of his head on the ball. The ball skidded off the ground and was heading into the upper right corner before the fully-extended Escobar sprung up to push it away for a corner kick.
Howard was called upon again in the 27th minute as Costly fired from distance. Howard easily made the save with a dive to his right, but couldn’t hold the tricky shot that skipped off the wet turf and had to jump up to corral the rebound.
Williams had a nice chance to score in his debut in the 30th minute when a ball rolled to him at the top of the penalty area after a Shea cross had deflected off a Honduran defender. Williams tried to curl a left-footed shot into the upper left corner but shot high.
The USA almost doubled its lead in the 45th minute, but a diving header from Williams at the right post off a cross from Shea was blocked by the chest of Maynor Figueroa.
Just four minutes into the second half, the USA put together a great series of quick passes at the top of the penalty area as the ball went from Shea, who dribbled centrally and played to Edu (via a Dempsey dummy), who then squared the ball to Williams in the right side of the box. Williams fired low and on target, forcing Escobar to make a stabbing save, but he couldn’t hold it and got a knee in the face from the crashing Edu before the ball was cleared away.
The USA missed two wide open goals in the second half, the first coming in the 53rd minute as Dempsey put Altidore into the right side of the penalty area with a nice threaded pass. Altidore powerfully dribbled into the area, held off a defender and then rolled a pass on the ground to the unmarked Shea, but the ball skipped off the wet turf and Shea overran it by a half-step. As he went to shoot, he toppled over the ball with a yawning wide-open net in front of him.
The USA almost came to rue that miss as Honduras came right down the field and a quick wall-pass between Boniek Garcia and de Leon allowed Garcia to burst past the U.S. defense into the right side of the box. His far post shot skipped just outside the left post as Howard came out to challenge.
In the 57th minute, Bengston ran under a cross from de Leon from the left that was deflected up in the air by Onyewu, but sent his header wide right of the goal from close range with Howard well-positioned at the post.
Onyewu missed an open goal in the 66th minute after Dempsey fired a dangerous shot from the right side of the penalty area that was palmed up in the air by Escobar. The ball fell to the big defender near the top of the six-yard box, but with a wide open net he pushed his volley over the goal.
Howard played a mistake-free match and in the 73rd minute flew to his left to push away a driven shot from distance by Mario Martinez. Two minutes later, he did well to solidly hold a deflected free kick that came right at him.
The USA probably should have ended with a two-goal margin and a brace for Dempsey as in the 84th minute he had a fantastic header disallowed. Late substitute Jonathan Spector bent an in-swinging cross from just outside the left corner of the penalty box and Dempsey leaped high over Figueroa to power a header into the lower left corner, but the referee ruled that he had illegally come over the back of the Honduran defender.
Beasley had a chance two minutes from time after he got on the end of a towering punt from Howard, running under the bouncing ball after Juan Agudelo and Johnny Leveron had gotten tangled up at the top of the penalty area. Beasley rushed his shot and struck it right at Escobar from an angle.
Klinsmann’s five substitutions also included midfielder Michael Bradley, who came on the in the 65th minute for Edu. Bocanegra and Howard are the only players to start all four games under Klinsmann.
The match featured some hard tackling on the slick surface and eight yellow cards were issued, five to the USA.
The U.S. team will have a short rest, traveling to New Jersey tomorrow in preparation to face Ecuador on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at Red Bull Arena. Kickoff for the first appearance by the U.S. men at the spectacular new venue is 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Univision.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Honduras
Date: Oct. 8, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Sun Life Stadium; Miami Gardens, Fla.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Weather: 73 degrees, heavy rain
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
Honduras 0 0 0
USA – Clint Dempsey (Michael Orozco Fiscal) 36th minute
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Steve Cherundolo, 4-Michael Orozco Fiscal (14-Oguchi Onyewu, 46), 5-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 3-Tim Chandler (13-Jonathan Spector, 76); 6-Kyle Beckerman; 8-Danny Williams (16-DaMarcus Beasley, 65), 7-Maurice Edu (17-Michael Bradley, 65), 11-Brek Shea; 10-Clint Dempsey, 9-Jozy Altidore (18-Juan Agudelo, 83)
Subs not used: 12-Bill Hamid, 15-Jeff Larentowicz
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
HON: 22-Donis Escobar; 16-Mauricio Sabillon, 2-Osman Chavez, 4-Johnny Leveron, 3-Maynor Figueroa (capt.); 14-Boniek Garcia (15-Marvin Chavez, 77), 12-Alfredo Mejia, 17-Roger Espinoza (8-Jorge Claros, 74), 10-Julio Cesar de Leon (7-Mario Martinez, 69); 9-Jerry Bengston (11-Roger Rojas, 65), 13-Carlo Costly
Subs not used: 1-Donaldo Morales, 5-Erick Norales, 24-Bryan Beckeles
Head coach: Luis Suarez
Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 11 / 13
Shots on Goal: 6 /6
Saves: 6 / 5
Corner Kicks: 5 / 4
Fouls: 18 / 16
Offside 0 / 3
USA – Steve Cherundolo (caution) 32nd minute
HON – Boniek Garcia (caution) 41
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution) 42
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (caution) 45+1
USA – Maurice Edu (caution) 58
USA – Brek Shea (caution) 63
HON – Mavin Chavez (caution) 78
HON – Alfredo Mejia (caution) 82
Referee: Courtney Campbell (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Kedlee Powell (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Keble Williams (JAM)
Fourth Official: Jair Marrufo (USA)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Tim Howard