CHICAGO (Oct. 15) – Playing in front of 14, 805 fans, the U.S. Men’s National Team produced a 1-1 draw against Honduras on Tuesday night at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida.
The game revolved around the progression of the young squad U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been trying out in this new cycle leading up the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“I think it was an interesting game, said Klinsmann of the USA 1-1 draw versus Honduras. “We started really well; that goal by Jozy - nice goal. And then maybe after 30, 35 minutes we kind of dropped a little bit, and then on the second half it was difficult to keep the rhythm going and the sharpness. Honduras looked good; they looked energetic, and at the end of the day they deserved the equalizer so I think as a result it was okay a 1-1.”
U.S. MNT midfielder Jermaine Jones, who played as a center back for the first time with the National Team, agreed with Klinsmann when it came to the USA seemingly slowing down in the second half.
“I think the first half- the first 20 minutes; we controlled the game really well,” Jones said of the USA’s fast start. “Then we let Honduras come back into the game, and in the second half Honduras started to level with us, they started to play physical.”
But, the New England Revolution man believes the game’s result will only help improve the team moving forward in the cycle.
“Maybe this is the path to go,” he said. “We have a young team on the field and we will learn on these situations, so it’s not like everything is bad. We have to learn from what happened and we will come back for the next game and learn from the mistakes that we made today.”
One of those younger players is defender Greg Garza who played 180 minutes in both recent friendlies and improved with each game after making his debut with the senior team on Sept. 3 in Prague against the Czech Republic.
“For me, it’s a complete dream come true,” Garza said. “Just being here at the highest level and at such a high intensity from training and the games, I’m just happy to be here with the guys and actually grow that chemistry a little bit more, and hopefully build that for the future.”
While many young stars relished yet another opportunity to play in front of the fans, a couple of veterans were even more excited because the trip down south represented a special kind of game.
“It was awesome to play and represent my country in front of my friends and family,” said midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, a native of South Florida. “I grew up around here, and had a bunch of kids from Weston FC, my former club, come up and say hi, as well as from my high school, Saint Thomas. My family and friends were all over the place cheering me on and supporting me; nothing gets better than that.”
Perhaps there was no one more excited about the trip however than forward Jozy Altidore who was raised and started playing soccer in Boca Raton.
“I played a lot of tournaments here in the front fields of FAU, so it’s kind of surreal to be back here,” Altidore said. “I never thought I’d play a professional game for the National Team here in front of so many people that helped me get to this point. It was really nice for me. I have a lot of emotions in Boca; it’s where it all started for me. It means a lot to me to come back, and to have the fans embrace us as they did was really special.”