PREVIEW: MNT Visits Honduras in Crucial World Cup Qualifying Clash

CHICAGO (Sept. 4, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team looks to bounce back from Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica when it visits Honduras on Tuesday, Sept. 5 in Final Round Qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Matchday 8 clash kicks off at 5:30 p.m. ET, with beIN Sports and UNIVERSO providing coverage from Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula. Fans can also follow the game live on Facebook and Twitter at @ussoccer and @ussoccer_esp.

U.S. MNT Roster by Position (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 14/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 37/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 34/6), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 11/1), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 23/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 15/0), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 0/0), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 0/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 6/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 4/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 19/3)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 4/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 4/1), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 9/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 36/7), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 17/1), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 8/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 10/5), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 0/0)

FORWARDS (4): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 40/18), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 4/0), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 11/4)

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying - CONCACAF Final Round Standings

TEAM

GP

W

L

D

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

x-Mexico

7

5

0

2

17

10

2

+8

Costa Rica

7

4

1

2

14

11

4

+7

USA

7

2

3

2

8

11

10

+1

Honduras

7

2

3

2

8

8

15

-7

Panama

7

1

2

4

7

4

5

-1

Trinidad & Tobago

7

1

6

0

3

4

12

-8

x- Qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup

MATCHDAY 8 SCHEDULE

Tuesday, Sept. 5
Honduras vs. USA                              5:30 p.m. ET (beIN Sports, UNIVERSO)
Panama vs. Trinidad & Tobago          9:30 p.m. ET (UNIVERSO)
Costa Rica vs. Mexico                       10 p.m. ET (beIN Sports, Telemundo)

STORYLINES

USA FALLS 2-0 TO COSTA RICA

The U.S. Men’s National Team had its chances but came up empty-handed as Costa Rica forward Marco Ureña tallied on both sides of halftime to give Los Ticos a 2-0 win in front of a sold-out crowd of 25,600 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Friday. In what captain Michael Bradley described as “a game of moments”, the U.S. felt it should have been awarded a penalty kick when Jozy Altidore was hauled down in the area in the 24th minute, before Ureña found the back of the net in the 38th minute. After halftime, two more golden opportunities from Christian Pulisic and Altidore were thwarted by Costa Rica ‘keeper Keylor Navas, before Ureña iced the match in the 82nd minute.

MOVE ON QUICKLY
Though disappointed by Friday’s defeat, the MNT has been united in its resolve to move on from the result and make things right in Tuesday’s visit to Honduras. In his post-game press conference, Bruce Arena said, “This is how you deal in competition and sports. You don’t win every game, and when you get a bad result you’ve got to put it past you real quick and get ready to play the next game.” 

Goalkeeper Tim Howard echoed Arena’s comments saying, “We’re professional. We’re an experienced group. We’ll bounce back, forget about it and move forward.”

And captain Michael Bradley added, “The group is strong. The group is ready to respond to this in a big way.”

ALL TO PLAY FOR WITH MNT STILL CONTROLLING ITS OWN DESTINY
When it comes to booking its ticket to Russia 2018, the USA still controls its own destiny with three matches remaining in the Hex. Tied on eight points with Honduras (but ahead on the first tiebreaker of goal differential) and just one point ahead of Panama, the MNT faces those two nations in its next two matches – Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Tuesday and Panama on Oct. 6 in Orlando. The USA’s last match to close the Hex is away against Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 10.

With Mexico clinching qualification and Costa Rica all but there, it comes down to a three-team race between the USA, Honduras and Panama. It goes without saying that the next two matches will be vital in determining which of those three countries will claim CONCACAF’s third automatic qualifying spot, which will advance to the two-game playoff with a member of the Asian Football Confederation for another place at the World Cup and which will be left out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Here is the remaining Hex schedule for the three third-place contenders:

Date

USA (8 pts.)

Honduras (8 pts.)

Panama (7 pts.)

Sept. 5

at Honduras

vs. USA

vs. Trinidad & Tobago

Oct. 6

vs. Panama

at Costa Rica

at USA

Oct. 10

at Trinidad & Tobago

vs. Mexico

vs. Costa Rica

USA LOSES ALTIDORE TO YELLOW CARD ACCUMULATION
When it faces Honduras on Tuesday, the MNT will be without forward Jozy Altidore, who received his second yellow card of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying in the 80th minute of Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica. Altidore received his first caution in the team’s 4-0 defeat at Costa Rica, and is the sixth U.S. player to serve a suspension due to yellow-card accumulation during this cycle, joining Michael Bradley, Timmy Chandler, Jermaine Jones, Michael Orozco and DeAndre Yedlin.

HEAVY ON EXPERIENCE
With the Final Round reaching crunch time, Arena has called upon a group loaded with experience in World Cup Qualifying. A total of 11 players on the roster have made 10 or more FIFA World Cup Qualifying appearances: Clint Dempsey (39), Tim Howard (36), Michael Bradley (35), DaMarcus Beasley (34), Geoff Cameron (22), Graham Zusi (18), Fabian Johnson (16), Omar Gonzalez (15), Brad Guzan (14), Matt Besler (11) and Christian Pulisic (10). Additionally, 17 players earned themselves a medal by winning the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

SPREADING THE SCORING WEALTH
A total of 13 U.S. players have gotten on the scoresheet in 2017, and seven of them are on the roster headed to Honduras. Clint Dempsey leads all scorers with five goals, while Jordan Morris and Christian Pulisic each have four. Morris netted the championship-winning goal in this summer’s Gold Cup, while three of Pulisic’s goals have come in World Cup Qualifying including a pair in the 2-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago. Most recently, Michael Bradley’s wonder chip in Mexico City earned the MNT a vital point on the road.

HISTORY IN HONDURAS
While away matches in Honduras are always difficult affairs, the U.S. has had its share of successes, going 3-1-1 when visiting Los Catrachos in World Cup Qualifying. After earning a win and a draw in two matches played during the 1966 cycle, a Bruce Arena-led MNT returned to San Pedro Sula in 2001 and earned a valuable 2-1 victory at the start of the Hex.

In 2009, a Conor Casey brace and Landon Donovan free kick led the USA to a wild 3-2 victory in a match which clinched qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In its most recent visit in 2013, the MNT ran out to a 1-0 lead thanks to Clint Dempsey’s 36th-minute volley, only to have Honduras recover to collect a 2-1 victory. That result is the USA’s only defeat in five away World Cup Qualifying matches in Honduras.

Take a look at the MNT’s full World Cup Qualifying history against Los Catrachos:

USA-Honduras All-Time World Cup Qualifying Results

Date

Result

U.S. Goal Scorers

Location

March 17, 1965

1-0 W

E. Murphy

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

March 21, 1965

1-1 D

E. Murphy

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

March 28, 2001

2-1 W

Stewart, Mathis

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Sept. 1, 2001

2-3 L

Stewart (2)

Washington, D.C.

June 6, 2009

2-1 W

Donovan, Bocanegra

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 10, 2009

3-2 W

Casey (2), Donovan

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Feb. 6, 2013

1-2 L

Dempsey

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

June 18, 2013

1-0 W

Altidore

Sandy, Utah

March 24, 2017

6-0 W

Lletget, Bradley, Dempsey (3), Pulisic

San Jose, Calif.

USA-HONDURAS NOTES

USA ROSTER NOTES:

HONDURAS ROSTER:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ricardo Canales (Vida), Donis Escober (Olimpia), Luis López (Real España)

DEFENDERS (9): Ever Alvarado (Olimpia), Bryan Beckeles (Necaxa/MEX), Felix Crisanto (Motagua), Henry Figueroa (Motagua), Maynor Figueroa (FC Dallas/USA), Emilio Izaguirre (Al-Fayha/KSA), Jhonny Leverón (Marathón), Jhonny Palacios (Olimpia), Carlos Sánchez (Honduras Progreso)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Bryan Acosta (Tenerife/ESP), Jorge Claros (Real España), Juan Ángel Delgado (Honduras Progreso) Carlos Discua (Motagua), Oscar Boniek García (Houston Dynamo/USA) Alexander López (Olimpia), Alfredo Mejía (Xanthi/GRE), Oliver Morazán (Olimpia), Esdras Padilla (Juticalpa) Sergio Peña (Real Sociedad)

FORWARDS (7): Carlo Costly (Olimpia), Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo/USA), Eddie Hernández (Unattached) Ovidio Lanza (Juticalpa) Anthony Lozano (Barcelona B/ESP), Rony Martínez (Baoding Rongda/CHN), Romell Quioto (Houston Dynamo/USA)

HEAD COACH: Jorge Luis Pinto

HONDURAS NOTES