Preview: USMNT Takes on Honduras With Spot in Concacaf Nations League Championship Match on the LineUnivision, TUDN, Paramount+ and CBS Sports Network to Air Live from Empower Field at Mile High in Denver
CHICAGO (June 2, 2021) — With a spot in the inaugural Concacaf Nations League championship match on the line, the USMNT takes on Honduras in the first semifinal on Thursday, June 3 at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on Univision, TUDN, Paramount+, CBS Sports Network.
In the other semifinal in Denver, Costa Rica faces off against Mexico. The winners will meet in the CNL Final on June 6 at 9 p.m. ET, with the Third Place Match taking place just prior.
Detailed Roster by Position (Club/Country; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 5/0), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 21/0)
DEFENDERS (8): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 41/3), Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 15/0), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/ESP; 8/1), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 3/0), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht/BEL; 21/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 43/1), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 10/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/TUR; 63/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 28/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 12/1), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 21/7), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 22/6), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 5/0), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 10/0)
FORWARDS: (6): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 5/2), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 35/16), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 5/2), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 14/5), Jordan Siebatcheu (Young Boys/SUI; 3/0), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 11/1)
ROAD TO THE FINAL FOUR
The U.S. Men’s National Team finished atop Group A of Concacaf Nations League A and advanced to the Final four after posting a 3-1-0 record in matches against Cuba and Canada.
Weston McKennie, Jordan Morris and Josh Sargent paced six different U.S. goal scorers with three apiece. McKennie and Morris put their names in history books against Cuba on Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C, with McKennie recording the USMNT’s fastest hat trick from the start of a match just 13 minutes in, while Morris scored a goal and provided a record-tying three assists.
The USMNT is 16-4-5 all-time against Honduras in a series dating back to 1965.
The teams have met 17 times in official competition, with the USA holding a commanding 12-2-3 record. One of the two losses came in World Cup Qualifying on home soil, where current U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Earnie Stewart scored two goals, but the USMNT fell 3-2 on Sept. 1, 2001, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
In the most recent encounter, an 85th minute equalizer by Bobby Wood delivered the USMNT a hard-fought 1-1 draw in sweltering conditions on Sept. 5, 2017, in San Pedro Sula.
Three players on the U.S. roster for the Concacaf Nations League were in Honduras that day, with Kellyn Acosta and Christian Pulisic starting the match while Tim Ream sat in reserve.
A total of five players have appeared against Honduras before: John Brooks (2 GP), DeAndre Yedlin (2) and Christian Pulisic (2); Kellyn Acosta (1), and Sebastian Lletget (1).
With Concacaf choosing the “Mile High City” of Denver to host the Nations League Final Four, the USMNT shifted its camp base to Crans Montana in the Swiss Alps. Training for five days at an elevation of approximately 5,000 feet ahead of the friendly against No. 13-ranked Switzerland on May 30, the group went through efforts on and off the field to adjust to the conditions at altitude.
Christian Pulisic and Zack Steffen missed the camp due to the UEFA Champions League final and joined the group on May 31 in Denver.
FIRST CAPS IN OFFICIAL COMPETITION
With the USMNT playing its first non-friendly since November 2019, Thursday’s Nations League semifinal will offer 10 players the opportunity to earn their first caps in official competition for the U.S. Men’s National Team: Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams, Ethan Horvath, Mark McKenzie, Yunus Musah, David Ochoa, Gio Reyna, Antonee Robinson, Jordan Siebatcheu and Tim Weah.
Should they appear against Honduras, the following dual-national players would officially be cap-tied to the USMNT: Mark McKenzie, Yunus Musah, David Ochoa, Gio Reyna, Antonee Robinson, Jordan Siebatcheu and Tim Weah.
COMPETITION COMING UP
The USA will meet one of its most-frequent Concacaf foes on June 9 for a friendly against Costa Rica in Salt Lake City. Heading into this summer, the USMNT holds a narrow 17-16-5 edge in the series through a rich history of 38 matches played since 1975.
The following month, the U.S. will compete in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup in search of its seventh confederation championship. The USMNT has been drawn into Group A with Canada, Martinique and a third team to be determined through pre-tournament qualifying. The United States last lifted the trophy in 2017, when Jordan Morris netted the game-winner against Jamaica in the 2-1 victory.
Those games serve as a prelude to the start of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, which will feature an eight-team final round and commence in Sept. 2021.
With the USMNT competing for a pair of trophies this summer - the Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup – several players have already earned silverware with their clubs. A total of 10 players on the roster enter the Nations League Final Four with a championship under their belt,
Including five league winners and perhaps the biggest club trophy of all.
Brenden Aaronson did the double, winning the Austrian Bundesliga and Austrian Cup. Zack Steffen also won two trophies with Manchester City, backstopping the club to the English League Cup and becoming the first USMNT player to win the Premier League. Sergiño Dest (Barcelona) lifted the Copa del Rey in Spain, while Weston McKennie (Juventus) in Italy along with Gio Reyna (Dortmund) in Germany and Mark McKenzie (Genk) in Belgium also won their respective domestic cup competitions. Tim Weah is a French league champion with Lille, his club winning the title for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign, Ethan Horvath and Club Brugge are league winners for the second season running and Jordan Siebatcheu helped Young Boys to the top of the Swiss league table for the fourth consecutive year.
And of course, the first U.S. international to play in and win a UEFA Champions League Final as Christian Pulisic added another massive milestone to an already impressive list of records when Chelsea defeated Manchester City on May 29 in Porto.
TOP FOUR IN BIG FIVE
Members of the USMNT finished in the top four in each of the five biggest leagues in Europe, starting with the league title winners in England (Steffen, Manchester City) and France (Weah, Lille). In Germany, U.S. internationals populate three of the top four with Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, second), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund, third), and John Brooks (Wolfsburg, fourth). Sergiño Dest completed his first season at Barcelona with a third-place La Liga finish. Christian Pulisic and Chelsea secured the fourth spot in the Premier League on the final matchday, a feat and position matched by Weston McKennie and Juventus.
All eight players will be a part of next year’s Champions League.
In another sign of U.S. internationals staking their claim at prominent clubs abroad, nine players on the roster just completed seasons where they made 30 or more appearances in a top-flight European league: Weston McKennie (34 GP; Juventus), Yunus Musah (32 GP; Valencia), Jordan Siebatcheu (32 GP; Young Boys), Gio Reyna (31 GP; Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (31 GP; Werder Bremen), John Brooks (31 GP; Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (31 GP; Boavista), Sergiño Dest (30 GP; FC Barcelona) and Matt Miazga (30 GP; Anderlecht).
LLETGET IS LEGIT
Sebastian Lletget has proven to be Mr. Consistency for the USMNT in the last two years. He’s the only player that has appeared in each of the last eight games and has rewarded the faith with five goals and an assist during that stretch. Overall, he amassed 21 caps and seven goals since his debut on Jan. 29, 2017, against Serbia.
USA ROSTER NOTES
The 23-player roster averages 17 caps.
As of the semifinal on June 3, the roster will hold an average age of 23 years, 336 days, with 13 players age 23 or younger.
Players ply their trade in 11 different countries: England, Germany and USA (4 each), Belgium (3), Spain (2), Austria, France, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey (1 each).
With 63 caps, DeAndre Yedlin is the senior-most player on the roster, followed by Tim Ream (43), John Brooks (41), Christian Pulisic (36) and Kellyn Acosta (28).
Thirteen players have earned competitive caps for the USMNT: Yedlin (27), Pulisic (24), Ream (19), Brooks (15), Acosta (11), Weston McKennie (9), Reggie Cannon, Matt Miazga and Zack Steffen (6 each), Sebastian Lletget, Josh Sargent and Jackson Yueill (3 each), and Sergiño Dest (1).
Nine players won 12 different trophies with European clubs this past season: Brenden Aaronson (Austrian League and Cup), Sergiño Dest (Spanish Copa del Rey), Ethan Horvath (Belgian First Division A), Weston McKennie (Super Coppa Italiana, Coppa Italia), Mark McKenzie (Belgian Cup), Christian Pulisic (UEFA Champions League), Gio Reyna (German DFB-Pokal), Zack Steffen (English Premier League, English League Cup) and Tim Weah (French Ligue 1).
Nine players just completed seasons where they made 30 or more appearances in a European top-flight league: Weston McKennie (34 GP; Juventus), Yunus Musah (32 GP; Valencia), Jordan Siebatcheu (32 GP; Young Boys), Gio Reyna (31 GP; Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (31 GP; Werder Bremen), John Brooks (31 GP; Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (31 GP; Boavista), Sergiño Dest (30 GP; FC Barcelona), Matt Miazga (30 GP; Anderlecht)
With three goals from the Nations League group stage played in 2019, McKennie and Sargent are tied in second for the League A scoring lead. Teammate Jordan Morris is currently the top scorer with four goals.
McKennie memorably scored the fastest hat trick in USMNT history during the Nations League opener on Oct. 11 vs. Cuba, the midfielder recording his three goals within the first 13 minutes of the 7-0 victory in Washington, D.C.
Pulisic and Sebastian Lletget are the two players on the roster who have previously scored against semifinal opponent Honduras, both tallying in the 6-0 World Cup qualifying win on March 24, 2017.
Lletget, who scored against Switzerland on Sunday, is the only American to play in all eight matches since the national team resumed play in November. Lletget has a team-high five goals in that time, while no other player has more than three.
IN FOCUS: HONDURAS
GOALKEEPERS (3): Luis López (Real España; 28/0), Edrick Menjívar (Olimpia; 3/0), Alex Güity (Olimpia; 0/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Maynor Figueroa (Houston Dynamo/USA; 165/5), Johnny Leverón (Olimpia; 37/3), Éver Alvarado (Olimpia; 28/1), Marcelo Pereira (Motagua; 14/0), Kevin Álvarez (Norrköping/SWE; 3/0), Diego Rodríguez (Motagua; 2/1), Elvin Oliva (Olimpia; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Boniek García (Houston Dynamo/USA; 126/3), Bryan Acosta (FC Dallas/USA; 45/2), Alexander López (Alajuelense/CRC; 34/4), Rigoberto Rivas (Reggina/ITA; 7/0), Deybi Flores (Olimpia; 6/0), Jhow Benavídez (Real España; 5/0), Walter Martínez (Motagua; 4/0), Edwin Rodríguez (Olimpia; 4/0), Kervin Arriaga (Marathón; 1/0)
FORWARDS (4): Jorge Benguché (Boavista/POR;4/2), Alberth Elis (Boavista/POR; 44/10), Anthony Lozano (Cádiz/ESP; 33/9), Jonathan Toro (Chaves/POR; 8/3)
REACHING THE CNL FINAL FOUR
Honduras advanced to this Semifinal after winning Group C ahead of Martinique and Trinidad & Tobago, compiling a 3-0-1 record with eight goals scored and only one surrendered. Brayan Moya and Alberth Elis each have a pair goals, with a total of five different players finding the back of the net.
MAN IN CHARGE
Fabián Coito has been in charge of the Honduras National Team since 2019. The 54-year-old native of Uruguay had great success managing his home country’s teams at the youth level, recording a second-place finish at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup before finishing fourth with
the U-20’s in 2017.
MIXED AND MATCHED
The Honduran roster boasts a combination of experience, familiarity and emerging talent on the 23-player squad. The Catrachos will draw on the veteran leadership of the Houston Dynamo due of Maynor Figueroa and Boniek García, who combined have collected 291 caps. With six players coming from the Olimpia team that defeated Mexican powerhouse Club America at the Estadio Azteca in the Concacaf Champions League and an additional trio from Motagua, there’s plenty of shared understanding.
The forward duo of Alberth Elis and Jorge Benguché will be familiar with the defensive stylings of Reggie Cannon, as they are all teammates at Boavista in Portugal. Meantime, Anthony Lozano – who plies his trade at Cadiz in Spain – leads all Honduran goal scorers with nine tallies.