World Cup

U.S. World Cup Campaign Begins With A Loss

Massively disappointing defeat for USA today in Honduras, in the opener of the final qualifying round for next year’s World Cup.

The U.S. took the lead in the match through Clint Dempsey, but could not hold the lead once again away from home and eventually lost 2-1.

The U.S., which had been 12-3-3 against Honduras, lost its final-round opener for the first time in five games since the “hexagonal” format was adopted in qualifying for the 1998 tournament

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann went with youth, especially in defense, as he replaced captain Carlos Bocanegra with Omar Gonzalez. The average age of the U.S. defense was 24.5 and their inexperience showed as the U.S. was under pressure for much of the match

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore played the ball to Jermaine Jones, who flicked the ball over the defense. In full stride, Dempsey volleyed the ball with his right foot past goalkeeper Noel Valladares from 8 yards.

Four minutes later Honduras equalized. Oscar Boniek Garcia’s corner kick went all the way to the opposite side of the field, bounced four times and was played back to the center by Victor Bernandez after no American chased the ball down. Figueroa chested the pass up to Juan Carlos Garcia, who with his back to the goal scored on an overhead kick from 10 yards.

Just when I started to think that the U.S. would get a point out of the game, Jerry Bengtson took advantage of a horrible American defensive mix-up to score the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute. Geoff Cameron and goalkeeper Tim Howard both went for a pass intended for Oscar Boniek Garcia, but neither of them got their, allowing Garcia to tap the ball across to Bengston for a shot into an open net.