Jun 18, 2013, 11:45 PM EST
With the United States grabbing all three points in Salt Lake City, it’s almost certain they will qualify for the World Cup.
With Jurgen Klinsmann’s men atop the group, it’s at this point we start talking about the magic number for qualification, which sits at 7 (6 to go in on goal differential). That is the combination of points that the United States can get plus what Honduras drop for the U.S. to qualify.
We’ll break this one down hockey style (but backwards), as we hand out the three stars:
1 star: Clint Dempsey
Clint played his usual role, finding himself in the right place at the right time for chances to finish. Unfortunately, Dempsey failed to finish multiple chances, a number of which with his head. He put one early wide, had a diving header he put right at the goalkeeper, and fired over from close range another time. I give Dempsey credit for being in the spot to finish chances, but he couldn’t get the job done.
2 stars: Graham Zusi
Zusi had a so-so first half, putting in a great corner early and connecting on a cross or two, but also gave the ball away a number of times and his lack of pace showed. In the second half, however, Zusi was outstanding. He found some pace, and the Florida native proved venomous from both set pieces and wide play. The first half was sketchy, but it was mostly due to Honduras funneling the United States into the middle, aware of their dangerous play from out wide. If/when Landon Donovan returns, he’ll take Zusi’s place, but while Donovan remains solely with the L.A. Galaxy, it’s Zusi’s spot and he’s taking full advantage.
3 stars, Man of the Match: Fabian Johnson
Johnson has cemented himself as the clear first-choice left-back tonight, proving valuable on both ends of the ball. He allowed virtually nothing on the defensive end, completely shutting down the left side. On the attack, Johnson has both a slicing ability to cross the ball as well as precision passing. His wonderful ball to Jozy Altidore set up the goal, and fittingly enough it came on the back end of a ball from Zusi. He makes smart runs up front, all while not leaving his backside completely uncovered. The Honduras defense specifically played to minimize the United States chances from out wide, and Johnson still made it happen. Beasley has played well too, but it’s becoming more clear Fabian has to continue to start.
Honorable mention: Jozy Altidore
I was worried that, as the game went on, the old Jozy Altidore was going to make a return. Having scored three goals in three matches, the confidence should be high, but Jozy’s psyche is fragile, and as the minutes dragged on with a petty few touches, he seemed to become frustrated and whiny. There were balls he didn’t chase because they weren’t perfect. The goal was a wonderful bit of finishing, but taking into account the match as a whole Jozy played a bit like a drama queen.
Jan 30, 2015, 8:48 AM EST
Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils host Leicester City at 10am ET on Saturday.
Jan 30, 2015, 7:46 AM EST
This further limits Jose Mourinho’s options for Saturday’s match, and will also keep Costa from a trip to Aston Villa and a visit from Everton.
Jan 30, 2015, 7:35 AM EST
Much like their signing and loaning back of Divock Origi at Lille this summer, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers makes an investment in the future.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:30 PM EST
Osvaldo-to-Juventus could mean Giovinco-to-Toronto happens six months early.
Jan 29, 2015, 9:30 PM EST
The latest update from Beckham on building a stadium, bringing an MLS team to Miami.
Jan 29, 2015, 7:41 PM EST
Friendly banter among teammates, when done right, is downright hilarious.
Jan 29, 2015, 7:10 PM EST
What went down on Thursday, the 29th day of this January transfer window? A full recap, inside.
Jan 29, 2015, 5:36 PM EST
Agudelo is back in MLS, where he probably should have been all along.
Jan 29, 2015, 5:12 PM EST
The future boss at Anfield? Sturridge is quite sure of it.
Jan 29, 2015, 3:18 PM EST
Putin and Russia have already had to cut costs for the 2018 World Cup.
Jan 29, 2015, 2:43 PM EST
Arsenal’s main man is touch and go for this weekend’s game against Aston Villa.
Jan 29, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Liverpool’s leading striker could return to action this Saturday after five months out.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:02 PM EST
With players out and title dreams on the line, how will Chelsea and City line up on Saturday?
Jan 29, 2015, 12:18 PM EST
Costa set to protest FA charges to avoid three-game ban.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:43 AM EST
Watch Klinsmann’s insane piece of skill from the friendly vs. Chile on Wednesday. My word.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:08 AM EST
Guinea won the lottery and are through to the last eight. Here’s the quarterfinal field for AFCON.
Jan 29, 2015, 9:45 AM EST
Former D.C. United, RSL and Union player heading back home?
Jan 29, 2015, 9:06 AM EST
With a few days left in the window, here’s the latest gossip.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Could Yaya link up with his old boss at the San Siro?
Jan 28, 2015, 11:10 PM EST
So what went down on Wednesday, as the transfer window took another step toward slamming shut?
- Ban upheld: Diego Costa to miss Saturday’s visit from Manchester City, 2 more 0
- Report: Liverpool hoping to buy Ings, loan striker back to Burnley for season 0
- David Beckham says progress still being made toward MLS stadium in Miami 0
- DONE DEAL: Mattia Destro, Juan Agudelo sign with new clubs AC Milan, New England Revolution 0
- Juan Agudelo signs with New England Revolution, completes return to MLS 2
- How will Chelsea, Manchester City line up in huge Premier League clash? 2