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.
Dec 11, 2013, 11:46 PM EST
You can’t been drawn against a team from your own federation – a rule that will hurt Arsenal, Manchester City on Monday.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:24 PM EST
The defenses need to get better in both places. A lot better:
No, the South Florida team will NOT be “Miami Beckham United;” plus the MLS news roundup for Dec. 11
Dec 11, 2013, 9:23 PM EST
A little social media brush fire over the new Miami expansion outfit was promptly, mercifully extinguished:
Dec 11, 2013, 8:33 PM EST
Highlights from all Wednesday’s games, which saw Barça’s newest start break out, Italy’s reigning champions eliminated.
Dec 11, 2013, 7:46 PM EST
Once you narrow the list to 15 or so, it’s nearly impossible to decide from there:
Dec 11, 2013, 6:59 PM EST
That assumes, of course, that the former U.S. manager was ever a serious candidate:
Dec 11, 2013, 6:11 PM EST
Tough draws await Arsenal, Manchester City in the knockout round.
Dec 11, 2013, 5:31 PM EST
Demba Ba’s 10th minute goal was enough to give Chelsea Group E.
Dec 11, 2013, 4:47 PM EST
Brazilian star’s hat trick helps Barcelona rout Celtic, claim first in Group H.
Dec 11, 2013, 4:43 PM EST
One good club from Group F was bound to be odd team out on Wednesday as Champions League group play finished with a high-wire tension.
Dec 11, 2013, 3:32 PM EST
There’s more to “coaching discussions” right now in domestic soccer than those four MLS openings:
Dec 11, 2013, 2:31 PM EST
He keeps performing for “club” … but when it will translate to performance for “country?”
Dec 11, 2013, 2:15 PM EST
Hull chairman Assem Allam is ready to risk backlash with choice comments and a formal application for name change.
Dec 11, 2013, 1:45 PM EST
From East Coast goalkeeper to West Coast coach in under five hours.
Dec 11, 2013, 1:28 PM EST
Which venues will the USA be playing in next summer? We take an in-depth look at them, right here:
Dec 11, 2013, 1:12 PM EST
Next stop: politicians. David Beckham’s bid for a stadium in Miami is moving ahead.
Dec 11, 2013, 12:34 PM EST
New York City FC is on the verge of getting a palace in the Bronx.
Dec 11, 2013, 12:09 PM EST
What? Roy Keane back down from a fight? Sir Alex and Keano still bitter after all these years.
Dec 11, 2013, 11:33 AM EST
Dwyer suggested a transfer abroad was imminent, but has backtracked.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:54 AM EST
Longtime Revs keeper and Boston Marathon bombing hero retires with 75 clean sheets and 110 wins.
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- Demba Ba’s goal enough to give Chelsea 1-0 Champions League win, first place in Group E 0
- Neymar’s first three Champions League goals see Barcelona to 6-1 win, top of Group H 0
- Arsenal advance in Champions League, but Napoli out despite win 0
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