Jun 18, 2013, 11:45 PM EDT
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.
Jul 31, 2014, 3:21 PM EDT
Remember when Marco Reus, Dries Mertens and Leighton Baines solidified Manchester United’s status in Europe? Us neither.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:56 PM EDT
Cristiano Ronaldo and Christopher Renzi are looking horns over the CR7 trademark.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT
Guillermo Ochoa starred in the 2014 World Cup for Mexico, and now will try to fill Willy Caballero’s shoes at Malaga.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT
As deadly virus continues to spread, the Seychelles refuse to let Sierra Leone travel for qualifier.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
Seydou Keita has left Barcelona, but being in a different league has not stopped the animosity between the AS Roma midfielder and Real Madrid’s Pepe.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:27 PM EDT
Gerrard: “With all due respect to them, I said to Suarez that he was too good for Arsenal.”
Jul 31, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said several Premier League teams had interest in 19-year-old American striker Julian Green.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:26 PM EDT
Ching said his former USMNT teammate needs incentive-laden contracts to thrive, while Johnson claims Ching is jealous.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT
Jermaine Jones is not the only US midfielder rumored to come home, while two Red Devils are tipped for Madrid.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:52 AM EDT
An altercation between a player and referee in a men’s league game left the official dead. What followed has been anything but pretty.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:03 AM EDT
The World Cup praise has been flowing for Klinsmann in international circles, though American analysts like Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda and others have condemned the manager’s approach as too cautious.
Jul 31, 2014, 9:03 AM EDT
Neymar’s health could be the key to whether Barcelona can weather the Luis Suarez suspension in pursuit of La Liga’s title.
Jul 31, 2014, 8:20 AM EDT
The Red Devils’ owners are making more of the club public following the death of patriarch Malcolm, and the club could lose adidas money if on-field success doesn’t return.
Jul 31, 2014, 7:51 AM EDT
Since putting in a good effort for the USMNT at the World Cup, Jones had been sorting out his next career move and partying with celebrities like Paris Hilton and Mike Tyson.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:23 AM EDT
Thierry Henry’s second half equalizer takes earns a point at Rio Tinto.
Jul 30, 2014, 10:43 PM EDT
The Revs’ eight-game losing streak ends thanks to another strong night from Lee Nguyen.
Jul 30, 2014, 9:20 PM EDT
The Red fall nine points back of second place United in the Eastern Conference.
Jul 30, 2014, 8:27 PM EDT
24-year-old defender loaned out for the seventh time.
Ugly scenes in Northern Ireland as Mexican U-19 player attempts to kick opponent’s head during Milk Cup brawl
Jul 30, 2014, 7:29 PM EDT
Game is eventually cut short after a yet unnamed player aimed at the head of a fallen opponent.
Jul 30, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT
Atlético’s interest could develop into Chicharito’s best option.
- Simeone praises Klinsmann’s US program that “seduces us as coaches” 2
- Neymar’s recovery from World Cup back injury “almost 100 percent” 0
- Reports: Jermaine Jones coming to Chicago, move welcomed by Fire 1
- Atlético Madrid latest club linked with Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández 4
- Romelu Lukaku completes permanent, $47 million move to Everton 11
- Report: US to play friendly vs. Colombia in San Antonio 1