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.
Apr 18, 2015, 6:58 PM EDT
Not the ideal time for a pair of key players to go down in the same game, four days before a CL quarterfinal second leg.
Apr 18, 2015, 5:58 PM EDT
New week, same story, new teams on top, same old excitement — the Championship is truly amazing this year.
Apr 18, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
It was an historic day for Messi, as Barca inch closer to the league tile. Elsewhere, Juve remind everyone Serie A is all theirs.
Apr 18, 2015, 4:42 PM EDT
A pair of Premier League matches are ready for your Sunday viewing pleasure, and take note that one features a different broadcast channel.
Apr 18, 2015, 4:20 PM EDT
Here’s what happened in Saturday’s five matches.
Apr 18, 2015, 4:14 PM EDT
Seventy-seven percent of this weekend’s Bundesliga results are in the books, and Germany is still waiting for its first upset.
Apr 18, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney felt his team did enough to top Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but the score line says otherwise.
Apr 18, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT
Van Gaal: “We played the best match of the season but in football you can lose.”
Apr 18, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT
Here’s what we learned from Chelsea’s narrow win over United.
Apr 18, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT
United stays third, one point behind second-place Arsenal.
Apr 18, 2015, 2:13 PM EDT
Arsenal had 71 percent possession as late as the 80th minute, but the score remained deadlocked at one.
Apr 18, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT
Have Saints’ faint top four hopes been all but ended?
Apr 18, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT
Hear what the Foxes’ boss had to say about Leicester’s big win.
Apr 18, 2015, 12:06 PM EDT
Potters stage second half comeback to stun Saints.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT
Palace’s table charge is momentarily halted, as Alan Pardew’s boys sit 11th with 42 points.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:57 AM EDT
Toffees five unbeaten, send Clarets bottom of the table.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:53 AM EDT
Leicester is even with 17th place Hull on points and a single point behind Sunderland, with a match in hand on both.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:40 AM EDT
James Morrison had scored in the second minute for the Baggies’ first tally.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:34 AM EDT
It’s a big one, folks, with the two of the Premier League’s best tangling at Stamford Bridge.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT
The FA has switched things around and will still give the kid a chance to walk onto the Wembley pitch before an upcoming England match.
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