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 3, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT
With Queens Park Rangers relegated to the Championship, the club wants to get top dollar for star striker Charlie Austin.
Jul 3, 2015, 6:34 PM EDT
Pride is on the line as Peru and Paraguay look to take home third place at the 2015 Copa America.
Jul 3, 2015, 5:40 PM EDT
Anelka now a manager? Oh how times have changed…
Jul 3, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT
Women’s players can get representation from FIFPro for the first time in the continued fight for equality.
Jul 3, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
The West Midlands club released a statement today that new ownership should be in place “by the end of this month.”
Jul 3, 2015, 3:33 PM EDT
Fiorentina has lawyered up as the Chelsea winger has reportedly refused to return to the club on another loan.
Jul 3, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT
Three suggested lineups for Jurgen Klinsmann ahead of the USA vs. Guatemala on Friday.
Jul 3, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
Martunis’ incredible story will now continue in Lisbon.
Jul 3, 2015, 12:53 PM EDT
Analyzing where the final in Santiago on Saturday will be won and lost.
Jul 3, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT
Another day, another healthy dollop of gossip from around the Premier League.
Jul 3, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT
Get ready for some PL action under the lights on a Friday night. Well, one game on a Friday, at least.
Slaven Bilic called “The Special One,” accused of disrespect after West Ham’s Europa League qualifier
Jul 3, 2015, 10:05 AM EDT
Hammers boss is, well, hammered, for not standing in the dugout in a Europa League qualifier.
Jul 3, 2015, 9:10 AM EDT
“El Tigre” has landed with the reigning Premier League champs. Good business from Mourinho?
Jul 3, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
The second half of the MLS season kicks off Friday night. We’ve got four must-watch games for all to see.
Jul 3, 2015, 8:40 AM EDT
Fans of the Citizens and Les Parisiens get ready for a summer of big spending…
Jul 3, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT
Biden’s love for soccer continues to grow, as a presidential delegation is heading to Vancouver.
Jul 2, 2015, 11:47 PM EDT
“Come for the game, stay for the fireworks show afterwards!”
Jul 2, 2015, 11:03 PM EDT
The end is nigh for Freddy Adu’s professional soccer career, isn’t it? This has to be as low as it goes.
Jul 2, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT
One last chance for Jurgen Klinsmann to tinker and fine-tune before the USMNT defends its Gold Cup title.
Jul 2, 2015, 8:53 PM EDT
Japan head coach Norio Sasaki: “I do not feel badly for Laura Bassett.”
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