Honduras 2, USA 1: Match Observations

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras– It is the worst possible start for the U.S. Men’s National team as they embark on gauntlet that is the Hexagonal Round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, but the good thing about turning in such a flat and uninspired performance in their HEX opener is the fact they have nine more matches to turn things around.

The bad news, however, is that now that they have started this round of qualifying with a loss, their margin for error has shrunken considerably as they face two more road games in their next three qualifiers.

Jurgen Klinsmann turned to an inexperienced back-line, and it looked it, but the loss was about more than some defenders facing the pressure of the HEX for the first time. The squad looked flat and less fit than the Hondurans, who buzzed around them for large parts of the match.

As much as the Juan Garcia wonder goal helped turn the tide, the reality is Honduras was the better team for significant stretches. That said, Garcia’s goal was crucial for its timing and ability to bring the crowd back into it after Clint Dempsey’s strike. Without that goal, the U.S. just might go into halftime leading and feeling good about things.

Ultimately, the Hondurans were more fit, more creative, more energetic and more deserving of the win, while the Americans have to go back to the drawing board and start thinking about some changes because what we saw on Wednesday wasn’t anywhere good enough to take points in the HEX.

Here are some observations from Wednesday’s match:

 THE BACK-LINE’S BAPTISM BY FIRE

When Jurgen Klinsmann chose to start Omar Gonzalez at centerback ahead of Carlos Bocanegra, he committed himself to start a back four that had played in a combined zero Hexagonal Round qualifiers before.

You can’t really pin the loss entirely on the defense, but a look at the Honduras winner leaves some room for criticism of a back-line, and particularly a centerback pairing that looked shaky at times against Honduras.

Klinsmann made the point after the match that he believes Gonzalez is ready for the next level, and that he needs experience in games like these, but you can certainly ask the question of whether Klinsmann might have cost his team a point by trying to gain an inexperienced player some important big-game experience.

Will Klinsmann stick with this inexperienced quartet with the hopes of molding it into a cohesive unit? It sure sounds like that’s the plan, which doesn’t bode well for Bocanegra, who looks like he’ll be phased out unless Klinsmann decides he needs his experience against Costa Rica and Mexico on March.

LANDON DONOVAN WAS MISSED

There is no getting around the fact that the U.S. midfield lacked a spark, and while you can point to the lineup Klinsmann went with (not starting Graham Zusi or Sacha Kljestan), you can also point to the absence of Landon Donovan, who missed his first meaningful HEX game since the summer of 2001, a span of 20 HEX matches.

Donovan is expected to eventually return to the national team, which U.S. Soccer president suggested on Wednesday morning, and given how flat the U.S. team looked on Wednesday it is a safe bet he will be welcomed with open arms.

No, Donovan isn’t the player he once was, but he still brings enough unique attacking elements, and a boat load of experience. It is very difficult to picture Donovan not being in the starting lineup when the United States takes on Mexico on March 26th, if not sooner. While he may or may not need the buzz of playing for the national team anymore, it was clear on Wednesday that the United States still needs him.

THE U.S. MIDFIELD JUST DIDN’T HAVE IT

It was a forgettable day for the American midfield. With the exception of Jermaine Jones’ stellar pass on Clint Dempsey’s goal, there were few bright spots for any of the three players in midfield (four if you don’t count Dempsey as a forward).

Danny Williams was particularly poor, and his lack of playing time at Hoffenheim is clearly taking its toll (though some might argue he has had bad games even when he was playing regularly). Maurice Edu came on and provided significantly better quality at the position.

The game was a disappointing one for Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, who were nowhere close to winning the battle in the middle, letting Honduras’s playmakers exploit the space in front of the U.S. defense. Klinsmann’s strategy to pack the left wing forced Oscar Boniek Garcia inside and the Houston Dynamo caused all sorts of problems for the American midfield.

Graham Zusi helped provide some energy when he came into the match and Klinsmann will have to think about some changes to his formation and midfield. Whether it is the return of Landon Donovan, or going back to Zusi as a starter, Klinsmann seems likely to make changes for the March qualifiers because can’t be happy with what he saw from his midfield on Wednesday.

CHANDLER’S CAP TYING SAGA IS OVER

One of the few bright spots for the Americans was the fact that Tim Chandler was cap-tied, but it wasn’t exactly a memorable night for him. It’s safe to say that, at least for now, STeve Cherundolo remains the best option at right back when healthy.

HONDURAS CONTINUES TO IMPRESS

When the ‘Catrachois’ turned heads at the Olympics by reaching the knockout rounds and pushing Brazil to the brink, it was clear they had a special generation of talent coming up the ranks.

On Wednesday they showed that quality, and the exciting young players who are driving their new generation. It is safe to say that they have cemented their status as one of the favorites to qualify for the World Cup from this HEX group.

QUIET NIGHT FOR THE U.S. FORWARDS

Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson won’t want to spend much time looking at video of Wednesday’s match. You can point to lack of service, but for someone like Altidore, who has failed to impress with the national team for a good while now, it gets tougher and tougher to accept that excuse even though it’s a legit one.

Johnson was active and more involved than Altidore, but you have to wonder if Herculez won’t return to the starting lineup in March.

WHERE WAS THE FITNESS?

Remember when the U.S. Men’s National Team was always the most fit team on the field? That certainly wasn’t the case on Wednesday. For a coach like Klinsmann, who stresses fitness and health so much, that has to be a serious cause for concern. He will have to think about what he’s doing, as will his players.

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207 Responses to Honduras 2, USA 1: Match Observations

  1. Ryan nanez says:

    Bocanegra wouldn’t have made any difference on the field. People keep making excuses for performances like this. The harsh reality is we suffer the same problem as England fans do. We think our team is way better than they actually are

    • The B in Apt 23 says:

      Honestly, you’re probably right. Still, I would want to see a USMNT coach give an actual extended look at what having more attack minded midfielders would do. Klinsmann has talked a big game, but when in comes down to it both he and Bradley have panicked at a lack of results and resorted to filling the midfield with defensive minded players. Falcao would have a hard time scoring when MB90 is more often then not your most attack minded midfielder.

      I want a coach with the guts to play 1-2 DMs and see how it works.

    • atd says:

      We suffer the same problem England does — the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

    • Bob says:

      All of you losers are a joke. You know absolutely nothing about the game. It is a loss. Teams do lose you know. The U.S. will make it through the Hex winning it or coming in second and doing well in the WC. Every WC cycle you idiots come out.

    • DREAM says:

      Bocanegra wouldn’t, but Besler would have.

      Its all about distribution, which is a huge strength of Besler’s.

    • Sabella says:

      ”We knew that we could pull it off, we knew we can play,” Jamaica assistant coach Alfredo Montesso said. ”Perhaps it*s a surprise for many, but not for us. Before this round, we were told that we had a 17 percent chance to qualify for the World Cup, I think we just improve those odds today.”

      That is Jamaica’s assistant coach after their draw at Azteca. They have a winning mentality. Confidence. They have expectations. This is what is missing within the USMNT. They went down to Honduras giving the opposition too much respect. The mentality needs to change. Our guys need to walk onto the field every game expecting to win 3-0, 4-0. Our expectation needs to change. We have the quality. I don’t care what formation we played yesterday, whether it was defensive or offensive oriented. The quality was there to win. The guys need to have the mentality. Until they decide that they are the best team in the region, they won’t be

    • Josh D says:

      I don’t think it’s that, I think we all knew away to Honduras midweek for our European led team would be tough. I think it was the lack of energy which we translate to a lack of heart. And that is something we US fans don’t recognize in our team.

      If in shape Gonzo was not fit enough to play, newly fit, old, slow Boca would have been thrashed. It was a no win situation. Klinsi plays Boca, we lose and everyone says Gonzo is the best fit. He plays Gonzo, we lose and Boca would have been the savior.

      And a lot on here including commentators wanted to see what Gonzo could do. Like Ives said, it was a baptism by fire. We got the jitters out, now let’s build toward 2014.

      All I can say is thank God the rest of the games went our way. The playing field is still almost level.

      • Ian says:

        Jamaica getting a point is not things going our way.

        • Kevin_H says:

          True. I guess the best case scenario is that Mexico and Honduras win all their games, and the other teams tie each other. Not including USMNT games, of course.

  2. wilyboy says:

    Have to disagree with you about the need for Klejstan and Zusi. It’s on thing if they’re going to replace one of the three redundant Dmids, (don’t want to hear it, they are all defensive players by nature). But as wide players? No. I don’t know what game you saw, but the only thing either one of them contributed on the flanks was a handball by Zusi in a dangerous attacking situation. They’re not fast enough to be wide players for the US, and simply aren’t going to provide anything special as subs.

    Eddie Johnson was at least a speed option, and in the second half looked like the only player with a full set of lungs. Why JK subbed him out for Klejstan, I’ll never know. More than anything, this game spoke of a coach who doesn’t know how to get a team to play effectively, whatever the lineup.

    • malkin says:

      +1

      Signed,
      (don’t want to hear it, they are all defensive players by nature)

    • Jim Morrison says:

      +1+1
      The problem starts way before this fiasco.

      We have no plan for developing players. If you have knowledge of one please show me.
      Until then Mexico ( and real soccer nations) are laughing at us.

    • Two Cents says:

      Yeah, I hear ya. Our biggest issue over the last few years is the lack of wing options. We have Donovan and that’s pretty much it. But, if we look towards the future, and hopefully by the next games, we can add Gatt and Gyau for the wings, and maybe throw in Diskerud and Boyd as a potential offensive link up and forward respectively. Look something like this (I realize this is a very young team overall, but I feel they would live up to the challenge):

      —————Boyd————–Altidore——————
      Gyau———Bradley——–Dempsey———-Gatt
      Johnson——Cameron——Gonzo——-Chandler
      —————————Howard—————————–

      Dempsey obviously the more forward of he and Bradley.

      Subs and/or replacement in the starting lineup: Diskerud, Gomez, Boca, Dolo (if not injured), Edu, Johnson, Guzan and Jones

      • Paul says:

        How much worse could this proposed side do than the team we saw today? How less cohesive could the team’s attack be? Really, today’s performance was inexcusable. Play well and lose at the end. At least play like you have a damn clue and have actually stepped on a pitch for once in your life.

        I can appreciate playing for a draw. But the team was nether prepared to play for a single point, nor were the appropriate players on the pitch to execute such a plan. Give me this proposed team over the water we saw passed on the field today.

    • Josh says:

      So here’s what I don’t get. Everybody wants to praise EJ for this speed that everybody assumes suddenly makes him an instant threat. Outside of one “cross” to Jozy, I didn’t see much out of him, and even then it was a great ball TO Eddie that made that happen.

      What I did see was him continually crowding the middle. He’s used to playing in the middle so naturally he’s going to end up there. There were a number of times during the first half when Jozy or Clint would have space in the middle but would have three guys on them because EJ floated to the middle, or miscommunication between the two would ruin a chance. If you’re going to play EJ, play him up front with somebody, but not in a position that he should be out wide, because he can’t do it.

      We had no runs up the lines, and almost no competence on set pieces. I get not everybody likes Zusi, but he plays his roles well. When he entered, he routinely switched the field to an open man. The handball was a bad bounce which shouldn’t have happened, but at least he was there. Before he entered, name one person who would have been making a run down the right side.

      As a last pitch for Zusi, at least he can kick corners/crossing free kicks. That’s one spot that Landon was really missed today. Jones and Bradley were just not good. Whether it’s Zusi or somebody else, we need somebody who can put those in the box.

      • Ryan says:

        Man, no kidding. If Jermaine Jones is taking your set pieces, you know something is wrong.

      • MN Footie says:

        I agree with some of your points about EJ (and in general) but the fact that he was shifting toward the middle isn’t really his fault. It seemed like the coach’s choice of players and alignment necessitated that. We were effectively playing a 4-2-2-2, which I imagine is because Klinsmann wanted to bottle up their stronger central midfield to protect a pretty inexperienced back four.

        In theory, when you’ve got two speedy wingbacks in F Johnson and Chandler, you can balance out the defensive attributes of “clog the middle.” I suspect that that was the tactical gameplan. Unfortunately, theory didn’t meet practice, because F. Johnson and Chandler appeared unable to avoid being overmatched, and, as a result, we had no release valve on the sides of the pitch.

        (Not to mention Williams was awful, and, in my opinion, Bradley played about as poorly as I’ve seen him play for the Nats. He wasn’t out-and-out terrible, just far below his normal quality.)

        But the upshot of this- can we blame EJ (or Jozy, or Dempsey) for the lack of movement on the sides and on the top? They were asked to be part of lineup and tactical plan that was shortsighted at best, and, as the result indicates, simply did not work.

        Who’s most at fault? I say: Tactics 75%, personnel 25%. Klinsi’s got to do better.

    • Josh D says:

      Even in the center, Klejstan has never shown once there in all his caps and if Zusi’s speed is suspect out wide, his lack of decision speed would cost us dearly.

      We need the likes of Corona and Mix to step up, and for Klinsi to give them a chance. They are our creative future.

      I’m just glad people aren’t hopping on the bring back Holden bandwagon. Let him rest until the summer.

    • Dave says:

      Johnson made a big mistake in not covering back on the first Honduran goal. Their wing ran a third of the field with no pressure from U.S. players before crossing it. He may be “fast” but it didn’t seem like he was working too hard.

  3. Gord Downie says:

    Towards the end of the first half there was a play where Chandler coughed the ball up to Costly, and Omar had to come across and pull a great slide tackle before Costly could cut in on goal. After the play Chandler didn’t even acknowledge Omar, and Omar turned his back and walked away.. I just wonder if there is some sour grapes between the two of them seeing how it was Chandler who blew out Omar’s knee during his training stint at Nuremberg…

    • Chandler Bing says:

      I remember this well. Chandler got dispossesed near the end line and Omar saved his bacon. This was actually the play that led to the corner that led to the goal. Sure the bike was unreal, but it was preceded by about 90 seconds of defensive lapses. Anyone that says that it was just a great finish ( Klinsi ) needs to pay better attention.

      • Jim Morrison says:

        Chandler Bing can you play right back instead of that Chandler we have now.
        Sour grapesbetween him and Omar? No way.
        This guy and the other Germans could care less about wearing the US crest.
        All of you “Klinsy” ass kissers got to see what a bad hire this was.
        Bring back Arena

  4. DanirlGH says:

    link to facebook.com

    Bring Landon back.

  5. bizzy says:

    We need to call it the way we see it. The engineer with the bag of tools is Klinsmann and the final result is a matter of selecting the right tool for the job. If these players were in our pool
    Valladares plays for Olimpia (HON)
    Peralta plays for Vida (HON)
    Bernardez plays for San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
    Figeroa plays for Wigan Athletic (EPL)
    J.C. Garcia plays for Olimpia (HON)
    O.B. Garcia plays for Houston Dynamo (MLS)
    Garrido plays for Red Star Belgrade (SERBIA)
    Espinoza plays for Wigan Athletic (EPL, just left MLS)
    Martinez plays for Seattle Sounders (MLS)
    Bengtston plays for New England Revolution (MLS)
    Costly plays for Veria (GREECE)
    ..I highly doubt most of them will make the USMNT A team….But with the right COACH they defeated a flat US team. We need skill and creativity in our line up and Klinsmann is one to spot, harvest and arrrange our talent…..if he can’t seem to build a solid team with our pool then no harm no fool….but like honduras lets find someone who can. Coaches like Luis Fernando Suárez can field a team with the majority of their players from MLS and Honduras (again a league weaker than MLS!!!) and beat us……maybe we need coaches with his vision and expertise, because imagine what the score line would be if we had fielded mostly MLS players…..lets face it with the right players selected (not the best players) our team is only as good as the training they are given

    • somedude says:

      dude, we lost to Panama with the A-team…

    • papi grande says:

      true dat! the team looked awful today. the players have to wear that one…BUT…klinsmann is the leader of this group, and as a result of that, he has to step up and take ownership for the team and their performances!

    • FulhamDC says:

      Bizzy is absolutely right. Klinsmann cares way more about pedigree than performance. And it’s not working.

    • slimkid32 says:

      JK had a group of largely european players on a short week. Honduras just finished Copa Centroamericana. You can look at individuals but having a team together for 4 games in week is a factor in how well Honduras played. Give the US team that much time together and I think you a much different result.

    • Josh D says:

      You can also point out that our team, made up of mostly European players, cost us not because of talent, but because they all had a short time to fly across timezones, get acclimated to the heat when all of them are used to freezing temperatures, and find themselves in sync with one another in a few days.

      This was a typical result under those circumstances. But I agree, Klinsi didn’t pick the right team. Evans and Davis were both a waste of space when Mix or Corona would have impacted the game tonight.

  6. THomas says:

    It’s not so much missing out on a point that hurts, it’s only one point. It’s more about taking points off of your opponent, especially home points.

  7. Af says:

    Hex road games aint easy folks. Press the red panic button if we lose at home.

    • Josh D says:

      +1

      I think for a lot of the doomsayers, this is their first round. We aren’t dominate away in the Hex to Central American teams. Never have been.

  8. Colin Barth says:

    Its so frustrating being a fan of the USMNT, the style of play just doesnt make sense, it seems we dont have a cense of direction

    • David M says:

      Well, there is no guarantee of a win against Costa Rica, and, frankly, a point in Mexico will be very unlikely… So, it’s quite possible that the US will have just one point after three games. That might prove to be disastrous.

      • Benny says:

        No it will not. The US will be fine.

      • Tim S. says:

        What this loss did was make the home match against Costa Rica and the away match against Jamaica absolutely vital for as early as it is in the qualifying process. The Mexico match at Azteca would be nice to get a point in, but can NOT be expected (regardless of tonight’s Mexico hiccup). If the US does not get 3 points against Costa Rica, and at least a point at “The Office” in Kingston, they are really behind the 8-ball with 40% of the Hex Behind them. The results need to come in the form of at least 4 points in the next 3 matches, if not 6 points.

        • ronniet says:

          When did mexico become this momoth of a team that anyone should be scared of?? Yeah we pooped the bed yesterday but all is not lost and we have take pride in the fact that we have topped our confederation the last 2 world cup qualifying cycles. We have a deeper and more talented squad than we’ve had for some time and the honduras game may depict that but its the first game away and we have nine more to go! You can blame it on alot of things but at the end of the day the players have to play better even of klinsy get shte tactics wrong! There is no excuse for not closing down space for open crosses leading to goals and the selfishness of dempsey in the attacking zone continues to irk the hell out of me…i know he is one of the more technical and talented players on our team but he continues to hurt our scoring chances with his extra touches on the ball and the haphazard long shots at goal that have no chance of going in the back of the neck! How is clint’s uninfluential play not brought up more? And i hope it’s not because he scored the goal….he was nonexistant the whole second half but people to blast landon for appearing in and out of games smh!!!

          • ronniet says:

            *”the honduras game may not depict that”! guess i should have edited before sending lol! IN all honesty guys now is not the time to panic, i mean did you really expect us to go underfeated in the hexagonal??? We’ve always been that team that could lose to anyone and beat anyone for years now so keep your heads up and watch our boys do the business the next 9 games!

  9. Spencer says:

    Definitely agree we looked tired. I don’t think Jozy had a poor game in comparison to most but it was obvious that him, chandler, f johnson along with others all looked tired. I don’t like the excuse about williams when comparing him to edu. Williams has been a sub for this second half of the season but a starter for most of the first. Lets not forget that Edu played a few minutes over about 4 months of time till he finally got a loan and has started the last two games.

    • Paul Miller says:

      If Williams ever has looked like an international player, it must have been in a game I didn’t see. I honestly thought the only reason he got so much time in Russia was because Klinsmann wanted to be fair with a last look at Williams.

      The only difference today was that none of Williams’ lost possessions resulted in goals – this time.

  10. YueFei says:

    Maybe Concacaf is just getting better as a region. That seems like the most likely option to me. That and we didn’t have the best roster to choose from.

    IMO, It was time to transition the back line, and time to give MLSer’s some respect. It is also time to realize we need to do one of two things:

    Go back to the 4-4-2 and try to score on set pieces and defend.

    Or, try to begin to develop service from the wings. I don’t really remember a time when we did that particularly well.

    • Paul Miller says:

      Service from the wings – remember, we didn’t have any wingers there. Well, Dempsey is a decent winger, but he was playing second striker. And Zusi, well, I should have said any good wingers.

  11. Dan says:

    This game showed me 1 thing. MLS has failed to improve US soccer. The reason it has failed is because it hasn’t kept American players here in MLS. We ship players abroad thinking when they come back they will be better for it. Truth is, the best thing for a team is the proximity of its players to the games they play. Since MLS we’ve had one good World Cup. We haven’t produced better teams. If anything they have gotten worse. This nation will never advance so long as we think it is better to send players abroad.

    • wilyboy says:

      Which is it, MLS or playing overseas?

      1) With a squad made up almost exclusively of MLS players, the US had its best World Cup in history, making it to the quarter finals.

      2) You’re really going to argue that playing overseas has hindered the progress of the national team? If so, good luck with that.

      3) A lot of players in CONCACAF play in Europe. They’ve gotten better, too.

      • Dan says:

        1) It is our best players not playing in MLS. It reduces the quality of the league as a whole which in turn stagnates development of American players and gives more opportunity to our CONCACAF rivals.

        2) The proof is in the pudding. The USMNT has not improved with more American players overseas.

        3) Yes, but many more are in MLS.

        • Jabez says:

          The proof is in the pudding! Odd place for proof. Leave clever tropes to the professionals. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” or this makes no sense.

      • BrianK says:

        “with a squad made up of almost exclusively of MLS player”???

        Correct me if I am wrong but were Claudio Reyna, John O’Brien, Tony Sanneh, Brad Friedel, Greg Berhalter, Eddie Lewis, Frankie Hejduk, Casey Keller, Earnie Stewart and David Regis playing in MLS at the time of WC 2002? Those guys were half the team. Not to mention that Reyna, O’Brien, Friedel and Sanneh were our most outstanding players during the tournament. And not to mention that Jeff Agoos,….Mr. MLS himself almost singhandledly sckuttled the USA’s fortunes.

    • YueFei says:

      MLS has made the Concacaf region as a whole much better. Thereby improving the quality of opponents we face during qualifying and regional tournaments. Barring the Euro players that don’t get much playing time, I don’t think you are making a good argument here.

    • Andy in Atlanta says:

      MLS has certainly improved Honduras….

      The fact is we played an up and coming team on their home field in 90 humid heat during the dead of Winter for our players on a pitch with the grass grown out specifically to tire the US out… We were terrible in defense because of poor selection and a half hearted effort by our right back… (whom people rate way higher than he deserves)… with all that… it still took a bicycle kick and a stupid GK/CB error to lose…

    • tw says:

      Doesn’t Boniek Garcia play in MLS? Maybe it has helped Honduras…

      I’d agree with the comment below that CONCACAF is improving and MLS has played a small role in that improvement. Honduras played in the World Cup. How many World Cup caliber teams can we beat on the road in a qualifying game? Not many, and it’s not the fault of MLS.

    • Josh says:

      The U.S. National Team has gotten worse since MLS? Are you out of your mind?

      Prior to MLS the United States did not even qualify for the World Cup consistently, yet it has not missed the tournament since the inception of MLS. Now, this is not solely DUE to MLS, but it has certainly played a factor, and to say the team has gotten worse is absurd. It has advanced beyond the group stage twice since the inception of MLS, which is essentially the same amount of times it did so in the history of the World Cup prior to the domestic league opening.

      If you are someone who expected the United States to join the world soccer powers in the matter of a decade, then you never had a firm grip on reality. All countries go through cycles with their national teams. If you expect the World Cup semis to be the landing point every four years, you’re not paying attention. Considering how far behind the rest of the world the U.S. is, the growth and achievement here is remarkable. If the United States is to every be on par with those powers – which it may never be – it will take generations.

      There is a lot of work to do in this country, and a lot of issues, but MLS has done nothing but help. Yes, the best Americans are eventually going to want to give it a shot in Europe. The fact that more and more are sticking should be proof of the improved development thanks to MLS and the overall growth of the sport in America. How does it stagnate development of American players? New, young Americans will step in. Just because it isn’t immediately apparent who those individuals are doesn’t mean they’re not there.

      The loss to Honduras was disappointing and illuminated some issues (some of which we already knew were there), but it certainly did nothing to harm the reputation of MLS and it certainly isn’t a sign of doomsday for the USMNT. There’s a long way to go in the hex, and beyond that there’s a long way to go for the team. It’s a natural progression, and progression doesn’t always happen in a straight line. Next WC team isn’t always going to be better than the last. It’s the same in every country in the world.

  12. Gilbert says:

    Ladies and Gentleman it shows you the quality of our overrated team

  13. Tyler says:

    We had a lot of the ball in the second half, and survived the rough patches in the first. They were fortunate to win. A bicycle kick and a goal that came in the midst of a lot of USA possession shows how unpredictable the game can be.

    • Chandler Bing says:

      The bicycle kick was not “unpredictable.” There were a series of defensive breakdowns that led to that first goal: (1) Chandler is disposesed at the end line, forcing Omar to make a slide tackle, knocking the ball out for a corner; (2) the corner sails over the mixer and is tracked down by Honduras, but the US (Williams?) is slow to close it down, allowing for an uncontested cross; (3) the ball floats to the back post and three (four if you want to count Chandler) ball watch while two hondurans track it, one of the honduran knocks it with his chest to the goal scorer (i.e., if someone challenged for the ball in the air they would have won it or at least not allowed the ball to fall to his chest); (4) the goal scorer has space to execute the bike as nobody had a body on him. Calamitous and unfortunately quite predictable.

      • Tyler says:

        Yeah, there were breakdowns. The biggest being the fact that the crosser got the ball in with his strong foot. But a goal like that is hard to predict, and is an extremely hard goal to score.

        Of course there are breakdowns on both goals. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been scored. But the US had much more possession in the second half than they did in the first, and ultimately should’ve gotten more out of it. Had they not scored, and Gonzo and Timmy not had a breakdown, I could’ve lived with it. That’s the unpredictability. Take your chances, or lose. We put ourselves in a decent position to get a point or maybe more. But ultimately it didn’t happen, and we fell apart after. We can fix things, certainy, but we had our chances too.

      • MN Footie says:

        +1 on the defensive breakdowns.

        And I agree with the reply, that it can be hard to predict goals like that. But I think the point is that, in the run of play leading up to that, there were two white shirts with about 4 yards of space around them inside the 18, and a bunch of blue shirts apparently lounging in the balmy Honduran sun just outside the six. You can’t give those attackers that space. The odds of scoring any goal (let alone a bizarre one) are exponentially higher if you do.

  14. Ezra says:

    Why does everyone keep singling Omar Gonzalez out? I don’t think he played that much worse than Cameron. And both of them and Howard messed up on that goal. I don’t understand why Cameron keeps getting starts at CB with the USMNT when he keeps struggling there and doesn’t play that position at Stoke.

    • Barrett says:

      Because, when you watch the replays of the second goal, Gonzalez watched the ball and didn’t run back to cover the goal when Honduras penetrated. Then he slows down to look around for Honduran players before stepping to the ball and trying to clear it. He misses twice on the play – if he had started running back when Honduras penetrated, he would have cut off the pass to Bengston or been in the right place to clear the ball off the line had the Honduran player eluded Cameron and rounded Howard, shooting on an empty goal. Even starting towards goal when he did, he could have cleared the ball if he hadn’t slowed down to look for Honduran players before kicking the ball. Two mistakes on one play is why the blame falls on him. Cameron and Howard didn’t deliver on the play, but I could argue that they simply got beat on the play, rather than making a big mistake.

      On the first goal, the same problem exists, but with different culprits. Cameron didn’t blow it because he didn’t beat the Honduran player to the ball, he just got beat. The whole defense blew it, however, because they all stood watching, not moving, as the cross came in from the right. All credit to the finisher on the bicycle kick, but the ball should never have made it to him. The initial cross (from the right, not the corner kick) should have been cut out or the pass blocked.

      • Eric says:

        I got to disagree with you on the second goal. Cameron was soft and gave up to easily thinking Timmy was going to save the day. He could have bodied him harder. I don’t care if Timmy is calling for it. You clear the danger first.

    • DREAM says:

      Omar Gonzalez passes completed: 5/13.

    • Dan says:

      I agree. Howard, Cameron and Gonzalez all made mistakes on that last goal. I realize Tim Howard has saved us a few times in the past, but most of the blame falls on him for that goal. He is the captain of the team. He took charge on that play and made absolutely horrible decisions. He shouldn’t have left his line (Cameron was there), he shouldn’t have called Cameron off the ball. Yes, Omar should have marked his man for the entire play, but when your goalie (and Captain of the team) leaves his line you expect he has the ball. The USMNT media is being way too generous to Howard on this second goal.

      • Matt C in Tampa says:

        Spot on Dan. For some reason, Howard seems to always avoid criticism by the press and most of the fan base. The one nice punch save he made would’ve/should’ve been made by any our of keepers.

  15. Rich says:

    We have never been good at road qualifiers. We sit back and play narrow and that never works. JK has gotten nothing more out of them than BB did.

    Everything was forgettable, PERIOD. Just like the Canada game…

    We need Holden back. And as much as I hate to say it we need Landycakes. Although he always disappeared on road qualifiers also.

    • Cairo says:

      So tired of hearing that a healthyHolden is going to be the savior. A good player? Yes. Better than Jones or Mo Edu or Sacha Klestjan? Maybe. A game changer on a team with no wingers? No way. Love the guy and he may make us a tiny bit better, but he is not the kind of player who will make a big difference on his own.

  16. David M says:

    Bob Bradley was making a base salary of about $450K a year. Klinsmann’s base salary is $2.5 million a year. With Bradley in charge, the US won an important hex qualifier in Honduras 3-2. With Klinsmann, the US lost an important hex qualifier in Honduras 1-2.

    I sure hope someone in the USSF can see the progress that justifies Klinsmann’s salary.

    • Grubbsbl says:

      I’m not sure it’s that high, I thought I read it was 1.5. Regardless Jürgen is getting paid big bucks. Frankly I haven’t been impressed. His road qualifiers stand at eeking out a win against mighty Antigua, a loss to Jamaica and Honduras, plus a tie to Guatemala. Thats bad, Im not convinced thats a true measure of our talent pool. I’m not ready to press the panic button on qualifying but I’ve seen enough of Klinsmann to have my suspicions that he talks a fancy game and says all the right things to impress demanding fans and USSF executives in Chicago but he is just an average coach. He talks about a proactive and pressing playing style and routinely trumps out sides who sit in and let average teams look good. And while Bradley bunkered, he at least developed teams who could counter at pace.

      In the last cycle Jozy was one of the leading scorers in the Hex. He looks like a shadow of himself at the international stage but has improved his productivity at the club level leaps and bounds. I used to be a Jozy hater, but now I am so wondering if Jozy’s form is more down to a coach who doesn’t know how to get the best out of this team.

      • David M says:

        When Klinsmann becomes “just an average coach” it will be a huge improvement.

        • Grubbsbl says:

          I was trying to choose an alternative to the hyperbole to avoid looking reactionary. What I do know is that the Bayern team he got fired from won the league, domestic cup and made it to the CL final 15 months later and only cut Massimo Oddo and added Gomez.

          • David M says:

            It didn’t win the league. It was in third place when Klinsmann got fired and finished second. Nor did it win the domestic cup with Klinsmann. It lost in the quarterfinal to Leverkusen.

            • Grubbsbl says:

              Jürgen was fired during the 2008-2009 season. He was fired late and Bayern stumbled to the finish line. The next season, or about 15 months later, with the addition of Gomez and if it makes you feel better, Pranjic, Bayern won the league, the domestic cup and were Euro runners up to The Special Ones’ Treble winning Inter.

              • David M says:

                So, what does Klinsmann have to do with the next season’s success? And don’t tell me that he laid the foundation — Bayern won both Bundesliga and the Cup in 07/08. So, basically, the team won the year before Klinsmann and the year after. And he managed to lose everything in less than one year he coached it.

            • Eurosnob says:

              To be fair, Bayern was only 3 points behind the first place team with 5 games to go when Klinsmann was fired and they finished 2 points behind the first team at the end of the season.

        • Al17 says:

          OUCH…..

    • Jim Morrison says:

      Thank you!

    • tw says:

      I was just going to post something similar. Can’t blame this one on “bunker Bob”. I think US fans are about to realize how good they had it.

      • Goalscorer24 says:

        How far do you think Bunker Bob would have gotten without Landon Donovan?

        • slimkid32 says:

          +1 Bradley invested no time in future players which is why we have a lot of younger talent that just aren’t ready to play at the international. He rode on the coattails of Howard, Donovan, and Deuce for as long as he could, with no real plan in mind for transition.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            interesting comment, i’d want to see stats on that.

            feel like it isn’t true, since pretty much any young players now on the radar for the usmnt were identified/called up by bradley.

            guess you could say he didn’t actually give them enough real minutes, but i’m not sure about that either.

            • Eurosnob says:

              Here are some of the young players that were first capped under Klinsmann: Fabian Johnson, Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud, Danny Williams, Graham Zusi, Joshua Gatt, Alfredo Morales, Terrence Boyd, Matt Besler, Bill Hamid, Joe Gyau (not capped, but received and accepted his first call up). To be fair, some of these players played for youth national teams in this country, but still Klinsman gave them their first opportunity with the USMNT.

  17. Dt says:

    I’d like to see stats on percentage of touches Kljestan had that ended in turnovers. IMO, he’s simply not good enough on the ball for international play.

    • Stracho says:

      I actually thought he did well to help our possession.

    • kirk says:

      I think you could say that about dempsey, jones, bradley, williams…etc. I say chalk this up to long travel, short turnover, hostile conditions(gameday, lodging, weather) and write it off. The urgency will be there for the next match and hopefully effort will match it. We just didn’t show up, not sure it will be a fruitful exercise to over-analyze this game. Team loss, blame goes out to everyone. Just my two cents. Also, gatt needs to be in this team if we are just throwing untested talent to the wolves. He will chase down everything and effort won’t be a problem. The wings might be a place where chances are created instead of where attacks go to die.

  18. Bostich says:

    It looked like some of the US players would’ve rather be playing for a different team.

  19. Peter says:

    I’m not going to jump to conclusions with this game. I’m not at all surprised with the result. With the oppressive heat and humidity, hostle atmosphere, and no time to really prepare the US already were in trouble. More of our players had to travel from far then there players. More of there players are accustomed to the environment. It’s not an excuse for today’s performance. The US should of possessed the the ball more. Smarter passing would of helped. But even if it was a better situation, a young and unfamiliar defense would struggle. You will see a lot of improvement as we go along. And I’m sure Donovan will be back too. A second or third place finish in the hex will be fine. Just as long as we improve along the way.

  20. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Can’t believe i’m defending/extolling EJ, but can anyone explain to me why EJ wa subbed out. Thought he was one of the few who created anything.

    • Colin says:

      I agree, never been an EJ fan, but I at least the dude was willing to take defenders on, for better or worse. The lack of initiative with our attackers is disheartening

    • David M says:

      Because we have a coach who is as clueless as he is highly paid.

    • slimkid32 says:

      At that point we were not looking to attack more. The subs were two guys normally good in possession, which is what we were looking for to finish out the game. Did it work out? Probably not. But was it a terrible substitution? No.

  21. Kojo says:

    That bicycle kick was a spectacular goal and if the player tried it 10 times in practice I would guess that he executes it that well one time out of ten. As for the second goal this is on Howard. If the goalie comes off his line he has to be 100% that he is going to get that ball. Howard didn’t and should have stayed on his line and let Cameron continue to run with the player. I think it showed a lack of confidence in Cameron from Howard to come out like that.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      agree with this. cameron and omar were certainly not blameless, but if a keeper comes out like that, he’s got to at least touch the ball. howard did not have a good game overall.

  22. Joamiq says:

    The front 6 looked terrible. Lifeless. Slow. No cohesion. No movement. The one time they actually made runs with purpose, they scored. The rest of the time they jogged or even just stood around. Klinsmann has deployed these players without defined roles and without any real system. This just is not going to cut it. The players have to play with purpose, and Klinsmann has to put them in a position to succeed.

    Honduras straight up dominated us. And given the disparity in talent between the teams, that just cannot happen.

  23. Norn Iron says:

    The back line was abysmal, but worse was our total lack of intensity, especially in the final 20-25 minutes. We looked flat and out of shape, and quite frankly like we just wanted out of there. Coaching, player selection, and tactics get you so far, but heart is immeasurable, and we showed NONE!

    • Barrett says:

      +1 This is what really made me mad. Two sloppy goals – one with a spectacular finish – were bad enough, but the lack of running at the end, down a goal in a World Cup Qualifier, was inexcusable.

      • Josh says:

        +1
        Could agree more. They played keep away for what seemed like the last ten minutes while we stood and watched.

  24. Flagermunsen says:

    This deck was stacked against the USA from the day the game was announced.
    (1) Honduras plays in a competitive tournament just before the HEX opener that ensures it’s players are in game shape and have a coherent unit that has been together for what, a month?
    (2) USA does not have a full team together for more than one practice
    (3) Euro players played on Sat, and Sun, are jet lagged
    (4) Game played in heat Euro players haven’t seen or felt in months
    (5) MLS’ers have not played but maybe one competitive game in 2-3 months
    (6) Away game

    I’m just glad we didn’t get our doors blown off by 5-6 goals. Did anyone think we really had a chance against a team that has been riding high, at home, full of confidence, and played together for at least a month, and recently battle tested in cola centroamericana?

    • B1879 says:

      Fair points. I might add that Mexico lost to both Honduras and El Salvador in the last HEX.

      • Monty says:

        Yep and that is why Sven Goran Ericksson was fired.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          he was actually fired before they lost to el salvador, but mex had been horrible for a while by then.

          still a good point, which is that there’s very little room (and heavy consequences) for error in the hex, although a little more now that 4th place plays oceania for final spot.

    • Monty says:

      These guys are professionals. You can’t make excuses for their poor performance.

  25. A says:

    Enough blaming Klinsmann.

    He put out a line that 90% of this site were clamoring for like rabid dogs. You got your Gonzalez. You got your Klesjstan. You got your Deuce and Jozy and Bradley.

    They blew chunks. Blaming their poor touches, slow play and lack of vision on Klinsmann is ludicrous. They did not move off the ball and they did not play quickly. That isn’t a “style” thing, it’s a basic soccer 101 thing and these guys are just incapable of doing so.

    • Grubbsbl says:

      Setting out a first 11 with zero wingers is one thing, but picking a 23 with no one who can get some paint on their boots and run at defenders is crimminal. Jürgen was out coached. Everyone knew he was going to condense the midfield, keep it narrow and have no real plan B. Honduras responded by basically playing 3 at the back and pushing their wide players as high up the pitch as possible. Half the time Honduras’ shape resembled a 3-3-4. And throwing EJ -who did alright to be fair and shouldn’t have came out- on the left wing was never going to work.

      Watch Roma, M. Bradley is effective cause they play expansive football where his passing range and energy is put to good use. I can only imagine he saw a wall of Hondorians when he got the ball oday cause our midfield was constantly 3 yards from him on his left and right. Asking a midfield of Jones, Williams, EJ and Bradley to combine is hilarious.

    • chris says:

      Please look at how defensive that formation was. Absolutely no width. Look at the heat maps, neither outsidebacks attacked. It was tactics set up for failure. JK set up team not to lose and they lost. Its always Jk’s brilliant tactics when we win but somehow its never his fault when we lose

    • Judging Amy says:

      I thought his substitutions were poor. But on the plus side for him, I felt they vindicated his choices for the starting lineup. Contrary to the SBI write up I thought Zusi and Kljestan were poor. Kljestan lost way too much possession, is way slower than EJ and was poor defensively. Zusi was worse. The “energy” he supposedly infused consisted of running around a lot, committing fouls, and killing offensive thrusts (that piss poor handball from a nice long ball capped off Zusi’s night).

      No one really had a great game, but I feel EJ and Jones were much, much better than the subs. EJ put in a few nice, dangerous crosses, tracked back to defend, and stretched the D. Jones was decent defensively and put in some nice passes including the beauty to Demps for the goal. Both actually produced some tangible good plays, as opposed to Zusi who supposedly showed hustle and energy. And Kljestan who showed…

      You know, thinking back on it, the way the team is set up, I don’t know who else Klins could have subbed in (maybe Torres or Davis or Herc but that’s just nitpicking) so I take back my criticism of his subs.

      I’m torn as to whether this is just a bad showing by the players in a tough, hostile environment or Klins needs to rethink his tactics. As Mexico showed against Jamaica, getting results isn’t easy even at home in qualifying. I think JK gets the benefit of the doubt.

    • Josh says:

      Before we claim soccer 101 under your list of understood concepts, please keep in mind the players he trotted out there and where they played. Yes, everybody on the pitch looked pretty bad, but at the same time the formation/situation they were in caused some of the problems. Forcing players into positions they don’t play doesn’t work. (ie. Johnson as left mid, three defensive mids all wanting to stay behind the ball, no mid who plays on either sideline)

      Blaming the players for lackluster performance is completely legit, but you also need to accept JK deserves some blame for continuing to force “styles” that don’t work. It’s not a video game, players are going to be better at their natural positions.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      A, the real problem (as others have stated) is that klinsmann left no room for plan b, which is what we all ragged on bob bradley for as well.

      ‘poor touches, slow play’ can have to do with environmental factors, but i agree with you that our players just played poorly.

      however, if you think that ‘these guys are just incapable’ of soccer 101, then isn’t it klinsmann’s job to recognize that, you know, before a qualifier? why would he play someone like that? i mean, if you can see that, why can’t he?

      and if these ‘incapable’ players are really the best we have, then klinsmann obviously isn’t setting up a gameplan best suited to their skill set, right?

  26. DREAM says:

    A few things:

    1. Omar was bad, time to give Besler his shot.

    2. Lets see Cherundolo and Zusi overlapping again at RB/RW, respectively.

    3. Enough is enough. High pressure means high pressure. Straighten out your midfield Jurgen. High work rates prevail. Bradley is fine, but we need a couple others to step in, immediately.

    • Josh says:

      Repeat of other comments, but we all want Besler to get a shot. I just think today proved there are better times to do it than road WCQs. July is the Gold Cup, which for all intents and purposes is pretty useless without the Confed Cup prize. That’s when they should be starting every game and getting reps.

      For the WCQs, survive and advance. Plenty of time to get the younger guys ready before 2014, just use the vets to makes sure we get to 2014.

  27. BillyFünf says:

    Klinsmann gets me every time. He talks about dominating the game, taking it to the other team, expecting 3 points, etc. I get fired up, excited to see attractive soccer, expecting at least a result. Then he trots out a lineup without a right midfielder/winger, subs the left winger for another central mid and for the second loss in a row wastes a sub on replacing the no. 6. Kuhscheiße! This guy should be a politician.

  28. Dennis says:

    Bottom line, the USA lost an important game. Everyone is at fault from the coach to the keeper, to the back line, to the midfield through the forwards. On the first goal, at least 3 defenders failed to defend even a bit until the ball came to a guy who was in a good spot to make an admittedly difficult shot. On the second goal, Bradley let a pass go unchallenged, Cameron and Howard conspired to fail to defend and Gonzalez looked tired getting back too late to prevent the goal. There is no USA player who isn’t having thoughts about the little mistakes he made (or at least there shouldn’t be). The coach trusted a back 4 who had never played together in a challenging game and who have a dearth of big game experience. The coach’s substitutions did not improve the USA’s level, despite the bump the fresh legs should have brought. The forwards did manage a goal, but were invisible for most of the game. Probably the most effective US player was Bradley, but that is small comfort since it took so little to outshine the rest.

  29. Joe from El Paso says:

    They flat out sucked today! Tomorrow is a new day…

  30. bryan says:

    Well the ties in these other games is good for us. Hope Jamaica can hold onto a draw.

  31. A says:

    Jamaica’s Johnson just had a 1 v 1 on goal inside the 18 and passed the ball pretty much to the keeper.

  32. Tim F. says:

    Great observations. The team could use Donovan.

  33. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    Why keeping seeing 3 holding midfielders??!! No attack flank players?? Only one forward!!!

  34. THomas says:

    Jamaica is about to draw Mexico at Azteca. Perhaps concacaf really has improved as a whole. I myself refuse to believe it, but I may have no choice but to believe it at this point. I’m so confused!

  35. Lassidawg says:

    I think we can all feel a little better after the Mexican result.
    You tell me which is worse a road loss to one of the favorites or a home tie to one of the bottom 3

  36. usa fan says:

    Jamaica plays an incredible match at the Azteca and pulls out a draw! Great game from the Reggae Boyz.

    • b says:

      I watched the last 30 minutes, and Jamaica looked quite capable. They were definitely defending and counterattacking, but doing so skillfully. Mexico looked flat – just like the US did today. I think this is going to be a wild hex…

  37. Jason B says:

    Okay, everyone can calm down now. Mexico and Jamaica just finished a 0-0 draw at Azteca. All is right in the US soccer universe. We will get 3 points from the Costa Rica match.

  38. Kosh says:

    Mexico 0 – Jamaica 0…at Azteca…and we thought we had a rough start.

    Chillax peeps – Mexico and the US had off starts. They will both qualify. I am sure no one qualified today or is out of it either.

    • natsalways says:

      Best news of the day. And Costa Rica tied Panama…..both great results for the US. That said, the Costa Rica game just became must win.

    • Benny says:

      You are right about that. The Costa Rica vs Panama draw and the Mexico vs Jamaica draw help the U.S. big time. The U.S. will qualify.

  39. Zztoppppp says:

    I hope besler gets a shot in a big game soon. I think out back line if the future should be
    LB-Johnson LCB-besler RCB- Gonzalez RB-cameron

    • Josh says:

      Don’t think you’ll find much argument. I’d love Besler to get a shot too. The problem is getting Besler in there at the right time. Gonzalez proved on the road in WCQs is not the time for baptism by fire.

  40. Lost in Space says:

    While our players played a bad game it was an away game where Honduras stacked the deck in their favor (field, loud, etc…). There were still a number of things I think we should have done better.
    1) An inexperienced defense put together for the 1st time start in a road game!
    2) IMO Jones would be better used as a #6 not a #8.
    3) Feilhaber, Zusi, Holden type player should have been paired with Bradley as the #8′s. Hopefully by March this will have sunk into JK’s brain.
    4) We need some speed options (Donovan, Gatt, Bedoya) either as Midfield wings or as wide forwards.
    5) The team needs more time together and a huge infusion of HART…

  41. alex says:

    I can see a lot of people here benchmarking the Honduran roster by the leagues they play in, as a Canadian fan on the back-end of an 8-1 ass whooping, I can tell you a lot is lost in translation there. Even our team looked better on paper than theirs did, it doesn’t mean anything. They had a much better roster than we did, it wasn’t even close.

    That being said obviously the USMNT is a fair amount more talented than the CMNT, but that doesn’t mean you guys are going to walk into Honduras and easily take away points. Not surprised they dropped this one, but you’ll still get them at home.

  42. USAmr says:

    Bad news/Good news.
    We’re in last place in the hex after the first round.
    But….
    We are 3 points out of first and 1 point behind everyone else.

  43. Scott says:

    We used to score on set pieces. Now we have now one playing that takes those kicks. Corners and free kicks, no one on field today seemed prepared to take them.

    • Josh says:

      For what it’s worth, Zusi takes them for SKC and the last corner was good, just missing the finish by Gonzalez. Jones’ corners weren’t all bad. But other than that, completely agree. Bradley had some terrible balls and terrible decisions

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i thought the service was pretty decent; we just weren’t getting to the ball.

  44. g-dub says:

    “Catrachos continue to impress”

    Very true. Have to say I really like their team. They appear to care deeply about their country and fight for one another. They have a team chemistry and are bought into a common vision.

    Sincerely,
    Jelous USMNT fan

  45. fan10 says:

    Where’s Zach Loyd!!??

  46. Neruda says:

    The bicycle kick was sweet but that last Honduras goal was a bad bad display by the whole backline except Fabian J. It was bad and the response afterwards by the Yanks was so pedestrian. The energy level by the US was very timid. I hope someone like Clint Dempsey showed some fire and yelled a little in the locker room.

    To give up that late goal in that fashion sucked.

  47. Josh says:

    So after reading the comments on the three post-game articles, can somebody explain to me why people think Sunil Gulati should be fired? What do you expect him to do? People piss and complain about the coach every time the team loses. Losses happen. Coaches make mistakes. They all have different tendencies and downfalls, but why is that management’s fault?

    Two years ago, people left and right were begging Gulati to fire Bradley and do everything possible to get JK. He did it, JK is here, and now everybody wants him gone again. You can’t piss and moan every year and then get upset when what you wanted all along doesn’t work out. I dislike a lot of JK’s decisions too, but before everybody harps on Gulati, remember what you begged for two years ago.

    • wendellgee says:

      So you are saying that the people who wanted JK hired and the people who now want him fired are the exact same people? That’s a strange assumption.

      • DCD says:

        I don’t think it’s too farfetched to imagine significant overlap, and it’s not necessarily irrational, given that there’s now actual performance with the team to evaluate.

    • DCD says:

      I think it’s the lack of progress. US Soccer appears to have stalled since 2002, and Gulati is the only individual one can associate with the overall performance over a longer span. Now, that said, I tend to agree with you that scapegoating him makes little sense. The ultimate issue is the status of the sport in a very large country, fighting for eyeballs and attention in a media environment that, more than ever, allows viewers and readers staggering choices, but sees them restricting their experimentation accordingly as it’s easier to saturate oneself in the tried and true.

      I never thought Klinsmann’s “we’ve got to get the ‘lower classes’ playing” (paraphrase) was all that insightful or practical (it’s kind of obvious that we need more people understanding and following the game from all walks of life, and the “lower classes” comment evinces a lazy, European way of looking at American society), and wasn’t exactly begging for his hire. He seems like a salesman more than anything else. But the hire was more than defensible. Here was a guy who had won before, understood European soccer, had international connections, and had lived int he US long enough to have some understanding of the structure. Gulati made a very reasonable choice, and shouldn’t be blamed for that.

      I actually think we’re on the right track, generally, with MLS battling its way to greater public recognition, and along the way building academies of the sort that will produce more polished players earlier, and, we can hope, building better scouting networks that can find kids who perhaps aren’t plugged into the standard youth programs. We also reap the benefits of the gains of the past when our former players become coaches and better teachers of the game.

    • Keith says:

      Soooo Clueless.

  48. Scott A says:

    “Charisma takes you places. Character keeps you there.” Prove yoself, Klinsy.

  49. Phlub says:

    1) This game could have gone either way.

    2) The US needs to learn to keep the ball in the final third for longer and win balls back after a clearance. It’s always one meager try and then lose possession.

    3) Bradley was not to blame at all besides his mid-clearance that led to the first goal.

    4) The US attacked better overall than against Canada, better approach. Stretched the game a bit and lead some counters which they haven’t done enough of lately.

    5) We do need more talent up front and wide. Donovan, Shea, another spark moving forward to give Jozy some more chances to play off of, hold the ball, and create chances. EJ has moments but is not a long term option. Either is Zusi, Sacha or Williams for that matter. All decent, but none of them fill the need here.

    6) This was not a shock. No one in their right mind predicted the US to win under these circumstances. Long flights for the Euro players, short turn arounds off weekend matches, a hostile surrounding, you could only hope for a draw realistically. Honduras is GOOD. One the US should have fought harder for defensively, but this was not a performance to be so bummed about. Disappointing for coach, players, fans. But should be easy to recover from.

    7) Mexico tying Jamaica at home was the real shock of the day. Not a lot of ground to make up at this point in the Hex. We’ll be fine.

  50. Lil' Zeke says:

    Those ‘Catrachois’ were a tough bunch of French Canadians out there today

  51. Goalscorer24 says:

    What is interesting in these road games we have lost, they have all started with the US scoring (via Dempsey), and then ultimately losing 2 to 1. That pattern has to change, and the US defense needs to have more familiarity with each other so they can have some cohesion.

  52. todd nelson says:

    Chandler was completely unfit and was the worst player on the field today.

  53. Andy N says:

    Bring back Jimmy Chitwood!

  54. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Growing pains for the D. Ballsy move by JK to go with Omar and Cameron, Boca must have really looked poor in training to give Omar the start…Omar must have clearly been the better option, even considering his lack of nats experience. Honestly one of the leading factors for the loss, and a savvy move by Honduras was moving the game time to the hottest time of the day. The US european players are playing games in the 30s and 40s and have 1-2 days to acclimate to temperatures in the 80s with high humidity…they looked absolutely drained, a step slow and out of sorts. Honduras was ready to roll, just coming off a tournament in the region. I don’t understand all the handwringing over the loss. This game was always going to be an ugly defensive affair and brutal for our CBs. There is a long ways to go, we’ll be more dynamic and play much better at home. JK will be fine tuning the roster all the way through the Hex. I don’t see a lot of pressure in qualifying, worst case scenario, we need to beat a team from Oceania to go to Brazil…I think we can do that. The two biggest takeaways from the game… Chandler is thankfully cap tied and JK most likely has moved on from Boca as a starter, which was necessary and needed to happen sooner rather than later to give the new CBs adequate time to gel prior to the WC.

  55. baropbop says:

    $.02
    1. Klinsmann keeps trying to put square pegs into a round hole. This isn’t the time for experimenting. He can worry about transforming the model when qualifiication isn’t on the line. The players don’t fully understand his system and he should be implementing it slowly not making drastic change.
    2. The team isn’t good enough to play with 3 in the midfield. Ever. Period. I know there’s always some hybrid explanation for the formation, but ultimately JK is trying to play a 433. It isn’t working.
    3. Between USA, Costa Rica, and Honduras one isn’t going to make it. Though a bit melodramatic….this game was extremely important. It wasn’t the time to make this many changes to the lineup.
    4. We need defenders who defend far more than we need defenders who attack.

    • jb says:

      I really like #4. Cherundolo is the only FB we have who is good enough to get forward and attack while still defending adequately. Chandler and F Johnson are fabulous athletes and skilled but not far enough along mentally to attack without giving up to much defensively. I was actually fairly surprised at how bad those two looked. Wasn’t too surprised at how bad the centerbacks looked. I think Klinsmann needs to realize that without Cherundolo he cant expect the FBs to provide all the width going forward! We need to have at least one wide midfielder that plays like a winger to stretch the field and open the center up a little bit.

  56. Caxamarca says:

    we need a creative mid, just one ONE, Torres maybe, Sacha? I doubt it, but at least put him in the correct position…Fellhaber, definitely the answer, no, he is not an “attacking” mid so much as a guy who controls the rythym of the game, involves everyone, gets his head up for crying out loud..can CONNECT passes…calms the team, unlocks the D, I give a F how he played at NE on that garbage team, he has always excelled on the Nats….that one player changes everything, links the play and makes Bradley better. Sad commentary when your best creative mid for a game is your hammer- Jermaine Jones…

  57. juan says:

    Another unacceptable result but it’s more than just the loss. His approach isn’t working… at all. It doesn’t matter if it’s camp cupcake, against Canada or this game…. we have no attack and the defense isn’t that good either. That leaves NOTHING. When has the lone striker worked? and yet we keep going to it. I think we had about two shots and none came from Jozy.

    Watched the Mexico Jamaica game and both look like they can beat us. JK needs to find something that works, or do the right thing and quit, or we’ll be watching the WC on TV.

    Ask yourself this… who in our group are we going to beat playing like this?

    I bet Arena would take the gig, on short notice. I could see him loving the chance to be the savior. I also now know why JK doesnt stick in a coaching role… he’s not that good

    • biff says:

      The coaching job yesterday was pathetic. And I mean Klinsmann’s performance. The Honduras coach make Klinsmann look like a rookie. As I said in a state of shock after the game yesterday, US Soccer needs to have a contingency plan in place if the the USMNT is not able to pull at the very least four points out of the next three games. Four points would be borderline, hard to fire Klinsmann. But three or less then he has gotta go. I think Gulati needs to send a strong message that Klinsmann has got to stop tinkering around with this silly experiments playing people out of position. Klinsmann has been doing this since the very beginning and wasting valuable time to get the team in shape and now 18 months later he has D-mid Jermain Jones as right winger and D-mid Michael Bradley as CAM and forward Eddie Johnson as left winger. And don’t get me going on the decisions to start Danny Williams and to bench Boca which Klinsmann also did for the Jamaica debacle in Kingston.

      • kimo says:

        Spot on biff. I couldn’t have said it any better myself in terms of playing players out of position. Let’s face it, Klinsmann is simply not a very good coach. He’s flying by the seat of his pants. His team selections literally make no sense.

    • biff says:

      You know, Juan, your Bruce Arena comment sort of flew over my head on first reading but somehow it started clawing back and, I tell ya, you can bet your last dollar that Landon Donovan would be playing for the USMNT and wearing the captain’s armband if Arena was coach and we need Landon Donovan, an American soccer legend.

      Let’s not forget that last August Donovan agreed to play in Mexico City when several other experienced USMNT players opted out. Bocanegra was not there. So who does Klinsmann name captain? Tim Howard. Unless Landon one day speaks publicly about it, we can never know for sure how this affected Donovan. Was it no big deal to Landon? Or was it like a dagger in his heart feeling betrayed by his buddy Klinsmann? Tim Howard is great and he is one of my favorite players on the team. But Donovan more than anyone has earned the honor of being captain in the World Cup 2014 cycle, his last.

      I think Klinsmann needs stop his tough public comments about Donovan and instead swallow his pride and admit his mistakes and give Landon Donovan a telephone call and beg him to come back home and offer him the captain’s armband. Of course, Donovan has his haters, but most of us would welcome him back with open arms and with sighs of relief. If Klinsmann remains stubborn, there is a chance he is going to find himself four games into the Hex with the USMNT at the bottom of the table and fired in disgrace. Of course, he would still collect his $2.5 million salary for the remainder of his contract.

    • Jeb says:

      no, please 1000 times nooo. We need anything BUT Bruce Arena…does everyone remember his total lack of decision making in the usa ghana game..(crazy uruguyan ref), but he literally waited until the final 15 minutes to sub EJ in. The man is not international quality coaching…Let just cool down and not jump to any rash conclusions.

      • David M says:

        Well, Arena took a team that was considered one of the weakest in the field, whose players no one knew outside the US, to a WC quarterfinal. And, by the way, the team actually outplayed Germany in that game.

        • Ben says:

          Yeah, but we had Beasley and Donovan and they had tons of speed. You simple need speed, especially on the wings, if you want to dream of winning major soccer games with regularity. We have no wingers and that is not Klinsi nor Bradley’s fault, except that I think a raw winger is better than a dmid on the outside.

      • biff says:

        @Jeb: I also am not a big Arena fan. But, quite frankly, if Klinsmann were fired today and Arena took over, I would not be complaining because unless Klinsmann changes his current methods, I think the team would be in better hands with Arena.

        In Germany there is common phrase when a coach has lost the locker room. They say: The team is playing against the coach. It is a common phrase because is happens from time to time. it appeared that this happened this year with Hoffenheim players not happy with Markus Babbel and Wolfsburg players miserable under Felix Magath.

        I have no doubt that all USMNT players yesterday tried their best to win that game. But the play was so lethargic and at times awful, with the misplaced passes and free kicks up into the ozone, that it almost appeared that they were playing against the coach. I can’t explain it. I was stunned at how bad it was and lack of fight. Methods and tactics and strategy need to be changed.

  58. ilikefreddyyesadu says:

    Shea —-Bradley—-Holden—-Donovan.is the midfield I want to see. Will they ever be healthy at the same time?

    • David M says:

      Not sure yet about Shea, but certainly to have the other three, in top form, on the field at the same time would be quite a treat.

  59. az says:

    Its funny Jurgen criticized Mix for not being physical enough, but his game isn’t a physical game and he has the offensive creativity our team needs, at least until Holden recovers!

  60. Corey says:

    I am sure that most people here have watched the studio 90 videos. Does anyone think that maybe we spend too much time doing yoga and swimming in pools as opposed to other teams which join up for the national team probably just play? Yes, stretching is important but don’t you think that that kind of stuff should be taken care of at the club level? You have four days together, you should be working with the ball all the time, as a team. Really, do you think England does yoga two days before game? I even think that that kind of stuff is maybe too relaxing and doesn’t prepare you for the game with limited time.

  61. Alex G says:

    I´m really worried, right now I´ve lost all my confidence in this team, some things to consider:

    1.- Are we really this bad as a team?, individually we have some good players but JK can´t find the right formation to make them work together.
    2.- As Ives pointed out, we need Donovan back and we need him committed.
    3.- We need a draw either in Mexico City or in Costa Rica.

    Bad day for US Soccer, we are the laughing stock of our region.

    • Thebumswillalwayslose says:

      You mean the laughing stock of our region where Mexico just tied Jamaica at home and got booed off the field by 45,000 of their own fans? Or our region where it took a Bryan Ruiz miracle goal for Costa Rica to salvage a point against Panama? No one’s the laughing stock of anything right now. To say that “We’re the US, we should beat Honduras every time because we’re the US”, or to say that anyone who loses to Honduras is a “laughing stock” is seriously underestimating the Honduran squad. Bottom line, this is going to be an extremely competitive Hex and this just underlines the point that you have to go into every game, home or away, ready for a battle.

  62. ford says:

    I agree with some others here…. 3 d mid type players is a recipe for not scoring…

    I know Jurgen loves him some Jones… but outside of the one assist on the goal, he was useless yesterday… the guy has never dribbled around anyone.. in any one on one situation he loses the ball..

    Bradley and Edu with Donovan, Holden (once he’s fully fit) and Brek Shea hopefully moving to the next level…. a combination of that group would be much better on the attack…

    I’d like to see Dempsey play up front more…. we need some passing and creativity in the midfield..

    • Cairo says:

      This i agree with. Think we need to try someone other than Jones. Not sure who, but he loses as many balls as he wins.

  63. Speed Merchant says:

    I’m sure there were other pundits out there with similar outlooks at the time, but Ryan Rosenblatt pretty much nailed it in visionary fashion with his article from July of 2011:

    link to sbnation.com

  64. ford says:

    oh… and Dominic Kinnear for the next USMNT coach…though I’d hate to lose him from the Dynamo.

  65. TOM says:

    Make Donovan 22 again and play him at attacking mid please. Make Boca 40 so he’s out of contention.

  66. Vic says:

    I didn’t see the game but I followed it online. When I saw the second half subs I knew we were in for trouble. Fitness had NOTHING to do with our loss. I’ve looked back to previous games through 2011 and notice a pattern when we play poorly and lack possession. We have too many unskilled players on the field. These are the players I’m referring to: Agudelo, Altidore, Edu, Ream, Spector, Klesjtan, Beckerman, Shea and Rogers. The lack of possession and losses are: Paraguay 2011, Panama 2011, Costa Rica 2011, Jamaica 2012 and Honduras yesterday. All these games had one thing in common: a few a these players were on the field at the same time. I’m not saying they’re bad players individually for their club team, however if you put them all together you give up possession, start chasing the other team, get tired, look unfit and lose games.

  67. Marcello says:

    What I find troubling is that Klinsman says one thing and ends up putting out something entirely contrary. Hes starting to sound a lot like a used car salesman who needs to use more BS to make up for his lack of Quality in what his product.
    Klinsman promise #1: “more attacking and positive/proactive game plan.”

    Actual Product: 3 Defensive/Holding mids in the center of the park with an inexperienced backline and a detached attacking front. No coordination. Kljestan, Torres, Zusi warming the bench.

    Klinsman promise #2: “creating an “American Style” and using it to dictate the game”

    Actual Product: A patch-work defense almost always out of sync and out of position. Losing the ball all to easy, and relying way too much on long balls.

    Klinsman Promise #3: “Implementing a more dynamic formation like a 4-3-3 with a premise on a more posession and balanced-attack approach.”

    Actual Product: a 4-3-3 that looks a lot more like a 4-5-1 that tends to shape into a 4-2-3-1 but actually ends up being less effective and dynamic than a 4-4-2….. A formation he eventually switches to AFTER the team was losing with 4 center mids 2 of which he stationed on the flanks.

    Don’t even get me started on the whole US Youth development. This guy needs a little fire on his arse. This would never fly in Germany. Go USA!

  68. Ryan says:

    This is just a thought for a line-up for future qualifiers, considering Cameron is not playing in the same position that he plays club in. It also takes in account the need to replace bocanegra in the near futur.

    howard
    Chandler-Gonzalez-Beslerr-F Johnson
    Cameron
    Jones. Bradley
    Zusi. Dempsey
    ST

    This gives the team a CB who is used to organizing the defence. It places Cameron in a similar position as to where he plays for stoke(somewhat) jones could be replaced with a more attacking mf or with williams. Then place whichever striker Klinnsman fancies at the moment

  69. Keith says:

    Your last point Marcello was the best…youth development.
    Youth development has nothing to do with the trainwreck of yesterday in Honduras but this guy gets pais $6,000 A DAY and he was supposed to develop us from top to bottom

    Check out our level of improvement since Gulati took over. He is the ultimate soccer “Teflon Don”

  70. YO says:

    JK needs to get a new assistant talented enough to overcome his tactical footballing deficiencies. Never been a fan of the current assistant, I think he lacks the tactical ability to advise JK.

  71. The Ghost of Alexi Lalas says:

    Maybe someone else has already said this, but first congrats to Honduras, a fine, determined, well-organized team. And second, it’s good for the USMNT to (finally) have a real challenge other than Mexico. All road games should be tough, none should be taken for granted. The future of CONCACAF looks brighter with Honduras stepping up like this. The competition will be good for the USMNT too.

  72. Pingback: Stinking it up in Honduras, Hack on competition in camp, more news | Florida News Feed

  73. JB says:

    I wonder if some of the U.S. players were sick – it is cold and flu season after all. Some of them looked like they’d prefer to be in bed.

  74. wichin says:

    Finally saw the game. Midfield was dead. Lack of communication in the back..we will be ok.

    One thing I am concerned about is that subs are supposed to bring in excitement for already tired legs. There was none of that. Hercules Gomez was one that could bring energy. He was left on the bench for purely technical players in Sasha and Zusi. We have no players in the current pool that can bring energy. I know everyone hates Adu but he would bring some spark in situations like this.
    Also, our European boys were tired. They came from a cold climate to a hot and humid one and Klinsmann should have seen that.

  75. Jeff Fulton says:

    US Played like crap and Honduras was much better.

  76. OBRick says:

    Boy did we look out of shape. I wonder if this is the first time Chandler has ever played in the heat and humidity. It sure looked that way.

  77. Cairo says:

    Something I keep wondering when I read these posts–we all agree that the team could use more creativity in attack. Just curious what our most creative, dynamic team would be. I’m not talking about our best team, but the most creative one. One caveat–you can’t play players in positions that they don’t at least sometimes play. Here’s a stab:

    —————————————-Eddie Johnson——————————————–
    ————————————————Clint Dempsey———————————–
    Lee Nguyen———————-Freddy Adu———————————–Josh Gatt
    ———————————————Benny Feilhaber————————————-
    Fabian Johnson————Matt Besler——–Geoff Cameron————Steve Cherundolo
    ———————————————-Howard—————————————–

    Obviously, Bradley, Jozy, and Cameron are among our “best” players, but for creativity, I’d argue that this would be better. Would be fun, even as they might bleed goals. Obviously this is not happening, but with all the talk of creativity, am curious what others think…

    • beachbum says:

      one simple solution is to nix the 3 pack of JJ, MB and Williams…it’s too obvious.

      just by taking off Williams and playing JJ in that destroyer spot opens up a spot for a Davis or Zusi or Bedoya or Benny

  78. euroman says:

    Ives at what point does JK get sacked? If the US takes no points in the March matches does the death watch start? Would Sunil stay with him all 10 matches and watch this team not qualify? The senior players at guiding this team just like Phil Lam’s group did for Germany but if Dolo,Boca & LD aren’tthere the set the tactics this team will not qualify for the WC.