By Kevin Koczwara
Honduras has not been an easy place to play in this round of the CONCACAF qualifying, to say the least. No body has beaten the war torn country at Francisco Morazan so far, and the Honduras team hadn’t lost at home in 17 consecutive matches. And The United States National team looked to be dead in the water early on, giving away a free kick outside the box lead to a Honduras goal and a 1-0 lead. The “Yanks” (I hate that nickname and will not use it ever again) collected themselves and ended the highly entertaining game with a 3-2 victory.
Giving up an early goal is a place the United Stats has been before. In fact the U.S. National team has made it a habit to fall behind early on in matches. They have been behind 6 out of their last 10 matches. Giving up an early goal has become a calling card of theirs in a way. It is a good thing that the team has learned to rebound from early deficits, but the sign of a true world power is one that doesn’t have to come from behind, a team that controls play, dominates possession and puts the ball in the back of the net without letting any in their own.
The United States need to start to become a team that can control a game from start to finish while keeping an opponent on its back like a hapless turtle. The United States needs to start showing positive signs going into next years World Cup. The squad needs to mature and start playing real football, rather than the kick and chase style they implement a lot of times now.
The game in Honduras was big step for the squad, it showed that they could win in Hostile environments. The World Cup will be one giant hostile environment. Assuming that Americans jump on the bandwagon in a HUGE way in the next year, the US squad will have fewer supporters than most countries competing. So, the United States needs to start to adapt, and become adept in fighting off large crowds, home field environments, and surges from other squads.
Hopefully tonight we will see a determined and controlled US side control the play of the game against Costa Rica. It won’t be easy as Costa Rica is fighting for the third spot in CONCACAF and an automatic bid to the World Cup. If Costa Rica loses and Honduras wins, then they will have to play the fifth seeded team from South America–could be Uruguay, Argentina or Peru, not any teams that a CONCACAF team would want to face for qualification.