The U.S. Men’s National Team disposed of Honduras on Wednesday night with a 3 -1 victory. The U.S. gained a berth to the Gold Cup final where they will face the winner of the second semifinal, which sees Mexico take on Panama. The team performed well for the majority of the game, but it was the right side of the field that saw the most positive action for the U.S.
A few players combined beautifully on the right side to really open up the game and provide the scoring touch that the U.S. needed. Starting with Michael Parkhurst in defense, the play continued through Alejandro Bedoya and Eddie Johnson. The latter two really combined well with Landon Donovan to produce some great team goals.
The Honduran defense was kept busy for most of the night, with the U.S. continuously making dynamic runs. Crisp, one-touch passes cut through the defense and made for some attractive soccer. I noticed more long balls this game than others in the tournament, but it was an adjustment that the team made to capitalize on some weaknesses in Honduras’ defense. These long balls require a player to put forth an extra effort to help get his teammates open and we saw that effort from Johnson and Bedoya tonight.
This team has maintained a high level of play since its defeat to Belgium, which has seen them achieve the longest winning streak in team history. A few of those games have been close, but the majority, although against some weak teams, have been convincing wins. The U.S. can put an exclamation point on a stunning couple of months with a win in the final.
Personally, I want to play Mexico to get some revenge from 2011’s final. A much stronger U.S. side started off very well but ended up losing 4-2. With the U.S. in fine form and Mexico barely scraping by in their games, it looks like the Americans would be victorious if the two meet. Honestly, it doesn’t matter who they face, because nobody in CONCACAF can match the U.S. right now.
On a side note, the referee was extremely lax in the game. He made some good calls, but let a lot of dangerous plays go through. José Torres was on the receiving end of a couple of yellow card-worthy challenges which the referee let go. Coach Jürgen Klinsmann was sent off with only minutes to go for complaining about a foul committed on DaMarcus Beasley. This could have implications on the final if Klinsmann is not present on the touch line.
The U.S. didn’t have as many chances as past games, but the finished the ones that they did have. This win brings the team one step closer to Gold Cup victory and a win streak worth taking note of. With the form that Landon Donovan is in right now, I expect him to put in a championship performance and lead the Americans to victory.