U.S. has night to forget against Honduras
The less said about the United States’ Hexagonal-opening defeat to Honduras on Wednesday the better.
While losing the opening game isn’t the end of the world – Mexico certainly didn’t look any better in drawing at home with Jamaica – it does give the team a wake-up call that qualifying for Brazil 2014 isn’t going to be a walk in the park.
“Obviously, it’s not what we wanted,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann understated afterward. “We wanted to start with a positive result, and we have to fix that right away now against Costa Rica in Denver in March. But we knew it was going to be difficult. … There are no excuses. When you lose a game here, there are reasons for it. The reasons for it today were that too many players were underneath their usual performance. We made too many mistakes. … We gave them far too much space today.”
The loss was the USMNT’s first ever in a World Cup qualifier at Honduras, as well as the first time the U.S. failed to win its opening game in the CONCACAF Hexagonal.
Throw in last year’s first-ever loss to Jamaica and it makes you wonder just what is going on. Wins against Italy and Mexico in friendlies is nice, but these are the games that really count.
Luckily, this is just the first of 10 games for the team this year, so there is plenty of time (theoretically) to work things out.
“I can’t repeat this enough: This is a long road,” midfielder Michael Bradley said. “Is it disappointing today not to walk away with a point? Absolutely. But we can’t lose our heads, can’t let ourselves be thrown off course. These are the kinds of games we expect. You come here knowing it’s going to be a really difficult game, and that’s reality. Now we’ll go back to Denver in March and know that it’s going to be a really difficult home game against Costa Rica. But we need points. That’s the pressure, but that’s what we’re used to.”
We should know pretty quickly if the team is up to the pressure. After facing Costa Rica in Denver on March 22, the U.S. travels to Mexico just for days later for a game where the El Tri will be looking for revenge after dropping that friendly at Azteca.
If the U.S. can’t get three points off of Costa Rica, the pressure may be more than even Bradley can imagine.
(Photo by Getty Images)