MATCHDAY! Honduras v. USA Preview
Well, today is the day. The opening day of play in the HEX. The USA will be taking on Honduras at 3 o’clock live on beIN Sport (Whatever a BeIN Sport is). Here is the Desert Island’s brief preview to get you ready for kick-off.
Predicted Formation - 4-2-3-1
Chandler Cameron Gonzales F. Johnson
Zusi Dempsey Torres
Score Prediction - USA-2 Honduras-1
There’s a lot to talk about with this match. The United States is going in to the match with only single day’s worth of practice. Most of the squad are currently playing for European clubs (Or on an indefinite leave-of absence). The team flew in to Miami from all over the world on Monday and then from Miami to Honduras on Tuesday. Will this lack of practice - and sheer exhaustion - have an effect?
Maybe: theses guys are professionals and they’ve had to play similarly many matches in a short period of time previously. The weather will also be a factor. We’re expecting temperatures in the upper 80s. Will our boys have any trouble adjusting to the climate? Most of them will be used to playing in harsh winter climates in Europe. I fully expect this factor to be one of the the single biggest challenges we face today.
The other factor I expect to play a huge role is the crowd. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about CONCACAF qualifying over the years, it’s that Central American fans are CRAZY. The match kicks off at 3 p.m central time and the government of Honduras asked all businesses to ‘please close at noon so the fans could get ready to watch the match.’ Yes, seriously. The passion is going to make for a great atmosphere, but how will it effect communication on the pitch?
There’s also a possibility that this back line will be playing together for the first time. Our projected back line could face some issues. Timmy Chandler has the option of playing for the German National Team and has made the fact that he has options known. However, if he plays today he will be cap-tied to the USA, which is why we expect him to start. Cameron has been playing right back at Stoke, but he’s a competent enough defender who should be able to slip back in to the center-back role at ease. The Captain, Carlos Bocanegra has not been getting playing time for Racing de Santander in Spain, which is why we expect the young L.A Galaxy defender Omar Gonzales to start. This will be their first center back pairing if Omar does start, so hopefully their lack of chemistry won’t be disrupted by the noise of the Honduran crowd. If Bocanegra does get the start, he’ll bring an extra veteran voice to that back line to help solidify that pairing. Either way, we expect Timmy Chandler at RB
These issues at the back are why we predict two holding mids to play in front of them. Bradley and Edu are proven defensive midfielders who can get the job done, while simultaneously being able to get up in the attack.
Despite all the issues we might be facing at the back, our attack is very effective. Slipping Dempsey in the hole, allowing him to roam and create at will, should pull the Honduran defense out, letting Gomez slip in and create chances. Zusi and Torres are two young players who have gotten very little time for the USA but have impressed in their leagues and hopefully will be able to get the team playing wide in the absence of Landon Donavan.
Although we may face some issues, we’re fairly confident in our boys being able to get a result today. An open first fifteen to twenty minutes should give both teams opportunities to score. The game will eventually settle down and become a battle of mental discipline - something that the players for the US have proven they have in spades. As long as they can communicate effectively on the pitch, stay composed against an intimidating Honduran crowd, and assert themselves and their style on the opponents, we expect the USMNT to bring home 3 points.