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List of Americans Abroad

Costa Rica humiliates Americans 3-1 in World Cup qualifier.

Hejduk, others unavailable as Americans visit Costa Rica for qualifier.

Altidore's three goals lead strong U.S. effort in win over T&T.

U.S. responds to poor effort with late rally to draw El Salvador 2-2.

U.S. continues home domination of Mexico by starting final qualifying with 2-0 victory.

Final round of World Cup qualifying opens with weakened Mexico.

Kljestan shines in dull U.S. victory over Sweden.

CONCACAF draw has Americans facing Mexico to open final round of qualifying.

Cooper, Adu lead U.S. to dominant, if meaningless, decision over Guatemala.

Qualifying loss to ascendant T&T means little to U.S. men.

Cooper says no to invitation to join U.S. team in qualifying.

U.S. bursts into final round of qualifying by demolishing Cuba 6-1.

Improved U.S. attack sinks T&T, nears advancement to final qualifying round.

Americans score first victory in Guatemala in ugly qualifier.

High security follows Americans around Guatemala City.

Qualifying semifinals begin with trip to unfriendly Guatemala.

U.S. methodically closes out Barbados to advance in qualifying.

Against weak foe, U.S. attack finally finds itself in 8-0 qualifying rout of Barbados.

Howard saves U.S. men in 0-0 draw with Argentina in match of tired teams.

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Analysis

U.S. survives early lapse, to rally past Honduras in important qualifier.

By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

CHICAGO (Saturday, June 6, 2009) -- The United States men gave up an early goal once again, but came back to dominate Honduras for much of the match and escape with a 2-1 victory tonight before a near sellout of 55,647 in Soldier Field, a majority of which were wearing Honduran blue and white.

Winning the CONCACAF World Cup qualifier was crucial for the Americans after dropping Wednesday night's qualifier at Costa Rica 3-1 with a poor effort. At the mid-way point of the six-nation, 10-match final round for the region of North America, Central America and the Caribbean, the U.S. is in second place at 3-1-1 with 10 points. The top three finishers qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, while the fourth team enters a playoff for another berth.

Once again, a midfield miscue put the U.S. in an early hole but, unlike against Costa Rica, the Americans came back strongly and dominated the action, especially in the second half. Still, they again had problems in the final third and could not make the final pass or connect on an open shot, allowing the match to stay close.

"A tough game for sure," relieved U.S. coach Bob Bradley said somewhat wistfully. "It's not easy when you start the game and give up a goal the first time the other team comes down the field. But we finished strong and it was an important three points (in the standings). The one thing you try to get across to a team is that you can have a great plan, but the ability to deal with the game as it unfolds, the ability to respond. . . That is what the game is about."

Just as was the case Wednesday in Costa Rica, the U.S. could not control the midfield early. In the fifth minute, U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey lost the ball in the midfield to Wilson Palacios, who fed Carlos Costley to quickly advance on the American goal. He was not closed down by the U.S. defensive midfield, and put a hard low shot past Tim Howard for a 1-0 lead.

Almost immediately, the U.S. fought back and kept the Honduras back on its heels for the rest of the half. After wasting several good changes against the packed-in Catrachos, a bouncing U.S. pass into the center of penalty area was handled by Honduras defender Maynor Figueroa. Landon Donovan calmly blasted the subsequent the penalty kick into the top right corner of the net to draw the U.S. level at 1-1 in the 43rd minute.

The second half proceeded much as the first half had with the U.S. pressing forward constantly against a packed-in Honduran defense. The Americans, however, failed to connect on the final pass and squandered good chances. Then, in the 66th minute, Donovan sent a corner kick from the left side to the far post. Dempsey elevated and headed it back into the middle where defender Carlos Bocanegra dove low and headed the bouncing ball into the goal to make it 2-1.

Substitutes were important for the U.S. Midfielder Benny Feilhaber came on at halftime and played a strong second half. "I'm still not 90-minutes fit," he explained. "I missed more than six months with my injury and have been back in training only about two months. I'm glad I could help the team tonight, but I still need more work to be completely back."

Jay DeMerit was rushed in when Bocanegra felt a twinge in his right hamstring and was a solid performer in the final hectic minutes when Honduras pushed forward hard. Likewise, DaMarcus Beasley, who had come on in the midfield, was forced again to assume the left-back role when Jonathan Bornstein cramped up and played much better then he did against Costa Rica.

Bradley made four changes from his lineup against Costa Rica. Bornstein and Jonathan Spector took over the outside defender positions, Ricardo Clark went into the midfield, and Conor Casey started up top.

Bradley had a number of changes forced on him tonight. Striker Brian Ching and defender Frankie Hedjuk, both who were counted on for these qualifiers, are suffering from hamstring strains pulls that will also keep them out of the Confederations Cup the next two weeks in South Africa. Midfielder Maurice Edu is back in Scotland recuperating from major reconstructive knee surgery he had this week. Midfielder Michael Bradley was not available, serving a one-match, yellow-cards suspension after received his second yellow of the tournament against Costa Rica.

The U.S. still needs to find a better scoring touch. It dominated time of possession, especially in the second half, but the offense continues to be slight out of sync in the final third. Still, the Americans left Chicago with the three points they badly needed.


U.S. Player Ratings

Starters

Goalkeeper Tim Howard - 5: Was unusually shaky at times. He was saved twice when balls were cleared off the line behind him. Yet, in the final 10 minutes, made two good saves to preserve the win.

Defender - Jonathan Bornstein 5.5: Returning to the U.S. lineup after a long absence, put in a solid effort though he made a couple of mistakes that could have been costly.

Defender Oguchi Onyewu - 6: Was strong in the air and ranged to both sides, especially in the late going, to make key clearances.

Defender Carlos Bocanegra - 7: Covered a lot of ground, going wide when needed and was not beaten. Scored the winning goal with a gritty effort. Only came out after being roughed up by a pair of Hondurans and feeling a twinge in his hamstring.

Defender Jonathan Spector - 7: Was terrific from start to finish. Under constant pressure, made only a single misstep. Handled Carlos Pavon so well in the first half, Pavon was moved to the other side in the second half He also attacked well and made a big statement for more playing time.

Midfielder Ricardo Clark -6.5: Twice cleared balls that got past Howard off the goal line in the second half. Played very well, especially in the defensive end and especially late.

Midfielder Pablo Mastroeni - 4.5: Worked hard but at times with little result. Pushed forward well offensively, but had trouble linking with his forwards. Seemed to run out of gas as the half progressed and was substituted out at the interval.

Midfielder Landon Donovan - 6: Ran himself into the ground tonight going from right sideline to left, and also attacking down the middle. Was aggressive on attack, consistently making runs at opponents.

Midfielder Clint Dempsey - 5.5: Bad early giveaway resulted in the Honduran goal, but he came back and did all the digging and little things in midfield that were much needed.

Forward Jozy Altidore - 5: Really did not create many chances tonight, and showed he has great difficulty playing with his back to goal and turning on an opponent. Still, he was very active and generally performed well.

Forward Conor Casey - 5:5 Was physical and created a number of chances, but could not connect. At times, he dropped deep into the midfield to offer defensive help.

Reserves

Midfielder Benny Feilhaber (46th minute for Mastroeni) - 6 5: For a player still working his way back to fitness after a long injury layoff, showed that he has the potential to be a regular with a strong 45 minutes.

Defender Jay DeMerit (71st minute for Bocanegra) - 5.5: Played well, especially over the final 10 minutes when Honduras had its strongest showing of the night.

Midfielder DaMarcus Beasley (74th minute for Casey) - 5.5: Called on to again play left defense and made the kind of plays he didn't against Costa Rica.

SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Carlos Bocanegra.


Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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