The nerves will be jangling tonight watching the U.S. national team in their World Cup qualifier against Honduras in San Jose. Losing their first two games in the Hex has created quite the uphill climb for the USMNT, and they have a minuscule margin for error.
In fact, only one team in Hex history ever started out worse than the U.S. has this time around. Canada in 1997 had a goal difference of -7 at this stage to go with their two losses. Trinidad and Tobago had the exact same record in 2005, and clawed their way into the fourth spot and defeated Bahrain in the inter-continental playoff to reach the World Cup in Germany the following year.
While the USMNT is stronger than both of those teams, the rest of CONCACAF has greatly improved as well. Honduras has been to the last two World Cups, and young stars that ply their trade in Major League Soccer will be leading them into tonight’s match. The Houston Dynamo’s Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto will be a handful for Bruce Arena’s defense. Panama, Tuesday night’s opponent, narrowly missed out on their first World Cup during the last cycle. The USMNT knocked them out of the playoff spot with late goals in the final qualifier. Revenge would be sweet for Roman Torres’ squad in Panama City.
It can be done, but it has to start tonight. Winning the remaining home games is critical moving forward. Twelve points would have gotten them into the playoff in the last cycle. Stealing a few points on the road will be necessary to get into the automatic qualification spots in the top three.
What to watch for tonight in San Jose for the USMNT (Stars and Stripes FC)
Breaking down the tactics of tonight’s USMNT match with Honduras (MLS)
Michael Bradley’s leadership to be put to the test during the tough times facing the USMNT (SI)
Not seeing Jordan Morris out here for the final training session. I'd be surprised if he's even in the 18 at this point. #usmnt— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 24, 2017
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