The final leg on the road to Brazil begins today for the US Men’s National Team, and the first stop is in Honduras against a team that made the World Cup in 2010 and is looking to return.
The team Jurgen Klinsmann has put together is mostly at full speed. World Cup veterans Dempsey, Bradley, Bocanegra, Altidore, Jose Torres, Hercules Gomez and Howard are in-country and should make the starting lineup. In addition, Geoff Cameron, Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, Eddie Johnson, Graham Zuzi and Brad Davis bring a proven veteran presence, although some with more international experience than others.
The one name missing from the list is Landon Donovan. It has been over a decade since the US has gone into a major international match, with Donovan healthy, able and otherwise available, without the mercurial attacker. The Galaxy forward’s odd break from the game is unexpected and takes a major chess piece from Klinsmann’s arsenal.
Los Catrachos bring a hungry, talented side to their home match against the Yanks, as well as a strong desire to begin The Hex on the right foot. Despite numbers that imply this is a game the Americans can take at full points, a closer examination of the side and history between the two teams shows that all of the games have usually been more than competitive.
This is a game the US needs to take seriously. And the Yanks need to find a way to get a draw out of the match because the road does not get any easier with the next two games against Costa Rica and Mexico. Looking at the group as a whole, there really isn’t a soft team on the schedule and any team could make the top three. In addition to Honduras, Panama and Jamaica have shown the ability to give the US problems and none will go away quietly in the race to the top half of the standings.
As far as today’s lineup, we think you will see a veteran heavy lineup as this is not the time to see what players can handle the stress and pressure of a road qualification match in Central America.