The United States Men’s National Team started the hexagonal round with a 2-1 loss in Honduras, but the defeat is something the team can overcome.
Clint Dempsey scored in the 36th minute to give the Americans the lead, but Juan Garcia tied the match five minutes before halftime, and Jerry Bengtson scored the game-winner with 11 minutes left to play.
The U.S. did not play well and there is no way to spin this match in a positive light. Honduras had 12 shots with four on goal compared to 11 shots with two on goal for the Americans.
The hosts also had the advantage in possession, controlling the ball for 57 percent of the match.
However, this is just one game.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure has been characterized by inconsistency. This summer, American fans enjoyed their team's first-ever win over Mexico at Estadio Azteca then endured a loss to Jamaica less than a month later.
This team’s form has had its ups and downs, and it is not unreasonable to expect it to give an excellent performance against Costa Rica in the team’s next World Cup Qualifier.
With Mexico playing Jamaica to a scoreless draw and the Ticos also taking away just one point against Panama, a win in their next fixture would put the Americans in a drastically improved position.
Brazil is still well within the team’s sights, and Klinsmann still has time to fix the team’s problems.
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The veteran players such as Michael Bradley and Dempsey will need to take on leadership roles in the remaining matches, and Klinsmann should not be so cavalier with his lineups. Picking Omar Gonzalez over the more experienced Carlos Bocanegra proved to be a costly mistake.
But it was a correctable error, and there will be plenty of chances for Bradley and Dempsey to earn the complete confidence of their teammates.
Honduras may be an underdog when it faces the United States, but none of the teams in this round of qualifiers are walkovers, especially when playing at home.
There will be more tough tests going forward for the U.S., and the team has valuable lessons it can learn from its performance.
If Klinsmann relies on his veterans and the players are able to build confidence and momentum at home against Costa Rica in March, this loss will become nothing more than a speed bump on the Americans’ road to Brazil.