USA defeated Honduras by a score of 1-0 on Tuesday, and the team should be happy about its recent success during World Cup qualifying. That said, USA cannot afford another sloppy match like it played against Honduras in the matches to come.
As Bleacher Report's Michael Cummings noted, USA's effort in the first half of the game was not nearly good enough:
HT USA 0-0 Honduras. Not good enough from US, even sloppy at times. Energy dropping in altitude/heat. Espinoza bustling for Honduras— Michael Cummings (@MikeCummings37) June 19, 2013
With Graham Zusi and Michael Bradley struggling badly in the middle of the field, USA's offensive attack was non-existent. A poor showing on the defensive side of the pitch nearly cost the team a goal in the final minutes of the first half.
At halftime, Honduras had held USA to only three shots (one on goal), despite the fact that the Americans held possession for 66 percent of the time.
If not for a brilliant effort by Jozy Altidore, who scored the match's only goal, USA were looking at the very real possibility of finishing the match with a 0-0 tie against Honduras.
Speaking of Altidore, he was the only real bright spot for USA in the match, as he scored his fourth goal in as many games, tying a record, as noted by Paul Carr of ESPN Stats & Info:
Jozy Altidore ties a #USMNT record by scoring in four straight games.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) June 19, 2013
Which USA squad will show up against Costa Rica in September?
Up next for USA are Costa Rica—the team that currently sits in second place in the standings in this group. If Costa Rica had been the team the Americans had faced on Tuesday, the game would have been a lopsided affair in favor of the Costa Ricans.
Honduras have only managed seven points thus far in the North, Central America and Caribbean group. It isn't a team that should have given USA a lot of trouble, but it did.
USA have performed admirably throughout the early qualifying matches, but it's time to step things up a few notches as the level of competition increases. If USA wants to be taken seriously as a World Cup contender, it must come out much sharper in upcoming matches.
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