USMNT opens 2015 Gold Cup with a 2-1 win over Honduras

Guatemala

She wasn’t the prettiest of football matches, but the USMNT were certainly willing to take the three points home last night.

The Yanks opened up the 2015 Gold Cup against Honduras last night at Toyota Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The United States were able to sneak by the Hondurans with a 2-1 victory. Both goals came from U.S. Soccer’s most recognizable face, Clint Dempsey.

Despite all of the media attention Dempsey has attracted over the past few weeks regarding his antics in a U.S. Open Cup match, Dempsey silenced all of his critics with two goals. The usual USMNT captain was stripped of his arm band for his actions with the Seattle Sounders. All book-ripping aside, Dempsey was still able to log a brace that helped the men in red, white and blue grab a firm hold of Group A after the other two teams, Panama and Haiti, played to a 1-1 draw.

Dempsey opened up the scoring in the 25th minute for the Americans off a loose ball in the box following a well designed set piece. Anyone who watches the USMNT knows that set pieces are their bread and butter. The U.S. has a massive height advantage against the somewhat vertically challenged Hondurans. U.S. head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann was able to utilize this height and clear space in the box by simply sending Michael Bradley over to the corner flag to assist whomever was on the ball.

This would draw out at least two Honduras defenders, allowing the likes of John Brooks, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey to be matched up 1 v 1 in the air which is a battle Klinsmann is willing to put his money down on every time .

After the ball bounced around a few times in the area, it fell to Altidore who was able to put a shot on goal that was saved by Honduras goal-keeper, Donis Escobar, but it fell straight to the head of Clint Dempsey who was able to nod home the opening goal of the 2015 Gold Cup for the Yanks.

This was a goal the USMNT desperately needed. They were in a dog fight for the first 24 minutes and seemed a bit frantic and unsettled by the physical and fast pace play the Hondurans were throwing at them. A goal allowed the Americans to settle in, relax on the ball and play the type of football that helped them beat the likes of Germany and Holland just a few weeks ago.

In the 65th minute, the U.S. doubled their money off a beautiful set piece sent in from Michael Bradley who celebrated his 100th cap with the USMNT last night. Bradley whipped in the type of ball that Steven Gerrard would marvel at. The ball found Dempsey’s head perfectly and the Seattle striker clinically buried his second goal of the match and his 42nd in international appearances. The Texas native is now just 15 goals behind Landon Donovan for most goals in U.S. Men’s history.

Following the second goal, the Americans became a little too relaxed and complacent with their play. Honduras broke through just five minutes after Dempsey’s second. Carlos Discua was the benefactor of a great piece of attacking football from the Hondurans. Discua beat Brad Guzan to the near-post and the following 21 minutes were a lot more nerve-wracking than Jurgen Klinsmann had hoped for.

Although the Americans were able to hold on, it was not a performance to be proud off having just come off of two historical wins against some of the best teams in the world. Fair play to the Hondurans for a scrappy match and putting the U.S. under pressure for the whole 90 minutes. With that said, Honduras is certainly the toughest side the USMNT will face in the group stages and no one can complain about 3 points. Let’s just hope the Yanks can build upon this win; take away the positives, eliminate the negatives and run through a group that in my opinion, is a large step below this American side.

Match Highlights