The first US loss in the opening game of the Hexagonal since 1990? Well, that wasn’t exactly inspiring, was it?
Jurgen Klinsmann said after the USMNT’s 2-1 loss to Honduras in the opening game if the Hexagonal stage of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, “Overall, there were too many mistakes done and too many players today just didn’t reach their usual potential. They stayed behind their own game and therefore, it’s really difficult coming away with a win here if you’re not having everybody 100 percent at their limits.”
Klinsmann continued, “Obviously not as good as we wanted it today. Too many mistakes in too many areas. Tactically in some ways; individually; and we gave Honduras too many chances, and they took advantage of it.”
Tim Howard said, “They were a much better team than us today. We did look flat.”
The very green backline didn’t exactly impress. Omar Gonzalez said, “Obviously I didn’t have my best game.”
Klinsmann said, “Chemistry takes time to develop, but the back line was not the reason that we lost that game. We believe Omar is ready for the international level and the only way you find that out is to give him a chance. Overall I thought he did well.”
“The way these kind of games go, you don’t expect to come in here and have 80 percent possession. That’s how it goes. You’re dreaming if that’s what you think you’re coming in here to do. Obviously it’s a hot day, they feed so much off of the crowd and off of emotion. I think we started to get pulled around a little bit. They were able to start to find these little gaps and seams in between the lines and from there, they were able to cause us trouble…
“We all hope and are optimistic that at the end of it there’s going to be a World Cup to play. All these moments along the way are situations where the team grows. The bottom line is that this is a long road. There’s ups, there’s downs, there’s tough away games and there’s home games where you need your points. So we’ll continue to keep a strong mentality and believe that in the end that we have the team and the mentality that’s going to get us through.
“I can’t repeat this enough: This is a long road. Is it disappointing today not to walk away with a point? Absolutely. But we can’t lose our heads, can’t let ourselves be thrown off course. These are the kinds of games we expect. You come here knowing it’s going to be a really difficult game, and that’s reality. Now we’ll go back to Denver in March and know that it’s going to be a really difficult home game against Costa Rica. But we need points. That’s the pressure, but that’s what we’re used to.”
Match reports from US Soccer, CONCACAF.com, ESPN, MLSsoccer.com, Sporting News, SBI, ASN, Goal.com, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, the AP, MLS Talk, SB Nation, Stars and Stripes FC, and The Yanks Are Coming.
Post-game quote sheet here.
At ProSoccerTalk, Richard Farley considers if sitting Carlos Bocanegra defined the game?
Outside provides a look at what matchday in Honduras was like.
Landon Donovan’s presence may have been helpful. US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said before the game, “I have no doubt he’ll play at some point.”
Finishing off with some good news, in the the other CONCACAF qualifiers, Jamaica managed to keep Mexico to a scoreless draw at the Azteca while Costa Rica came from two goals down to hold off Panama on the road for a 2-2 draw.
In his weekly press conference, Hackworth said via conference call from Florida the coaching staff does not yet have a firm idea of what the Union’s starting XI will look like. “I would’ve told you yes, a week ago, but now…long story short…no. The competition within the players has made for some very difficult decisions. We’ll be using these games as a true evaluation test.” Hackworth specifically mentioned strong play from Keon Daniel, Raymon Gaddis, and Roger Torres.
The games Hackworth referred to are of course the Disney World Pro Soccer Classic fixtures as well as the the exhibition games against Montreal in Jacksonville and DC United in Deltona.
Hackworth explained, “We have six games here and what we want to do is slowly build up all the players so that we feel they are ready to play 90 minutes. We want to make sure that we go into that March 2 and that everything we have worked on [this preseason] is accounted for. The games are a really good evaluation tool and in general, we are looking to instill what we have worked on at both sides of the ball mainly on attack. and know their position defensively and when we lose the ball.”
Hackworth said that he is likely to use two starting XIs, one for each half, in Saturday’s preseason game against Orlando City. The game will be streamed live on the Union website and at MLSsoccer.com at 6pm.
Overall, Hackworth is pleased with how things are going in preseason. “The soccer part is going well, the training part and the effort by the players has been excellent…We’re still making a lot of progress and putting in some long hard days, which is a challenge mentally to recover from all those, but so far so good.”
Hackworth said of Jeff Parke, who joined the team last week from the USMNT January training camp, “He’s a quality player. He’s also a very experienced professional. I haven’t been around him a long time, but in the short amount of time I’ve been around him, I’m really impressed by the way prepares himself. He takes advantage of every little thing he can…Already he’s come in and shown the quality that obviously the national team saw and that he went to the January camp for.”
On the injury front, Hackworth said that Aaron Wheeler is recovering from illness and Cristhian Hernandez has a high ankle sprain. Wheeler is expected back next week while it is hoped that Hernandez will be ready to go by the end of the team’ stint in Florida.
On the Union website, Andy Jasner has an article on Michael Farfan. Farfan says, “Coach and I talked and he told me what he expects and a lot of that is to be active and aggressive in my spot on the field. I told him that’s exactly the way I want to play. I’m a physical player and an aggressive player. I play as hard as I can all the time and I’ve always been that way.”
Union Dues talks to Ruben Vasquez La Union Latina.
Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association announced on Wednesday that April Kater, the Head Development Coach for the US Youth Women’s National Teams, will be one of the on-field clinicians at the annual Eastern PA Youth Soccer Workshop at United Sports in Downingtown on Saturday, March 2.
As part of a new youth development initiative, US Soccer and Nike are partnering to host two futsal tournaments. The first one will take place March 1-3 at the Competitive Edge Sports Complex in King of Prussia.
Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke says the only reason New York traded Kenny Cooper was to free up salary cap space.
Amid speculation of where Frank Lampard will end up, England manager Roy Hodgson has made it clear that a move to MLS might harm his chances of being selected for the national team.”I hope we will keep Frank in England. I know he will have a lot of offers if Chelsea do decide they’re prepared to let him go. I’m rather hoping we’ll still see him if not in England then Europe which will make my task easier. If he goes further afield and follows David, it complicates matters but it doesn’t mean your career is over with England. But the further afield you go, the more problematic it gets for the media and the England manager to follow you.” Hodgon’s comments came after Lampard scored the gamewinner in England’s 2-1 victory over Brazil on Wednesday.
The NWSL Supplemental Draft takes place today.
Grantland on match-fixing in soccer.
You want to know why FIFA will never reform itself? Read this.