[WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING] For the sixth straight time -- and the third time on the road -- the USA qualified for the World Cup.
In surely the wildest qualifier the USA has ever played, it came back
after going 1-0 down seconds into the second half to beat Honduras,
3-2, at the Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula.
The second half featured five goals -- two on free kicks -- and at
least a dozen clear chances for both teams, but the game wasn't decided
until Carlos Pavon -- the
former L.A. Galaxy striker and Catracho elder statesman -- skied a
penalty kick over the bar in the 87th minute.
The surprise U.S. hero: Conor Casey
with the tying and (brilliantly taken) go-ahead goals -- his first two
the senior national team level ...
Oguchi Onyewu made up for a horrendous giveaway that led to the first
goal -- a free kick converted by Julio
Cesar de Leon -- to provide the passes that set up the USA's
tying and winning goals.
In the 55th minute, Onyewu's long pass was flicked on by Charlie Davies to Casey, who beat
goalkeeper Noel Valladares and
headed the ball on one bounce into the empty net.
Stunned by the tying goal, the Catrachos cracked and within 15 minutes
it was 3-1 USA.
On the tying goal in the 65th minute, Onyewu broke up a Honduran attack
and fed Landon Donovan, whose
through ball found Casey, who beat two defenders and calmly put the
ball away past the hapless Valladares.
Donovan seemingly put the game away when he matched Rambo de Leon with
a third U.S. goal on a free kick in the 71st minute.
But the game never looked like it would end 3-1, and de Leon added a
second goal in the 78th for Honduras.
After American midfielder Stuart Holden was scored for a handball on
one of dozens on wild scrambles in the U.S. area, Pavon missed his
penalty kick badly in the 87th -- and again with a header
The last chance fell to sub Benny
Feilhaber, who missed on a one-on-one chance with Valladares,
and the USA ran out the four minutes of stoppage time with almost total
control of the ball.
With the win, the USA became the eighth team to qualify for the World
Cup finals on Saturday, joining Denmark, Germany, Italy and Serbia in
Europe, Mexico in Concacaf, Ivory Coast in Africa and Chile in South
Honduras fell to fourth place behind Costa Rica, a 4-0 winner over
Trinidad & Tobago. With the USA assured of a berth in the finals
and surely to be without some of Saturday's heroes, the Ticos will
certainly feel their chances of clinching the third automatic berth
have improved. As long as they do as well as the shell-shocked
Catrachos, who travel to El Salvador, the Ticos will clinch third place.
October 10 in San Pedro Sula
Honduras 2 USA 3.
HON - Julio Cesar de Leon (unassisted) 47
USA - Conor Casey (Charlie Davies) 55
USA - Conor Casey (Landon Donovan) 66
USA - Landon Donovan (unassisted) 71
HON - Julio Cesar de Leon (David Suazo) 78
USA -- Howard, Spector,
Onyewu, Bocanegra, Bornstein, Holden (Cherundolo, 90+3), Clark,
Bradley, Donovan, Davies (Altidore, 79), Casey (Feilhaber, 84)
Honduras -- N.Valladares,
Sabillon, Chavez, Figueroa, Izaguirre, Alvarez (Suazo, 64),
Thomas (Nunez, 75), Palacios, de Leon (Martinez, 80), Costly, Pavon.
Yellow cards: Honduras --
Chavez 47, Figueroa 73; Bornstein 85.
Referee: Roberto Moreno
USA / HON
Shots: 16 / 13
Shots on Goal: 7 / 5
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 5 / 5
Fouls: 12 / 16
Offside: 1 / 2
Key=*clinched berth in World
Cup 2010 finals.
TEAM GP W T L GF GA P
*USA 9 6 1 2 17 11 19
*Mexico 9 6 0 3 16 10 18
Costa Rica 9 5 0 4 13 13 15
Honduras 9 4 1 4 16 11 13
El Salvador 9 2 2 5 9 14 8
Trin. & Tobago 9 1 2 6 8 20 5
(The top three teams advance to World
Cup 2010; the fourth-place team faces the fifth-place team from South
America in a playoff.)
Key=*clinched berth in
World Cup finals.
Mexico 4 El Salvador 1
Honduras 2 USA 3
Costa Rica 4 Trin. & Tobago 0
Trin. & Tobago-Mexico