Howard's saves, Dempsey goal yield U.S. win

[USA-HONDURAS REPORT CARD] Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann notched his initial victory in a 1-0 U.S. win over Honduras in Miami Saturday night. A great Clint Dempsey goal and another top-flight game by Tim Howard edged the Americans past a determined Honduran team.

GRADE PLAYER (Team/Country) GP/G
8 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG), 69/0. There’s too much dependency on the U.S. keeper, who bailed out his team again with an excellent game that included highlight-reel saves of myriad types, including a flying stop on substitute Mario Martinez, a brave one-v-one block to deny Jerry Bengston, and a full-length dive to reach a low rip by Carlo Costly. He seldom booted the long ball, preferring quick outlet passes to initiate possession.

5 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover/GER), 75/2. He worked well on the right flank with Williams on overlaps and interpassing, and won a lot of his battles, but didn’t always deal competently with Costly and Bengston. He set up the goal with a slick reverse turn and delicate ball up the flank that Brek Shea drove across the goalmouth. Hit a few good corner kicks that the Hondurans won in the air.

3 Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis/MEX), 4/0. Getting scorched by Jerry Bengston and watching two balls float over his head to set up dangerous chances added up to a rough first half. He inadvertently deflected Shea’s cross to Dempsey in the lead-up to the U.S. goal. He read situations poorly and never matched the speed of play.   He left at halftime, supposedly with a slight injury.

5 Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers/SCO), 97/12. He shut off numerous dangerous buildups with strong tackles, often in one-v-one situations, and deflected a Costly shot by covering for Onyewu. He started a good sequence with a midfield interception he relayed first time to Dempsey early in the second half. As captain, he needed to do a better job of organizing the defense and making adjustments when Honduras got their attacking game in gear and often he lost connection with Orozco Fiscal.

6 Tim Chandler (Nuremberg/GER), 5/0. Worked some great combinations with Shea, and hit several dangerous crosses, one of which Shea flicked narrowly wide. Shea ran onto a Chandler ball played into the channel to fire a shot narrowly wide. He’s still raw and his reading of situations has to improve, especially against one-twos, yet his athleticism and aggression are pluses.

6 Danny Williams (Hoffenheim/GER), 1/0. Debutant went 65 minutes on the right flank and displayed ruggedness and a willingness to go for goal; a point-blank header on a far post cross was blocked, a curling shot just missed the top corner, and low shot forced an excellent save from Donis Escobar. He didn’t cross much but laid a couple balls for Cherundolo to do so. He showed his inexperience defensively by getting caught upfield and chasing the wrong option, yet did well against a difficult opponent in rainy conditions.

5 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake),15/1. First-half giveaways and slow reactions to Honduran combination play left gaps in midfield, but he also broke up plays and played many short, effective passes. Roger Espinoza’s clever movement occasionally got the best of him though he sharpened his game in the second half, and obviously has the engine and zeal to handle the job against Concacaf teams.

4 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO), 28/1. He nearly scored by nicking a curving Cherundolo free kick that the keeper parried, and also drove for the rebound of a saved Williams shot the keeper covered just in time. His ball-winning forced Honduras to foul him several times, and Boniek Garcia was cautioned for a late challenge on Edu. Yet he got caught too far off the Honduran midfielders and were unable to shut off their service, which created some very good opportunities.

6 Brek Shea (FC Dallas), 6/0. The missed sitter from Jozy Altidore’s excellent square ball that left him with a tap-in he somehow flubbed will haunt him for a while, but he otherwise joined Dempsey as the best U.S. attackers. He tested Honduras often with runs up the flank or into the channel, narrowly missed putting away a header, and also hit one of the night’s best crosses that Williams headed on goal. He came up limping from a nasty tackle late in the first half yet finished the match strongly.

7 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG), 79/23. He showed once again just how dangerous and clinical he can be on and off the ball. He scored a great goal with a pullback and crisp shot into the top corner after collecting a ball driven across the penalty area, and lost another goal when he climbed so high he kneed his marker between the shoulder blades as he headed the ball into the net. Set up another shot with a stepover that forced keeper Escobar into a spectacular save, and constantly tormented the Hondurans with his intelligent movement and clever runs deployed as a second forward.

6 Jozy Altidore (AZ/NED), 42/12. He’s gained some confidence and sharpness by playing regularly in the Netherlands with AZ; he moved sharply and decisively most of the time, got the ball off his feet quickly, and played a role in several fluid buildups. If not for Shea’s atrocious flub he’d have earned an assist after he took an intelligent touch on the right flank to get the space he needed for an accurate, low cross.


5 Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon/POR), 61/6. Blew a great scoring chance by flailing a point-blank rebound over the crossbar, on the defensive side tackled competently but came up short on pace a few times.

6 DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/MEX), 94/17. Got into the flow quickly on the left flank to win a few balls and also buzz into the Honduran penalty area; once got tangled up with Dempsey yet got a shot at the keeper.

5 Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona/ITA), 61/9. Tackled languidly twice on the edge of the defensive third, otherwise did his job, and nearly worked a one-two with Dempsey in the opposing penalty area. Scuffed a shot wide in final seconds.

5 Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City/ENG), 32/0. Replaced Chandler and took over his duties on the left flank; hit a great right-footed cross that Dempsey headed into the net.

NR Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), 14/2. Came on for Altidore in the 83rd minute.

19 comments about "Howard's saves, Dempsey goal yield U.S. win".
  1. F. Kirk Malloy, October 9, 2011 at 9:35 a.m.

    Love what Klinsi is doing. Attacking, possession play at a much higher tempo than USMNT has traditionally played at. You can see and sense the speed of decision making picking up with each game. Also getting good looks at many players in game conditions. Sweet goal(s) from Dempsey; the one they allowed was World class. Considering how many potential starters were not on the field (Donovan, Holden, Adu (yes, Adu), Torres) a very good showing. Back line still needs some work.

  2. Alan Risley, October 9, 2011 at 10:13 a.m.

    Concaf needs to get REAL referees and linesmen. The Hoduras/USA was a travesty and the worst examples or refereeing/linesmen I have see in a long time. You can't use referees from othing countries with no experience-it shows!

  3. Scott O'Connor, October 9, 2011 at 11:23 a.m.

    Pretty fair ratings, I'd say. Howard probably deserved a 9 (if 9 is achievable) and Dempsey an 8. Orozco Fiscal was dismal, again. Gooch was pretty good (finishing aside!) and should get the start Tuesday. I think 6's for the German boys is a little high. They were OK but need to show more.

  4. Mike Gaynes, October 9, 2011 at 11:29 a.m.

    Klinsmann's confidence appears to be rubbing off on the players... their ball movement and movement off the ball is improving every game. Dempsey and Altidore just keep getting better, Shea is intriguing, and adding Euro-based talent like Williams and Chandler, whose quality shows with every first touch, is helping as well. But the backline situation is worsening -- this is another game in which the US would have been soundly beaten except for Howard's brilliance. Orozco Fiscal, like Castillo and Ream before him, has been thoroughly exposed as completely unqualified for the international level, and Bocanegra had several nightmarish giveaways on simple passes. Costly isn't exactly David Silva, yet the US defense couldn't handle him at all. If our WC qualification depends on Onyewu's return to his pre-injury form and the durability of Cherundolo and Boca -- who will both be 35 in 2014 -- we are in serious trouble. I would not be surprised to see Williams get a run in central defense, where he has often played in Germany.

  5. Robert Kiernan, October 9, 2011 at 11:37 a.m.

    Considering the conditions were only fair and we were without Torres, Donovan, Holden and Lichaj, I suppose we did alright... but I'd much rather see Clarence Goodson brought in for the November matches... Orazco-Fiscal just isn't cutting it. Hope to see Fabian Johnson back playing again soon as well... looks like Hoffenheim is becoming the Fulham of the Bundesliga, ha ha...

  6. Philippe Fontanelli, October 9, 2011 at 11:48 a.m.

    I was impressed with Chandler's attacking from the back especially in the first half. I think he is the right person for that position. Cherenduolo was dissapointing. I think Altidore was rated too high. While he seems to play well at AZ he has hard time producing for the National Team. I was hoping to see Agudelo sooner, seeing Altidore's ineffectiveness. Shea, it was a shame that he missed that goal otherwise he would have been on the top. Howard has suprised me (goeing often sporadic) as I think this was one of his better game and I am glad as we needed it.
    Bocanegra is no longer what he used to be here we need a change. And forget about Beckerman. I am glad Bradley was given a chance, but once again it just showed that he is mediocre at best.
    Suprised and glad with Beasley's performance and enthousiasm.
    Williams, mixed opinion, I don't think he is ready for the first team just yet.

  7. Karl Schreiber, October 9, 2011 at 11:54 a.m.

    Having watched the game on Fox and, when the babbling of their color commentator became too much of an insult, on Univision, I came away with predominantly negative impressions! Apart from Tim Howard’s performance and only flashes of normality here and there, this was not a good game. “Getting used to each other” should be accomplished in training sessions and scrimmages. There were too many sloppy passes, even by established players. When passes were more accurate, they were often not crisp enough. As an attacking player on a professional national team and moving free within shooting distance, one has to hit the ball on goal, period, not over or beside. Perhaps it happened when I went to the restroom for three minutes, but I did not see creativity from midfield (Beckerman, Edu). Defense was scrappy; why are we still inviting Orozco Fiscal? Chandler showed touches of creativity in supporting offensive moves. The incompetence on the field was only surpassed by the incredibly weak refereeing and by Kyle Martino, Fox’ color commentator. A practice game like this one should be played behind closed doors!

  8. Hal Hilger, October 9, 2011 at 1:46 p.m.

    Watching the game against Honduras, one can only ask, who is Klinsman kidding. Without any doubt The US Team will qualify for the World Cup. Bu at at the level the US Team is playing they will be eliminated during the first round. If they want to know at what level they are play Teams like German, Brazil or other high powered teams They also need to send those play by play announcers back to school, as they are more interested in "just talking" and giving their opinions how they game should be played. It makes the Game boring and eventually ruin it. Here in Europe the MLS would not stand a chance to play in the Big Leagues.

  9. Tyler Dennis, October 9, 2011 at 2:03 p.m.

    I wonder what game some of you watched. Very little possession play, tons of errant passes.

    Bocanegra should have gotten a 2... I saw in a 10 minute span 2 passes, passes that were less than 20 yards, to the other team... horrific!

    I chalk this up to trying new folks out, so still give Klinsman the benefit of the doubt, but these guys need to understand patience, and learn to hold the ball in possession better.

    This was a step back from the last two games.

  10. Roger Sokol, October 9, 2011 at 4:35 p.m.

    I'll take the positives away from the game and let others quibble about the numbers. To my mind, the US attacking players shined in this match. Dempsey was Dempsey at his best. But I thought both Altidore and Shea did especially well, too. None of the Hondurans seemed to be able to stop Shea or dispossess him. It looks like he's making some progress in adjusting to the international game. Yeah, he blew a golden chance for a goal, but as he gains confidence at this level that'll come. So, in his case, so far so good. As to Altidore, I thought he did a lot of good things when he got the ball and made a number of intelligent runs without it. His pass to setup Shea was inch perfect. Too bad Shea didn't finish. I got the sense that Jozy has a little better sense of what he needs to be doing and how he needs to be going about it. That's maybe a sign of his beginning to mature as a player. That's good enough for now. The newest player, Danny Williams, had a terrific first game, I think. One would expect a new player to be tentative, but he had a sense of what he wanted to do and went about it. He even had a very good reaction header off a save. Agudelo really didn't get much of an opportunity to do or show much. For all these youngsters, the important thing is for them to show improvement and greater maturity over a period of time. As for the rest, we all know solving the defensive problems will probably be the biggest challenge for Klinsi once he gets the player better indoctrinated in his style of play. In this game, I don't think we looked any better or worse than in the past. I was glad to see Gooch come on in the second half. Hopefully, his being a regular starter at Sporting Lisbon will help him sharpen his play to be part of the answer in the back. But, ultimately, I think the answer may lie in some of the good young MLS defenders developing into international players. That's probably a ways off yet. Msybe, Klinsi will bring some into the next cycle of friendlies.

  11. John Soares, October 9, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.

    A 1-0 win against Hondures is no reason to break out the chapagne. With a couple exceptions. The "team" looked week. Well! It didn't take long for Rantin Ric to get back to his Latino Conspiracy Bull. If there is bias and negativity, it starts with you.
    Orozco had a BAD day... It happens even to Latinos. Bradley was only slightly better. Let it go. AND isn't it time to take your SOCCER CONGOSCENTI and stick it... I mean change it!?

  12. Paul Bryant, October 9, 2011 at 8:13 p.m.

    I would love to see the USMNT team when we get our attacking midfielders healthy. Edu and Berkerman are both defensive mids, and it showed during the game. The Fox color analyst inanely suggested that Beasley could play left back. While he has quickness, he doesn't have the durabilty. Overall, the USMNT did a credible job during the game, eventhough they were exposed defensively. Altidore looked fitter, quicker, and stronger than I have ever seen him. He played an unselfish game during the first half. When he got away from this, and started going one-on-one against Honduran players, the USMNT attack fell apart. I will be attending the Equador game. I want to see the effort the team puts into winning this game.

  13. I w Nowozeniuk, October 9, 2011 at 9:26 p.m.

    Some improvement was evident...biggest sore-eye is lack of running off the shape still problematic, especially in the MF and DF...maintaing simplicity of play and player interaction is key to winning...would like to see Dempsey have more touches pn the ball, be the go to guy in the MF and attack.

  14. Philippe Fontanelli, October 9, 2011 at 9:35 p.m.

    I agree with Ric I thought Orozco was much better than he was rated and and Bradley still a "buffon". Futhermore I feel the future is much more Orozco especially at his age versus Onyewu who was no way better than Orozco. In fact the Hondurian attack looked more dangerous in the second half than in the first half.
    BTW I have watched the game on Univision instead of FSC as I found the commentators more down to earth.

  15. Kent James, October 10, 2011 at 8:11 a.m.

    We got a result, but it wasn't pretty (well, okay, Dempsey's 2 goals were pretty; no way that 2nd goal should've been called back). I used to think Altidore was in over his head at the international level, but he has improved significantly. Philosophically, I'm not a fan of scouring the world for players who grew up elsewhere that we can make eligible for the MNT, but both Williams and Chandler are good (but not spectacular) additions. We definitely need them. And since everybody does it (Rossi?), I guess we should too. Fiscal had the worst game of anyone, but a 3 rating might be harsh. The referee was horrible; he ended up almost losing control of the game because he did not use his cards early (how he could not card Fiscal after he dragged down Costly (?) after he was beaten and just prior to going in the box epitomized the ref's poor performance, as did his failure to even call a foul on Onyewu for a studs up challenge (albeit, one that got the ball, but was inherently dangerous) and then carding Edu 3 seconds later for a lesser challenge (just as reckless, but not studs up). I was more impressed with Edu's passing (I thought he made a lot of nicely weighted passes in traffic in the first half) than I have been in a while. Howard justified his reputation as one of the team's stalwarts with some incredible saves (though I couldn't imagine that 1 v 1 he saved wasn't offside, and FSC gets a failing grade for not even attempting to show whether that call (or many others like it) was correct or not. Shea continues to impress, though had we lost, his miss of Altidore's great pass would have hurt more.

  16. Kent James, October 10, 2011 at 8:13 a.m.

    One thing I forgot to mention, which might have been a factor in the game not being the prettiest was the fact that the conditions looked pretty abysmal. GIven that they appeared to be playing in a hurricane, it could have been worse...

  17. Luis Arreola, October 10, 2011 at 9:02 a.m.

    Ridge deducted 1-2 points just for having a Hispanic last name. I am not surprised.

  18. Dannie Whitehouse, October 10, 2011 at 9:52 a.m.

    ok, guys,face it, without Howard we probably lose the match, But then that is why they still go ahead and play 90 and we love to watch it. there is a problem in the back line AND midfield. Sometimes,problems in the mid make a back line struggle. From the youth clubs on up I have seen teams be really successful because of the strength in the midfield, and until we find savvy consistent guys to play center mids,the back may look shaky for a while. Shea is coming around nicely, and Beasley should be left as a sub because he plays fearful if he thinks the job is locked, competition serves him well. All my opinion aside, alot of the passing and control problems on both sides are from playing in a drenching rain, don't you think? Fact is our guys overcame the conditions and mistakes to win, and that is what we wanted Klins to bring to the table.

  19. John Soares, October 10, 2011 at 2:36 p.m.

    OK Ric, you win on spelling. Even perhaps on phrasing. As a history teacher you should. Neither of those however make your soccer insights more valuable or accurate. Also like a history teacher you seem to do little more than repeat old phrases, quotes, bias/racist theories.... IF Ridge is in fact bias (I doubt it). Then what are you for insisting every Latino deserves a 10, even if/when they don't make the team. As in he would have been a 10 if they only gave them the chance. I believe we would all do better if we compared Joe, Mike, Jose and Luis as players, based on their abilities and/or performance, good bad or indifferent and make NO mention their race.

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