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United States of America 1-1 Honduras
September 21 2017, 07:43 | Sammy Rose
Johan Ordonez AFP Getty Images
Bruce Arena is 6-1-0 in seven all-time matches vs. Los Catrachos and led the team to its second all-time win in Honduras with a 2-1 victory in Final Round World Cup Qualifying on March 28, 2001.
For now the United States of America stay above Honduras in the third and final automatic qualifying spot for Russian Federation 2018 and while they may fall below Panama, who take on lowly Trinidad and Tobago later on Tuesday, their World Cup hopes remain in their hands. Eventually, with enough persistence, the US found its breakthrough via Wood and escaped San Pedro Sula with the draw. Wood, who came on for Darlington Nagbe in the 73rd minute, took Morris' flick off his chest and slammed home the equalizer. Depending on a later result, Panama could jump past both the USA and Honduras with a win over Trinidad and Tobago game.
The USA now occupy third place in the standings with eight points from seven games, leading Honduras thanks to a vastly superior goal difference. Not only do the Americans have an eight-goal lead over Honduras in the tiebreaking goal differential category, the Hondurans also must play the strongest teams in the region in their final two games. But with a victory against the Panamanians on October 6 in Orlando, Florida, the United States would regain third place.
The Americans play at Honduras on Tuesday night, then close the hexagonal next month at home against Panama and at Trinidad and Tobago.
The USMNT competes in CONCACAF during World Cup qualification, which will automatically send three teams to the World Cup, with the possibility of a fourth depending on the outcome of an inter-confederation play-in game. Romell Quioto's 27th minute strike took full advantage of a suspect USA backline and his perfectly placed shot looked like it would hold up for the home team.
We didn't get a real chance to see that telepathy and cohesion against Costa Rica, with Dempsey reduced to a "super-sub" role by Arena, in addition to Pulisic being subbed off in the late stages of the match.
As of prior to this particular game, El Tri has already qualified and is ahead of Costa Rica by 3 points. It was an important result for the Stars and Stripes following the home defeat to Costa Rica on Friday.
DaMarcus Beasley, age 35 and pursuing a fifth World Cup, filled the left side.
Bradley said that he understands well what his team will be up against on Tuesday. Kellyn Acosta replaced Fabian Johnson, and Morris stepped in for Wood and Clint Dempsey for Jozy Altidore, who was suspended.
Mexico achieved guaranteed qualification to the next World Cup with its slim 1-0 win against Panama in its last game in these qualifiers. In the second half, needing a goal, Arena decided he was best off switching to a back three and taking off both players, which was a reflection of their ineffectiveness. When combined with humidity of 63 percent, it felt like the temperature was well over 100.
The Americans showed promise at the start. The Toronto FC veteran took his time, squared up the ball, targeted Christian Pulisic on the right wing, and promptly deposited the ball into touch.
But Honduras's work on the wings began to cause problems. In came Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler.
The eruption of sound and celebration might have been heard on the Caribbean coast an hour away. Luis Lopez sprang off his line to block the angled touch. Out went center backs Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream. Just three minutes in the Yanks looked more coordinated than they had against Costa Rica.
Despite the accomplishment, Osorio wants to keep his foot on the gas, a natural reaction by the oft-criticized boss as he makes his return to the touchline following a six-game suspension that kept him out of the entire Gold Cup run earlier this summer, as well as the match against Panama.
With nearly all hope lost, the Americans found the equalizer - and renewed hope of qualifying for the Cup.