The US came from behind to win, the first time in qualifiers since 1985.
They beat a very good Honduran team led by Toronto FC’s Amado Guevara. Los Catrachos midfield boasted a number of players in international leagues, including Spurs standout Wilson Palacios and Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza.
In form striker Carlos Costly, who sunk the Ticos in their last match with his brace struck again after Calos Pavon dispossessed Clint Dempsey and ran to the right as the defense gave chase, passing the ball to the advancing Costly. His shot curled past Tim Howard.
The US fought back after Gooch’s long ball was handled by Marco Beata in the box and the referee after some confusion and consultation with the line officials gave the PK. Landon Donovan rifled the ball home for the equalizer even as Noel Vallardes in goal guessed correctly.
The introduction of Benny Feilhaber for Mastroeni gave the US a much needed boost in midfield. The second half saw better ball control and possession. Dempsey made amends for his costly mistake when he headed the ball back into play after Donovan’s corner appeared to be sailing off. Carlos Bocanegra courageously dove head first to get to the ball and score the winner. The match ended in a 2-1 win but not without some last gasp attempts by the Hondurans. A quick thinking Gooch slid in to clear the ball before Costly closed in on Tim Howard’s parry off a Walter Martinez shot.
Tim Howard was much better protected in this match after the shambolic display against the Ticos. The defense was far more assertive in closing down passing lanes and taking the ball away through tougher tackling. Carlos Bocanegra sustained a hamstring injury and had to be substituted. It was a bit of a downer coming on the eve of the announcement of the roster for the Confederations Cup, a day before the team leaves for SA.