The USA meet Honduras in their first big test in the Concacaf Gold Cup at RFK Stadium in front of a pro Honduran crowd.
Their country has been in the news lately with a military coup toppling incumbent president Manuel Zelaya and installing Roberto Micheletti, a development that President Obama condemned and the OAS threatening to sanction Honduras. These political developments overshadow a Honduran team that will be fueled by a lot of emotion.
The last match was a US 2-1 win at Soldier Field through Carlos Bocanegra’s winning header. Under Reynaldo Rueda the Concacaf squad wears a new look. Only strikers Carlos Costly and Walter Martinez have substantial international experience. There is no Noel Valladares, Carlos Pavon, Amado Guevara, Ivan Guerrero, Mauricio Sabillon, Wilson Palacios, or David Suazo.
- Interestingly, Honduras was the last CONCACAF opponent to defeat the U.S. at home. Since a 3-2 loss in FIFA World Cup qualifying on Sept. 1, 2001, the U.S. is riding a 54-game unbeaten streak that includes 44 wins and 10 ties.
The US midfield looks pretty raw and untested with three players making their debut against Grenada: Stuart Holden, Brad Evans, and Logan Pause. Two others are yet to make their debut, Colin Clark and Sam Cronin. This might be one reason that Bob Bradley will start Benny Feilhaber, who was outstanding in his Confederations Cup appearances.
On why Benny Feilhaber was called into the roster for this game:
“It gives us a little bit of cover in the midfield. I think after the Confederations Cup he needed a little bit of time. And like all of these guys, we need to balance our needs with the needs of his club and the ability of the player to get back to his club at a good time so that he can earn playing time and continue to move forward. So there are a lot of different factors with all of these decisions.”