USA vs. Honduras: Keys to American Victory in World Cup Qualifier

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2013

Jun 11, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; United States forward Jozy Altidore (17) celebrates with midfielder Eddie Johnson (18) after scoring a goal in the first half against Panama in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier at CenturyLink Field. The United States defeated Panama 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The United States continues its quest to qualify for the 2014 World Cup with a home match against Honduras. In order to earn the three points, everyone involved must bring its best effort.

After wins over Jamaica and Panama, the US is in good shape in CONCACAF qualifying. The squad leads the six-team group with 10 points in five matches, which is three points ahead of Honduras in fourth place.

As long as the team stays in the top three, it will be headed to Brazil.

However, Honduras has a lot of talent and is certain to give Team USA trouble on Tuesday. It will be necessary to follow these keys to make sure they get a win.


Maintain Possession

United States has suffered one loss during this round of qualifying, and that came at the hands of Honduras. In that match, the eventual winners held possession for 57 percent of the time.

As a result, the US players struggled to get a solid attack near the net and could only manage one goal in a 2-1 loss.

Of course, the squad looks much different in recent weeks than it did back in February. The ball movement has been much better recently, and the group has held onto the ball for the majority of the last two matches.

This must happen against Honduras to truly control the match. If the midfield continues to play like it has, this should not be an issue.


Take Smart Shots

Against Jamaica and Panama, the United States totaled four goals, although it seemed like both matches should have been higher scoring.

The team has been moving the ball well, but it has not been getting quality shots off near the net. Of the 23 shots taken in the two matches, only seven of them were actually on goal.

In the upcoming contest, the players need to make sure they are working for something when they have the ball. Instead of passing back and forth, they need to make runs toward the net to create better scoring opportunities.

Every player needs to be aware of where they are and whether making the extra pass will lead to a much better shot.


Keep Focus on Defense

This has been the biggest problem for Team USA over the course of qualifying. The defense will play strong for 99 percent of a match, but it will then lose focus.

While the team was fortunate to avoid giving up a goal against Panama, it was not so lucky against Jamaica as a score in the 89th minute almost blew a victory.

Playing defense requires a lot of physical tools, but it is almost important to be mentally aware of what is going on at all times. If the players get lazy for even a second, the opponent will make them pay.

Honduras has plenty of talent on the offensive end, so guys like Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler have to stay on top of things for the full 90 minutes. Otherwise, the team will not get the three points that it needs.


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