Gold Cup: USMNT Survive Honduras 2-1 In Opener

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Dallas, TX (July 7, 2015) – While not the most convincing performances, the United State defeated Honduras by a score of 2-1 in their opening match of the 2015 Gold Cup. With Panama and Haiti drawing 1-1, the USMNT leads Group A after the first of three matches.

The game got off to a bit of shaky start for the Americans. Los Catrachos came out like it was an elimination game. They won the possession battle in the opening 20 minutes and created several good chances. In the second minute, forward Anthony Lozano made a run into the box and forced Brad Guzan to make a fingertip save. Two minutes later, Andy Najar delivered a shot from outside the box that Guzan had to deflect over the bar. Honduras continued to press and win several corners.

Fouls continued to pile up while other tackles went uncalled, but the first booking did not come until the 16th minute. Mario Martinez was starting a counter attack from midfield when John Brooks up ended him.

In the 25th minute, Timmy Chandler made a good run with the ball at the touch line and managed to win a corner off a deflection. DeAndre Yedlin set up the corner for a Michael Bradley cross. The inswinger bounced in the box and was deflected out to Jozy Altidore. He made a move around a defender and took a shot. The ball deflected off of goalkeeper Donis Escobar and Clint Dempsey headed it into the back of the net.

The US appeared to settle down after scoring. They began to possess the ball better and build up their attack. Their best chance came in the 32nd minute when Fabian Johnson went forward and found Yedlin streaking in on goal. Yedlin took one touch and tried to chip the keeper but Escobar came off his line to cut down the angle and make the save.

Towards the end of the half, Najar made a run into the box, knocking down Yedlin in the box. His shot went over the bar. No foul was called on the play for his shove on Yedlin. The half ended 1-0.

The second half began with no changes by either side. The game began to move at a much slower pace with the teams trading half chances. In the 57th minute, Chris Wondolowski came on for Altidore, who was not particularly impressive. In the 63rd minute, Brad Evans came on for Chandler. This was Evans’s first appearance with the national team in 2015. At the same time, Honduras brought on Romell Quioto for Najar, who was possibly the best attacker for Honduras to that point.

Just a minute later, the US won a free kick in the final third. Bradley sent in a perfect ball and Dempsey got past his mark and rose high enough to head the ball down and into the net. Dempsey had his brace and appears to have made a statement after his Open Cup incident that caused him to lose the Captain’s Armband for the Gold Cup.

Honduras responded in the 69th minute. Carlos Discua came on for Martinez and scored almost immediately. Discua made a penetrating run and got around Ventura Alvarado to finish the play off.

The two teams continued to trade chances and Honduras continued to press harder as the game progressed. Graham Zusi replaced Gyasi Zardes as the final USMNT substitution. In the 93rd minute, Yedlin lost the ball in the final third and committed a foul for Honduras’s last chance at a draw. The free kick went into the wall as the final whistle sounded.

The game ended with Honduras winning the possession battle (50.6%). They also out shot the US 16-6 (3-5 on target). The USMNT survive to lead the group after the first match of the group stage. They now travel to Foxborough, MA to take on Haiti on Friday. Kickoff is set for 8:30 PM EST and can be seen on Fox Sports 1 and UniMas.