It Seems To Me. . .
Americans again see early advantage evaporate late in draw with Honduras.
By Robert Wagman
(Wednesday, October 15, 2014) For the second time in five days, the United States men scored early, but conceded an late equalizing goal, Tuesday drawing 1-1 with Honduras in front of 14,805 at Florida Atlantic University Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.
The U.S. goal was scored by Boca Raton native Jozy Altidore
U.S. coach Jürgen Klinsmann called in a number of his starters from this summer's World Cup for the match -- midfielders Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and Graham Zusi, and defender Matt Besler. Each started for the first time since leaving Brazil.
That Altidore scored, beating Honduran goalkeeper Donis Escobar for a 1-0 in the 10th minute, was good news for local family and friends, but it turned out to be on the Americans only shot on frame.
This is the start of a new World Cup cycle, leading up to Russia 2018, it affords Klinsmann an opportunity to look at players who might help him in four years. That includes the big experiment of moving standout defensive midfielder Jones to central defense. Jones is 32 and it appears Klinsmann's badly wants him to remain part of the squad for four more years. One adjustment might include shifting Jones to the back-line.
Against Honduras, he adapted well to his new role until the 86th minute when he lost his mark opposing defender Maynor Figueroa, allowing him to head home Mario Martinez's right-side free kick after U.S. midfielder Mix Diskerud's foul.
The U.S. dominated the first half, but was unable to do very much with its attack. Honduras came out after intermission with an increased energy level that pushed the Americans back on their heels. Once both teams began substituting in the closing 30 minutes, the affair became helter-skelter and giving Honduras its chance to tie.
U.S. Player Ratings:
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando - 5: Made a number of errors before finally being burned on Figueroa's header, which he tried to punch away, but could not reach.
Defender Timmy Chandler - 5: A lackluster effort on the heels of a similar performance against Ecuador last Friday.
Defender Jermaine Jones - 6: Was terrific in an unfamiliar role, often pushing forward to link with the U.S. attack.
Defender Matt Besler - 6.5: A steady performance for his hour. He is becoming the defender Klinsmann can depend on, match after match.
Defender Greg Garza - 6: An impressive performance by the young defender with limited national-team experience. He is one to watch for the future.
Midfielder Mix Diskerud - 6: He too was given an unfamiliar role at the bottom of a four-man diamond in the midfield. He did decent work defensively, while also being able to push forward.
Midfielder Graham Zusi - 5.5: Despite a very high work rate, accomplished little in an average performance.
Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya - 7: After a so-so World Cup, he now seems determined to make amends. Was the best American tonight.
Midfielder Clint Dempsey - 5: He had a few shots, but was largely absent much of the time.
Midfielder Michael Bradley - 6.5: Was put at the top of the midfield diamond and was expected to be key on attack. He simply appears unable to be the offensive player Klinsmann wants and, for most of the night, he dropped back and contributed defensively, a role he is most comfortable in.
Forward Jozy Altidore - 6.5: Recorded a high work rate and attractive goal in an all-around strong performance
Defender Tim Ream (64th minute for Besler) - 5.5: A decent appearance; was able to make some decent clearances in a generally mistake-free shift.
Midfielder DeAndre Yedlin (64th minute for Zusi) - 5: Was never able to establish himself in the fluid action of the final 30 minutes.
Forward Bobby Wood (64th minute for Dempsey) - 4.5: About the best thing one could say for him is he was better than his awful performance against Ecuador.
Forward Alfredo Morales (75th minute for Bradley) - 6: Looked solid in this short appearance, but was unable to leave much of a mark on the match.
Midfielder Joe Corona (78th minute for Bedoya) - 5 Botched a free kick near the end. Otherwise, had little to contribute.
Forward Miguel Ibarra (90th minute for Diskerud) - no rating: Token appearance, rewarding hard work in training over the past two weeks.
SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Alejandro Bedoya.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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