U.S. men's World Cup hopes brighten with tie against Honduras

Costa Rica vs Mexico

That's how close the US national team came to suffering a second straight World Cup qualifying loss in September, and seeing its Russian Federation 2018 hopes put on life support. After all, it was only the third of ten matches in the hex.

On Tuesday night however, Honduras and the USMNT will meet in Honduras with three potential points in play. The backline was tight and organized.

For almost 85 minutes on Tuesday, the USA was facing an existential crisis.

Tied at the break, things looked bleak for the Yanks. His creativity and technique would have been a crucial addition to the United States attack, but he received the hack-a-Shaq treatment that's all too common in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.

Humbled 2-0 by Costa Rica in New Jersey on Friday, the United States face a resurgent Honduras in San Pedro Sula with their hopes of automatic qualification to Russian Federation hanging in the balance.

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United States coach Bruce Arena faces the most demanding test of his second spell in charge today as his chastened team heads to Honduras for a crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier. A draw for the USA combined with a Panama win would see the Americans occupying the fourth place spot, with the realistic prospect of a home-and-home playoff with the fifth place side from the Asian Football Confederation taking place in November. It wasn't pretty, but it never was going to be down in San Pedro Sula in a hot, hostile environment.

USA coach Bruce Arena has a month to concoct a more lucid game plan for Panama's October 6 visit to Orlando. Did the US seem helpless and frustrated? Yes. Or will it be a moot point amid some quality late afternoon delight?

There were a few bright moments, certainly-especially in the opening minutes.

Ream, taking over from injured John Brooks, was paired with Cameron in central defense for the first time.

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"These aren't the best conditions for our players over in Germany right now".

Howard or Guzan in goal? The Costa Rica match was an upset and disappointing, but don't take too much away from what you saw from the U.S.at Honduras. The 27-year-old netting twice against the USA. He's got bags of pace and deadly finishing ability, fitting for a man affectionately known as "the panther". Pulisic was the only non-MLS player in the lineup.

Honduras took a first-half lead against the United States but could not manage to hold on. Two wins and they're in. The 22-year Mexican moved from Pachuca to PSV Eindhoven this summer and had an immediate impact scoring three goals in three games. Romell Quioto's 27th minute strike took full advantage of a suspect US backline and his perfectly placed shot looked like it would hold up for the home team. Just like Costa Rica's quarterfinal appearance in 2014, however, Osorio's players must rely on what they're good at, hope for a dose of good fortune and enforce a more disciplined defensive unit.

Jozy Altidore, Friday's starting striker, served a yellow-card suspension.

Pulisic needs to be given the freedom to roam.

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As easy as it would be to look at this game as a bad one for the USA, we have to also consider that it was a very good one for Costa Rica. The score flatters the US, who gave their second consecutive pitiful performance and are lucky to remain mostly unscathed. However, those runs failed to produce a threatening shot on target, and Honduras got better at timing its counter attacks as the half wore on. We worked really hard the whole game.


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