Gonzalez replaces Bocanegra for US WCup qualifier

Omar Gonzalez replaced captain Carlos Bocanegra in central

defense for the United States’ World Cup qualifier at Honduras on

Wednesday, and Timmy Chandler was in the starting lineup to play

right back in his competitive debut for the Americans.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard was the captain for the match in San Pedro

Sula as the Americans opened the final round of qualifying in North

and Central America and the Caribbean. Chandler took over on the

right from Steve Cherundolo, sidelined by a knee injury.

Chandler, a 22-year-old with an American father and German

mother, had been eligible to play for both nations. He made nine

previous appearances for the Americans, all in exhibitions, and by

appearing in a competitive match for the U.S. he became ineligible

to play for any other country under FIFA rules.

The game marked somewhat of a generational change for the U.S.

defense, with Chandler joined by Gonzalez (24), Geoff Cameron (27)

and Fabian Johnson (25).

Gonzalez, a 6-foot-4 defender for the Los Angeles Galaxy, was

the only holdover in the starting lineup from last week’s 0-0 tie

against Canada in an exhibition at Houston. That marked his return

to the national team following a two-year absence partly caused by

a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. He was paired with Cameron

in the center of the backline, the first time the pair played

together. Johnson was on the left.

Bocanegra, who turns 34 in May, is with Racing Santander of

Spain’s second division and missed the team’s first two games in

January because of a visa issue, but he had started the club’s last


Danny Williams, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley and Eddie

Johnson were in a four-man midfield, and Clint Dempsey and Jozy

Altidore were at forward.

Defender Matt Besler was scratched as the U.S. got down to the

23-man roster limit.

Honduras’ lineup had Noel Valladares in goal; Arnold Peralta,

Victor Bernandez, Maynor Figueroa and Juan Garcia on defense; Oscar

Boniek Garcia, Roger Espinoza, Luis Garrido and Mario Martinez in

midfield; and Jerry Bengston and Carlo Costly at forward.

The referee was Walter Quesada of Costa Rica.