U.S. falls 3-1 against Honduras
The United States opened its 2010 schedule of World Cup warmups with a resounding thud.
Fellow World Cup qualifier Honduras thoroughly outplayed a second-string U.S. lineup, winning an exhibition game 3-1 Saturday night.
Defender Jimmy Conrad was ejected by Mexico referee Benito Archundia in the 17th minute for his second yellow card, given for an off-the-ball foul in the penalty area. Carlos Pavon, who put a penalty kick over the crossbar during last October's World Cup qualifier, converted his kick this time in the 19th.
"It's tough to fight back, especially a man down," said left back Jonathan Bornstein, the closest to a regular in the U.S. lineup. "The match just didn't go our way this time."
Before a pro-Honduras crowd of 18,626, Jerry Palacios split the defense to beat goalkeeper Troy Perkins with a 6-yard header off Pavon's cross in the 37th following a long ball by Emilio Izaguirre. Roger Espinoza made it 3-0 in the 53rd, slotting the ball in from 8 yards.
Clarence Goodson scored in the 70th for the 14th-ranked U.S., using an elbow to outleap goalkeeper Donis Escobar for a corner kick. Goodson also scored against Honduras in last summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal.
It was just the second time the Americans lost to Honduras at home, but none of the players the U.S. used in this match are likely to be in the starting lineup for its World Cup opener against England on June 12. The regulars stayed in Europe with their clubs and Bradley used a group from Major League Soccer and Scandinavian clubs on winter break, players trying to earn roster spots as reserves.
This was the first of five planned warmups ahead of the World Cup. Most American regulars also will miss the Feb. 24 game against El Salvador at Tampa, Fla., but U.S. coach Bob Bradley should have a relatively full-strength roster for the March 3 match against the Netherlands in Amsterdam - the last game before he picks his 23-man roster. The Americans then probably will play a pair of exhibitions at home in May before heading to South Africa, where they also play Slovenia and Algeria in the first round.
Honduras, tied for 37th in the world rankings, is preparing to meet Chile, Spain and Switzerland in its first World Cup appearance since 1982. The Catrachos also were missing its Europe-based players.
Bornstein was the only U.S. starter held over from October's qualifier at San Pedro Sula, when the Americans rallied for a 3-2 win that clinched their sixth straight World Cup appearance. Four days later, it was Bornstein's injury-time goal against Costa Rica that gained a 2-2 tie - and put Honduras in the World Cup instead of Costa Rica.
Honduras used just three starters from October's match against the U.S.