US records first win of Klinsmann era
The United States got Jurgen Klinsmann a victory in his fourth try as American coach.
Clint Dempsey scored in the 36th minute and goalkeeper Tim Howard made several key saves in a 1-0 exhibition victory over Honduras on Saturday night.
''It's huge for all of us. You don't ever want to go a long period of time without winning,'' Howard said. ''We performed well, I think, and we're trying to set a foundation, but ultimately you have to win. That was the focus coming in.''
Since Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley on July 29 after the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the Americans had tied Mexico and Costa Rica, and lost at Belgium.
When Klinsmann took over as coach of Germany's national team seven years ago, Die Mannschaft beat Austria in his debut.
''This team is hungry for success,'' Klinsmann said. ''They want to do well and get the results right.''
Eight days after acquiring a U.S. passport, Danny Williams started in his national team debut. The 22-year-old midfielder, the son of a U.S. serviceman and a German mother, joined Hoffenheim from Freiburg at the end of August and only made his first start for Hoffenheim against Bayern Munich last weekend.
''It was great - I had goose bumps,'' Williams said. ''When I heard the national anthem played I said, 'Wow! This is the first time playing for the U.S. national team.'''
He is among four German-Americans in the U.S. program. Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones made his debut last October, and Nuremberg defender Timmy Chandler debuted in March. Hoffenheim midfielder Fabian Johnson, sidelined by a neck injury, was been approved by FIFA last month for a switch from Germany to the U.S.
On a rainy night in south Florida, a frog could be seen on the field. The game was the first of a pair for the U.S. during the international fixture period. The Americans host Ecuador on Tuesday night in Harrison, N.J.
The U.S. used a 4-1-3-2 formation and Howard made up for a few defensive lapses.
''I think it took us a little bit to get into a higher pace,'' Klinsmann said. ''The first 20 minutes were a bit too static. And then we took over, created a lot more chances.''
Dempsey put the U.S. ahead with his 23rd international goal. Brek Shea's centering pass got past several players and touched Michael Orozco Fiscal before Dempsey gained control at the top of the penalty area, He moved the ball from his right foot to his left and shot high past goalkeeper Donis Escobar .
''I didn't know if the ball was going to come through, I got a little lucky,'' Dempsey said. ''I took my time. I was going to take it with my right foot but saw it was going to be blocked, so I pulled it back to my left and couldn't have hit it any sweeter.''
Dempsey also appeared to score on a header in the 84th minute, but the Americans were called for offside.
With the U.S. using most top players other than Landon Donovan (strained right quadriceps) and midfielder Stuart Holden (knee surgery), the Americans seemed to better adapt to the system employed by Klinsmann.
In the 18th minute, Honduras' Jerry Bengston broke in alone on Howard and let go a shot from the top of the box. Then in the 26th minute, Howard made a diving save of a straight-on, left-footed shot by Carlos Costly from well beyond the box.
Howard also stopped a shot from Boniek Garcia, who fired from the left corner in the 52nd minute. With his 37th win, Howard tied Tony Meola for second among U.S. goalkeepers behind Kasey Keller's 53.
''Tim is getting to a time in his career where he realizes these are the golden years for him ahead,'' Klinsmann said. ''We really enjoy what he brings to the table.''
Oguchi Onyewu, appearing for the first time under Klinsmann, squandered a scoring chance in the 66th minute when he volleyed a rebound over the crossbar. Escobar had made a save on Dempsey and the ball landed at Onyewu's feet.
NOTES: Carlos Bocanegra and Howard are the only players to start all four games under Klinsmann. ... Williams was the first player to make his debut under Klinsmann. DaMarcus Beasley replaced Williams in the 65th minute, his first international appearance since last year's World Cup game against Algeria. ... Jonathan Spector made his first appearance under Klinsmann, replacing Chandler in the 76th.