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Honduras beats USA 2-1; Mario Martinez and Eddie Johnson feature

Defensive slips and the lack of an effective counter leave the United States without points as they open up the Hex in their attempt to qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Both Mario Martinez and Eddie Johnson started.

Jurgen at the Canada draw. Is it time to question the coach?
Jurgen at the Canada draw. Is it time to question the coach?
Bob Levey

Dropping the points on the road in the opening round of the CONCACAF Hex is not doom. There are still 27 to get and 15 is basically the break point. But the loss showed some issues in squad selection, player utilization, tactics and defensive fundamentals. Too often the United States would not clear the ball effectively and both Honduras goals were the result of defensive errors. The 2-1 loss puts America in the hole. It is not over.

Dempsey opened the scoring for the United States, but it was a lead that would not hold.

Mario Martinez played the full 90, mainly as the left wing in the Honduras attack. His passing was creative and effective. Playing high, he was more a winger than a midfielder. His defense is lacking, but even the BeIN announcers said that he gave Sigi a reason for more time, especially facing off against so many MLS players. Martinez finished as the most active player via Opta and completed 86% of his passes. His crossing was generally poor, but his through balls were strong and he had two key passes.

In the first half Eddie Johnson was in that hybrid left wing/target role, usually darting inside he would occasionally drift wide for the cross. There were more opportunities for him to chase balls, but the passing was lacking. The second half saw him in a more traditional two forward set on the left. By the time Jurgen Klinsmann put in a couple more playmakers Johnson was subbed off. EJ completed 76% of his passes, created one chance and his only shot was off target.

Brad Evans did not enter.

The home leg for the Americans is increasingly likely to be here, in Seattle at CenturyLink Field. Three points will be a must in that match.

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