Three Big Storylines:
- The United States Men’s National Team currently sits third in CONCACAF’s final round of qualifying (the Hex) with eight points. The top three teams advance to World Cup Russia 2018, while fourth place earns a playoff berth against Asia’s fifth place team, which will be the winner of a playoff between Syria and either Australia or Saudi Arabia (update: Saudi Arabia beat Japan making the World Cup, Australia is now in the playoff against Syria). Honduras is also on eight points but are behind the USA on goal differential. Honduras are a minus seven in goal differential while the USMNT is plus one. The USA’s 6-0 win over Honduras in San Jose on March 24 is a big reason the goal differential is so skewed and Honduras is looking for revenge from the humiliating defeat. Clint Dempsey recorded a hat trick in that game while Sebastian Lleget, Michael Bradley, and Christian Pulisic also got on the scoreboard. Lleget broke his foot 15 minutes in thanks to a hard tackle by Éver Alvarado after having a dream start by opening the scoring in the 5th minute, and has yet to return from injury for club or country.
- The USMNT lost 2-0 at home to Costa Rica on Friday. Jozy Altidore could have drawn a penalty kick in the 24th minute that would have changed the tenor of the game. Instead, Altidore was awarded a yellow in the 80th minute and will be suspended for today’s match due to yellow card accumulation. There will be more squad rotation, with Brad Guzan already announced as the starting goalkeeper replacing Tim Howard. The entire backline on Friday of Graham Zusi, Geoff Cameron, Tim Ream, and Jorge Villafana was not good. While Cameron will likely still start, there could be other changes with manager Bruce Arena going with a known commodity like DeMarcus Beasley at left back. Beasley played for Arena in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and is a veteran of anything and everything CONCACAF can throw at a player. While the defense will likely see some rotation and Altidore’s absence will have to be adjusted for, the midfield will still be anchored by Michael Bradley and Christian Pulisic will be given free rein to pull the strings in attack and will be expected to bounce back from a poor outing against Costa Rica where it looked like the physical play affected the 18-year-old.
- The field conditions are going to be a big talking point. Reports out of Honduras are that field was grown incredibly long and will be super slow as of yesterday when the USMNT was able to practice on it. But then the Honduran federation cut the grass late last night and with a midday kickoff in sweltering heat with no rain it will play entirely differently than what the USA saw yesterday.
From a Sounders Point of View:
Nine Seattle Sounders players are in action across the globe during this FIFA window.
Gustav Svensson - Subbed on in the 69th minute in Sweden’s 4-0 win at Belarus on Sunday. Sweden host Luxembourg then play at the Netherlands in the next FIFA window in early October. A win against Luxembourg and a draw against Netherlands would likely see them advance to the European playoff with an outside chance of winning the group if France falter.
Nicolas Lodeiro - Uruguay are at Paraguay at 5:00 PM today on beIN Sports following the USMNT game. Uruguay come into today third in CONMEBOL qualifying on 24 points while Paraguay are in seventh place on 21 points. CONMEBOL’s qualifying table is incredibly tight with second place Columbia separated by only five points from eighth place Ecuador with three matches to play. The top four teams qualify for Russia with fifth place going into a playoff with New Zealand.
Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan - The USMNT took 25 players to Honduras, meaning two players will not make the gameday roster. Against Costa Rica, both Dempsey and Morris came on as late substitutes while Roldan was not among the 23 players that dressed. Look for Dempsey or Morris to play a bigger role today with Altidore out and Roldan to hopefully make the gameday roster. Dempsey opened the scoring in the 2013 version of this game in the Hex with a 36th minute goal, but Honduras eventually won that game 2-1.
Joevin Jones - Trinidad and Tobago travel to Panama later today. Jones started, played all 90 minutes and scored a penalty kick in Trinidad and Tobago’s 2-1 loss at home to Honduras on Friday.
Roman Torres - Panama host Trinidad and Tobago later today. Torres did not dress in Panama’s 1-0 loss on Friday in Mexico.
Oniel Fisher - Started and played 90 minutes for Jamaica in their 2-0 loss to Canada in Toronto on Saturday.
USMNT lineup vs. Honduras
Both Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey are starting, while Cristian Roldan did not suit up for a second straight game.
National TV Listings:
Date/Time: Tuesday, 2:30 PM (kickoff is scheduled for 2:36 PM)
Location: Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano – San Pedro Sula, Honduras
TV: beIN Sports, NBC Universo
Streaming: beIN Sports Connect
Because it is always asked in the comments, the home team controls the television rights for these games and the start times. beIN Sports bought the rights to all the federations other than USA and Mexico for the HEX. If you have DIRECTV, (or are at a bar as most bars have DIRECTV,) beIN Sports is channel 620.
beIN TV coverage will feature Kevin Egan, Ali Krieger, Carlos Bocanegra, Jimmy Conrad, Jovan Kirovski and Heath Pearce.
Costa Rica v Mexico
Date/Time: Tuesday, 7:05 PM
Location: Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica - San Jose, Costa Rica
TV: beIN Sports
Streaming: beIN Sports Connect
Panama v Trinidad and Tobago
Date/Time: Tuesday, 7:05 PM
Location: Estadio Rommel Fernandez - Panama City, Panama
This is your Sounder at Heart USMNT versus Honduras World Cup Qualifying gamethread. Watch with us.