June 18, 2013
A PERFECT JUNE
Altidore's goal lifts USA to 1-0 win over Honduras as wins 3rd straight WCQ
SANDY, Utah -- Jozy Altidore scored in his fourth consecutive game and third successive World Cup qualifier to lift the United States to a 1-0 victory over a determined and depleted Honduras side on Tuesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
|Jozy Altidore scored in his fourth consecutive game.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The win solidified the Americans' position atop the CONCACAF hexagonal with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points as they recorded a perfect nine points from their three qualifying matches. The Hondurans (2-3-1, seven), who started the night in fourth place, fell to 2-3-1.
Playing without five regulars, Los Catrachos put up a good fight against the U.S. Honduras played without defender Maynor Figueroa, who was injured. Defender Victor Bernardez and defensive midfielder Luis Garrido were suspended and striker Jerry Bengtson left the team after having spat with coach Luis Fernando Suarez.
After a disappointing game in which the U.S. had a number of near misses, Altidore finally broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute as he slotted home a left-wing feed from Fabian Johnson from 12 yards past goalkeeper Noel Valladares at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Altidore became only the fifth U.S. player to score in four consecutive games, joining Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride and Bill Looby. He also scored a goal in each of the Americans' qualifying wins this month. He started it in the U.S.'s friendly win over Germany on June 2 and follow it up in a 2-1 away victory in Jamaica on June 7, a 2-0 home triumph over Panama on June 11 and Tuesday night's score.
The United States dominated the first half, but the Hondurans held their own as the teams went into the locker room at halftime with a scoreless draw. Another dynamic performance by midfielder Roger Espinoza helped keep the visitors in the game.
The hosts attacked just about from the opening whistle as Eddie Johnson headed a Graham Zusi free kick wide right in the second minute.
Five minutes later, Dempsey headed a Zusi corner kick wide right of its intended target.
Johnson had the Americans' best chance of the opening half in the 17th minute as he fired a shot from the top of the penalty area that Valladares saved.
Los Catrachos suffered a tough blow in the 33rd minute when forward Carlo Costly was forced from the game with a leg injury. Roger Rojas replaced him.
Andy Najar had the Hondurans' best scoring opportunity of the half as he took advantage of a U.S. giveaway and motored down the right wing before firing a shot that keeper Tim Howard had to make a two-handed save.
Altidore thought he had broken the scoreless tie in the 59th minute, but his goal off some nifty American passing was called offside.
The U.S. got even closer to getting on the scoreboard in the 63rd minute. Zusi's corner kick was deflected off the crossbar. Dempsey headed the ball toward the net, which hit the hand of Wilson Palacios. The referee, however, did not call a penalty kick as both teams played on.