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October 14, 2014
Honduras’ late goal ties US

By Norb Ecksl
Sunshine Soccer News Editor

BOCA RATON, Fla.—Jozy Altidore scored for the US and Maynor Figueroa scored late in the match as the US Men’s National Team battled to a 1-1 draw with Honduras in an international friendly in front of 14,805 fans at FAU Stadium Tuesday night.

Figueroa scored his fourth goal of the year for Honduras after a free kick from outside the penalty area. Mario Martinez sent the ball into the six-yard box and Figueroa moved up to head the ball from in four yards out that went by US goalkeeper Nick Rimando to make it, 1-1.

The USMNT opened the scoring in the tenth minute when Michael Bradley picked up a loose ball at midfield and started forward. Bradley lofted a high ball to Altidore breaking down the far side. Altidore headed the ball down in front of him and sent a hard volley that went past Honduras goalkeeper Donis Escober into the net to make it, 1-0. It was Altidore’s third goal of the year and it came in front of the hometown Palm Beach County fans.

“I’ve played a lot of tournaments here in this area and it was great to see the people here, especially the ones that helped me get to this point,” explained Altidore. “It was surreal. It’s always great to see everyone in the family, even my cousins from Haiti who were here to watch. A lot of emotions here tonight. It was really special.”

“That’s the best medicine,” stated USMNT Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “I hoped he could get another one. It looked like the same type of goal he scored before the World Cup against Nigeria (at Jacksonville). I hope he will take the energy back to the Premier League and continue progressing.”

As far as going back to Sunderland and his experience in Europe, Altidore sees this goal as taking advantage of an opportunity. “I’m going to keep plugging away,” explained Altidore. “I like the fans there, I enjoy the coach.”

Honduras had two quality chances after the US took the lead. Alberth Elis had a shot from 14 yards out that went over the crossbar and Andy Najar’s shot from 25 yards out went over the crossbar.

In the 22nd minute Alejandro Bedoya intercepted a Honduras pass and went forward down the far side of the field. Bedoya sent a cross into the penalty area for Clint Dempsey who was uncovered, but the pass was knocked aside by midfielder Luis Garrido and over the endline for a corner kick.

Greg Garza, making his third appearance this year, chased down a loose ball on the far side and sent a shot from 16 yards out that went wide of the near post in the 36th minute.

“Garza looked like he was with us all the while,” stated Klinsmann of Garza’s performance. “He was very focused and played strong. He went forward when he could and created opportunities for us.”

The US outshot Honduras 4-2 in the first half.

Two corner kicks for Honduras early in the second half had the US back defending their goal. On the second corner taken the ball went deep into the six-yard box and was grabbed by Rimando. Honduran forward Romell Quioto, who was inserted into the lineup at the beginning of the second half, tried to grab the ball from Rimando in traffic and Referee Yadel Maretinez showed Quiotio a yellow card in the 49th minute.

Fouls were readily exchanged by both clubs in this friendly and Jermain Jones was given a yellow card for a hard tackle on Garrido who flew through the air after the foul in the 59th minute.

“Jones’ leadership is important,” said Klinsmann. “He was being loud and vocal. He team passing went well and that’s what we want to see from him.”

The US had their first scoring opportunity of the second half in the 66th minute when a shot from Bedoya rebounded off the Honduran defense right to Bradley at the top of the penalty area, but Bradley’s shot was blocked by defender Victor Bernardez.

Mix Diskerud had a chance to widen the US lead in the 74th minute when he picked up a loose ball in the penalty area and dribbled through three Honduran defenders but the ball was tackled away from him before he could pass or shoot.

In the 83rd minute Honduras had a chance when Quioto ran down the far side of the field with Jones keeping up, stride for stride. After both players entered the penalty area, Jones knocked the ball aside cleanly and Quioto fell in a heap.

With the US trying to break the deadlock and time running out in the match, Klinsmann sent in Miguel Ibarra for Diskerud. It was Ibarra’a first appearance for the U.S. “He has just been with us for one or two days and he was very nervous,” explained Klinsmann. “This kid can play. We will have our eye on him when he goes back to Minnesota (of the NASL).”

“I was a little disappointed in the second half,” explained Klinsmann. “It felt like we wanted to get the game done and our rhythm disappeared. That gave them (Honduras) the opportunity to get back at us.”

Honduras outshot the US 11-8 for the match.

The USMNT faces the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on November 18th.

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