Forward strikes twice to lead USA over Honduras in Gold Cup opener
FRISCO, Tex.---Clint Dempsey's two goals led the US Men's National Team to a 2-1 victory over Honduras in a Group A match of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup in front of a sellout crowd at Toyota Stadium Tuesday night.
The US, who is defending their 2013 Gold Cup championship, have won 16 of 21 matches against Honduras. The last meeting between the teams was a 1-1 tie in an international friendly at Boca Raton, Fla. last October.
"It was a tough game," said Dempsey. "They came out aggressively and caused us some problems, but when we scored, we started to turn things around." Dempsey now has four goals in his last three Gold Cup matches.
The US opened the scoring in the 25th minute off a set piece. DeAndre Yedlin sent a corner kick into the six-yard box for Jozy Altidore whose shot was stopped by Honduras goalkeeper Donis Escober. The rebound came out to Dempsey who sent his header right into the net to make it 1-0.
Another set piece for the US on a free kick that was taken by Michael Bradley sent his cross into the six-yard box for Dempsey who headed in his second goal of the match to increase the lead to 2-0.
Honduras had the first offensive chance in the third minute when Antony Lozano's shot from ten yards out was stopped by a diving save from US goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
In the sixth minute Andy Najar's shot from the top of the six-yard box was deflected by Guzan over the crossbar.
Honduras had better control of the match in the first 20 minutes of the match under new Manager Jorge Luis Pinto.
Altidore had another chance for the US in the 29th minute when he made a run and went through two Honduran defenders. His shot was blocked by Escober.
Yedlin had a chance to increase the US lead in the 31st minute. After a long run, Fabian Johnson found Yedlin all alone in the penalty area. Escober came out to cut down the angle and made a kick save on Yedlin's shot.
Altidore had another chance in the 39th minute. Bradley sent a high ball into the penalty area for Altidore, who could not tee it up and Escober came off his line to gobble up the loose ball.
The US again started slowly at the beginning of the second half. Honduras controlled possession in combination with some errant passing from the US but Honduras could not capitalize on their opportunities.
In the 57th minute the US put together a string of passes that ended up with Altidore. Dempsey found Bradley who got the ball to Altidore in the penalty area. Escober came out of the net and blocked Altidore from getting off a solid shot.
US Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann inserted Chris Wondolowski, who had five goals in the 2013 Gold Cup for the US, for Altidore in the 59th minute. And Brad Evans came in for Timmy Chandler in the 63rd minute.
Honduras finally broke through in the 70th minute. Carlos Discua who had just entered the match got the ball in the penalty area. Discua took the shot from eight yards out and while Guzan came off his line to cut down the angle Discua's shot went over Guzan's shoulder and into the net to make it 2-1.
Discua caused more problems for the US defense in the 76th minute. When Discua found himself alone in the penalty area with the ball, Evans tackled the ball away and out of danger.
Bradley's free kick in the 78th minute was an inswinger that wound up going toward the near post. Escober, who was straddling the goal line knocked the ball out before the entire ball crossed the goal line.
Honduras had several opportunities to tie the match. Eddie Hernandez, who entered the match in the second half, received a cross in the penalty area alone with Guzan and slid his shot just wide of the near post in the 82nd minute. And in the 85th minute Hernandez again had an opportunity but he directed his shot wide of the near post.
The US meets Haiti in Foxborough on Friday in Group A play.