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October 8, 2011
Dempsey’s goal gives Klinsmann his first win as U.S.A. coach

Clint Dempsey scored one goal and had a second called back as the U.S. defeated Honduras 1-0 Saturday at Sun Life Stadium.
Clint Dempsey scored one goal and had a second called back as the U.S. defeated Honduras 1-0 Saturday at Sun Life Stadium.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
MIAMI—Clint Dempsey scored in the 36th minute to give the U.S. men their first win in five matches under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, 1-0 over Honduras Saturday at wet and windswept Sun Life Stadium.

Dempsey staked the U.S. to a 1-0 lead with a pinpoint 16-yard shot. Brek Shea handled the set-up with a sharp ball across the penalty area from the right side. Dempsey took advantage of loose marking to settle the ball and switch feet before sending a sharp chip through three defenders and into the upper left corner.

Honduras got off to the quicker start, repeatedly burning both Michael Orozco-Fiscal and Carlos Bocanegra down the left flank to create scoring chances, and disrupting the U.S. passing game upfield. U.S. netminder Tim Howard recorded his first save in the 10th minute, after Roger Espinoza took advantage of a turnover just outside the penalty area to get off a low shot on goal. Nine minutes later, Howard charged off his line to stop a point-blank attempt by wide-open Honduras midfielder Jerry Bengston, and in the 27th minute he stopped a long shot from Carlo Costly.

Once the Americans settled down, however, the momentum started to shift. Shea and newcomer Timmy Chandler formed a dangerous partnership, each creating chances for the other, but with the exception of Dempsey’s goal, goalkeeper Donis Escobar faced little direct pressure other than a weak header from Maurice Edu that he blocked out for a corner kick in the 24th minute.

By the intermission, four players, including the USA’s Orozco-Fiscal, Jozy Altidore and Carlos Bocanegra, were carrying yellow cards. By shortly after the hour mark, Edu and Shea had joined them after crunching tackles in an effort to slow down the comeback-minded Hondurans.

The U.S. had a couple of golden chances to double their lead early in the second stanza, starting with a sharp shot from Danny Williams at the right side of the penalty area in the 49th minute. Four minutes later, Altidore drew the Honduran defense to the right side of the box before dishing to Shea, who was wide open at the top of the six-yard box, but stepped on the ball and fell before getting off a shot. Halftime substitute Ogucho Onyewu was equally snakebit in the 66th minute, when Escobar left a rebound at his feet right in front of the goal, and the U.S. defender’s shot rocketed over the bar.

Honduras did no better with their own second-half chances, with Bengston missing a header from just off the right post in the 57th minute, two minutes after Boniek Garcia beat Chandler into the box and just missed the left post with a wide-open attempt. Howard did his part to protect the lead with a leaping save on a wind-carried riser from Mario Martinez in the 73rd minute, and quick reaction to pick off Maynor Figueroa’s 75th-minute attempt after it was deflected on its way toward the goal.

Just when it appeared both teams had finally run out of steam through the closing minutes, 83rd-minute substitute Juan Agudelo added a late spark to the U.S. attack. Seconds after taking the field, the teenaged forward was on the receiving end of Steve Cherundolo’s free kick over the wall, but couldn’t get off a shot. Two minutes later, Agudelo controlled the ball deep on the left side, then found fellow substitute Jonathan Spector near the top left corner of the box. Spector in turn lofted a ball to Dempsey, who soared over his defender to head the ball into the net, but was whistled for a foul on the play.

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