USA beat Honduras in bad World Cup Qualifier

Perhaps no moment has been more evident than the increased pressure – and its lessening – on the US men’s national soccer team more than the 67th minute on Wednesday. Christian Pulisic, a talented striker playing for Chelsea, has struggled and been frustrated in recent performances for his country.

And before Honduras, on a cold night in St. Paul, Minn., Pulisic were not even in the starting lineup of the US coach Gregg Berhalter. But after coming on as a substitute in the 64th minute and scoring the winning goal three minutes later, Pulisic calmly ran out with outstretched arms, then fisted and hugged his teammates.

With a 3-0 victory over Honduras to close this World Cup qualifying window, the United States remains in control of its fate and eases some – but not all – of the burden on the collective shoulders. of them to enter the next series in the March.

By taking three points on the leaderboard, the United States became the sole owner of second place – currently, awaiting the results of Mexico’s game against Panama the following Wednesday – in the group of eight teams. species from North, Central America and the Caribbean. that will determine the stop of the area in This year’s World Cup. The top three teams will automatically enter the tournament in Qatar in November.

Three days earlier, the United States had made matters worse by losing 2-0 first a revived Canada lineup in a showdown between the top two teams in the region. After the game, questions arose about the United States’ training, tactics, and play.

But even in the harsh cold on Wednesday, the United States looked vastly different from Honduras, which finished last in qualifying and were dropped from the World Cup squad. The United States has scored in ways they have not done before and it looks easier.

The United States played the previous two games of this qualifying window in outdoor stadiums in cold places – at home with El Salvador in Columbus, Ohiolast week and on the way against Canada in Hamilton, Ontarioon Sunday – but Wednesday’s game at Allianz Field had the worst conditions.

Cold winds of minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit at the start of the game but subsided as the game progressed, making it America’s coldest home game. US Soccer not only wants to limit travel during this qualifying period, but also gain an advantage over Central American opponents.

Bottle warmers and hot drinks were provided to both teams. Some players wear balaclavas and sandals around their necks, sometimes even covering their faces to keep warm. America’s goalkeeper Matt Turner had a scarf wrapped around his waist to keep his hands warm but removed it just minutes after the referee ran over to speak to him.

Because of form and injuries (Tyler Adams and Chris Richards), Berhalter came out with a different lineup on Wednesday, starting, such as Jordan Morris in front instead of Pulisic and alternating Kellyn Acosta in midfield. . From the very beginning, the United States took control.

In the eighth minute, Weston McKennie headed in an Acosta free kick – the first US goal of this qualifying campaign. This is also only the third time in 11 qualifying games that the United States has scored in the first half.

Then there were more goals like that: Another Acosta free-kick was taken by Walker Zimmerman in the 37th minute and Pulisic scored in the 67th minute from an Acosta corner.

After the game, the United States’ attention turned to the warming and subsequent games in March. Next month, the United States is scheduled to have tough matches against rivals Mexico (March 24) and Costa Rica (March 30), and will host Panama on March 27. Entering Wednesday, The United States drew with Mexico, with 18 points, for second place in the qualifying group.

Qatar is still very much within reach of the United States, but not quite yet. USA beat Honduras in bad World Cup Qualifier

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