Saturday, June 6, 2009

USA 2 Honduras 1, Argentina 1 Colombia 0 (and the goals from Costa Rica vs USA)

First, let's get the video from Costa Rica's humiliation of the USA from Wednesday out of the way:

In Buenos Aires, Argentina bounced back after having lost to Bolivia in their last World Cup Qualifier 6-1 by beating Colombia 1-0. From all reports this was not the prettiest of games, and while they won, Los Albicelestes were not all that convincing. In fact, coach Maradona had some harsh words for his players regarding their play in the first half.

Defender Daniel Diaz scored the lone goal early in the second half. Amazingly, there's already a video of the goal available. While the video from the Costa Rica/USA game was in Spanish, this one's in English. Go figure...

The US also rebounded from losing their previous game by beating Honduras 2-1 in Chicago. Early on it looked like it might be a repeat of the Costa Rica debacle when Carlos Costly scored during the 5th minute after Clint Dempsey gave the ball away. In fact, I'd say that if Honduras had a better team we could well have seen just that, but the US held on during the first half, playing slightly better than they did in Costa Rica, but not much. There were plenty of mistakes that I'd expect from a High School team, but not a National side.

The worst was the freekick that landed right on the feet of a wide open Bocanegra in side the box, only for him to stand there looking like a deer with headlights shining in his eyes while the ball bounced harmlessly off his legs.

During the dieing moments of the first half Honduras' Mario Besta handled the ball in his area to give the USA a penalty. Noel Valladares dove the right way, but Landon Donovan placed a hard shot into the top of the net.

During the second half the USA played better, their passes were better, into space rather than directly at the feet of their intended target... well, for the most part anyway. They are still a far way from being a team that, in my opinion, deserve to be a part of the biggest stage that futbol has to offer.

The winning goal came off a Donovan corner that went to Dempsey, who then headed the ball towards the middle where Bocanegra made no mistake with a diving header. The win gave the USA a record of 43 wins 10 draws in it's last 53 home World Cup Qualifiers.

Up next for the USA is Mexico, at the Azteca. Normally Mexico are nearly unbeatable in the Mexico City stadium, but considering the way they're playing at the moment there might just be a chance, provided the US team can start playing as well as they are capable of.

Mexico are 1-0-3 after losing to El Salvador 2-1 tonight.

Costa Rica are the team of the moment, leading the final group standings with 12 points from 5 games after defeating Trinidad and Tobago 3-2. USA are second with 10 points.

No league games in Argentina this week, as they don't play during International dates. Next week Newell's faces Velez Sarsfield away. Hopefully we can give Huracán the chance to pass them in the race for the Clausura.

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