For the fourth straight match, Jozy Altidore has scored a goal for the United States of America’s mens soccer team. Playing at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, the United States was able to beat Honduras 1-0 in a World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday.
Over 20,000 fans entered the stadium to watch the United States earn their third straight win, and second straight shut out as they remained atop the six team CONCACAF region of qualifying. Home field advantage has been a major part of the United States World Cup qualifiers for a long time now. The last team to beat the United States at home in a World Cup qualifyer was the very Honduras team they defeated last night, but that game took place in 2001. The United States has since won or tied 25 straight in their home land.
The top three teams from the CONCACAF region will receive automatic bids into the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth place qualifier will have to earn their way to soccer’s biggest stage by defeating New Zealand in an elimination match.
Honduras has a record of 2-3-1 to this point in the qualifying process, and will have to start earning points more consistently if it hopes to move on from the qualifying stage. They gave the United States a tough run yesterday, holding off the American offense until the 73rd minute of play. The team had several near misses before that point, but a tough Honduran defense prevented the ball from finding the back of the net until Jozy Altidore put it past the keeper with just over fifteen minutes left to play.
Physical, hard nosed defense defined the first half. Scoring chances were few and far between, however the Hondurans almost broke through just before half time. Tim Howard made a brilliant save that reminded the world why he is one of the premier goal keepers, diving to stop a powerful right foot shot launched by Andy Najar.
The save by Howard answered a quality save by Honduras’ goal keeper Noel Valladares, who deflected a shot by Eddie Johnson in the 17th minute. Johnson took a cross from Fabian Johnson and got off a decent look, however Valladares was able to deflect the ball harmlessly away and keep the score tied.
Altidore was finally able to break through the scoreless tie with a header in the second half. An increase in offensive pressure by the United States entering the second half of play in their World Cup qualifier against Honduras proved to be the key to victory when Jozy Altidore scored his fourth goal in as many matches for the Americans.
Finally emerging as the scoring threat that the United States has believed he would become for several years now, Altidore has been the star of this team recently. United States Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann praised the developments and play Altidore has displayed of late in an interview with reporters.“We always told him, from a coaching perspective, that it takes a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of adjustment, it takes the right moment to be there, it takes the hunger. The energy he has put in the last four or five games has been tremendous. It’s not only that he scored those goals, the work he does for the team is awesome.”
Looking to be in prime position to qualify for the World Cup after defeating Honduras, the United States will have an opportunity to better their last effort. The previous World Cup saw the Americans drop in the opening round of the elimination stage, a mark they certainly will hope to better should they take the field in Brazil next year.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express