After draw with Honduras, US Men’s National Team still has work to do to qualify for the World Cup


Bobby Wood USMNT
Bobby Wood saved the U.S.
from a terrible loss.

AP Photo/Rebecca
Blackwell


It was another tense evening for the United States Men’s National
Team, but thanks to a late equalizer from Bobby Wood, it appears
that the Americans have done enough to keep their World Cup hopes
alive.

After Friday’s loss to Costa Rica, the Americans had little room
for error against Honduras. Some adjustments were made to
the starting lineup — most notably Clint Dempsey back in his
starting slot and goalie Brad Guzan taking over between the posts
after Tim Howard’s less-than-admirable performance during their
last match.

For the majority of the game, fans of the Americans were biting
their nails in fear. Honduras opened the scoring thanks
to another disappointing defensive lapse. After going down
early, Dempsey, Pulisic, and the rest of the USMNT’s offensive
front looked uninspired throughout the game.

Thankfully, Bobby Wood broke through in the 85th minute, finding
an equalizer in the messy aftermath of a free kick.

The draw gave the USMNT a point in the fifth round of qualifying,
also known as “The Hex,” but the team still moved down to fourth
in the table after Panama took three points
against Trinidad and Tobago. Thankfully, both Panama
and Honduras have tough tests remaining in the final two
games of Hex play, while the Americans have a relatively easy
schedule ahead by comparison. With two games to go, ESPN gives
the USMNT a 70% chance to qualify.

While the Americans can exhale a bit thanks to Bobby Wood,
there’s still work to be done in order to make the World Cup, and
even more adjustments to make if the team has any hopes of making
any sort of showing in Russia should they qualify.

Wins against Panama and Tinidad and Tobago to finish out
their Hex schedule would put them through, and even with a draw
against Panama the Americans could still qualify through a
play-in game against another confederation. But the fact that the
team has to work this hard and go through this many scares on the
path to qualification is troubling.

With a combination of young talent like wunderkind Christian
Pulisic as well as proven, aging heroes of American soccer
including Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and Tim Howard, many
hoped 2018 would be the year the USMNT finally broke through to
make it past a quarterfinal. As it stands, the Americans have
tons of adjustments to make it there, let alone be considered a
threat against the world powers of soccer.

For now, the team needs to get to preparing for their final two
games of the Hex, and hopefully show some more inspired play than
we’ve seen in the past year.

The USMNT will take on Panama in another critical match in
Orlando on October 6. 

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