The US came into Avaya Stadium needing three points against Honduras to start moving back to the World Cup qualifying spots of the Hex. Before the match, there was much talk of injuries, a new manager, and a defensively stout and speedy counter attacking Honduras team raising if not doubts, concerns that the script would not have a happy ending for the USA.
By the end of the night, the US had routed Honduras 6-0 in a dominant performance in all facets of the game.
The US came out early filled with energy against a Honduras side lined up in a 5-4-1 built to absorb pressure and break with speed on the counter.
It only took five minutes for the US to get through the Honduras defense and find a goal when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball at the top of the 18 yard box, played a brilliant pass to Christian Pulisic who fired a shot that was deflected off of Honduras keeper Donis Escober into the path of Sebastian Lletget who coolly tapped the ball in to give the US a 1-0 lead.
Lletget gives the US a dream start! 1-0, 5th minute. pic.twitter.com/O9kugQe1yk— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) March 25, 2017
Less than fifteen minutes later, Sebastian Lletget was fouled and subbed out of the game for Alejandro Bedoya in the 18th minute.
Honduras seemed rattled by the goal and struggled to settle into the game. In the 27th minute, Michael Bradley received a pass after a re-start and saw nothing by empty green grass in front of him, ran a half-marathon across the field without a Honduran defender getting within two yards of him, and fired a shot from the Golden Gate Bridge into the back of the net.
Clint Dempsey is known for his aggressiveness, nose for goal, and penchant for trying... stuff. And try something he did in the 32nd minute when Pulisic found him making a run into the box and Deuce took a touch, fought off his defender, and put the US ahead 3-0.
US defenders finally had something to do as the half ended with two good chances for Honduras before the teams headed into the locker rooms.
Whatever Honduras manager Jorge Luis Pinto said at the half, it probably wasn’t ‘let the 18 year-old wonderkid score,’ but score he did. Pulisic’s goal came when Dempsey forced a turnover in the Honduras half that Jozy Altidore flicked into the path of the youngster who scored the fourth goal of the match 20 seconds into the half.
Things started to get out of hand in the 49th minute when Pulisic got his second assist and played a ball to Clint Dempsey for his second goal who rounded the Honduras keeper to make it 5-0.
Just minutes later, Clint Dempsey made a comeback by Honduras unlikely when he blasted a free kick into the net to earn his hat trick in the 54th minute making the score 6-0.
By the hour mark, Bruce Arena began bringing in subs to keep starters fresh for the team’s trip to Panama later in the week. A concerning moment for the US came in the 70th minute when John Brooks awkwardly cleared a ball and went down needing to be stretchered off and replaced by Tim Ream.
The game gives the US a much needed three points and a boost of confidence heading into the game against Panama next week.