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USMNT vs. Honduras, 2018 World Cup qualifying: Honduras scouting report

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Honduras looks to secure a vital 3 points against a struggling U.S. side.

Canada v Honduras: Group A - 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The United States will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2-0 loss to Costa Rica when it takes on Honduras on Tuesday in San Pedro Sula. The USMNT holds a commanding 16-4-4 all-time record against Los Catrachos, but lost its last away match to Honduras 2-1 in 2013. Honduras enters the match with a 2-2-1 record in its last five matches, including a 2-1 away victory against Trinidad and Tobago on Friday.

Roster

Goalkeepers (3): Ricardo Canales (Vida), Donis Escober (Olimpia), Luis López (Real España)

Defenders (8): Ever Alvarado (Olimpia), Bryan Beckeles (Necaxa), Felix Crisanto (Motagua), Henry Figueroa (Motagua), Maynor Figueroa (FC Dallas), Jhonny Leverón (Marathón), Jhonny Palacios (Olimpia), Carlos Sánchez (Honduras Progreso)

Midfielders (10): Bryan Acosta (Tenerife), Jorge Claros (Real España), Juan Ángel Delgado (Honduras Progreso) Carlos Discua (Motagua), Oscar Boniek García (Houston Dynamo) Alexander López (Olimpia), Alfredo Mejía (Xanthi), Oliver Morazán (Olimpia), Esdras Padilla (Juticalpa) Sergio Peña (Real Sociedad)

Forwards (7): Carlo Costly (Olimpia), Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Hernández (Unattached) Ovidio Lanza (Juticalpa) Anthony Lozano (Barcelona B), Rony Martínez (Baoding Rongda), Romell Quioto (Houston Dynamo)

Honduras manager Jorge Luis Pinto is known to experiment with a variety of formations, however I believe he will use a 4-4-2 against the United States.

Projected Lineup

Luis Lopez will get the nod in goal. Lopez is an average CONCACAF goalkeeper who lacks the athleticism needed to make spectacular saves. The defense is led by veteran captain Maynor Figueroa. Figueroa excels at intercepting passes and provides important leadership. He is rather undisciplined, accruing 8 eight yellow cards in just 19 MLS appearances this season. He will be partnered by Henry Figueroa. Figueroa is very quick, but struggles with his positioning at times.

The team will be without usual right back Emilio Izaguirre, who was sent off against Trinidad and Tobago. Johnny Palacios is likely to replace Izaguirre. Palacios is a good 1 v. 1 defender, but is a natural centerback who lacks pace. Felix Crisanto is expected to start at left back. Crisanto is a strong and physical defender who will look to get forward to join the attack.

Defensive midfielder Jorge Claros will be key to connecting the Honduran defense to the midfield. Claros is a good distributor and is excellent at intercepting passes. Alfredo Mejia will likely partner Claros in the center of pitch. Mejia is a hard tackling midfielder with impressive speed. His greatest weakness is his technical ability.

Alexander Lopez is projected to start at right wing. Lopez scored the opening goal against T&T. His pinpoint passing creates many opportunities in the final third. While Lopez is a potent attacking threat, he doesn’t track back enough to support his defenders. Carlos Discua has a good chance to feature on the left. Discua is a skilled dribbler and is always a threat to cut in from the wing and score.

Alberth Elis is expected to start up top. He scored the game winner against T&T and has been in decent form for the Houston Dynamo (7 goals and 4 assists in 19 appearances). Elis is a good passer and is lethal inside the box. One thing he struggles with is hold up play. Elis should be partnered by Romell Quioto or Anthony Lozano. Look for Quioto to get the start. He has excellent chemistry with Elis, as they are teammates on the Houston Dynamo. Quioto has great speed and is known to score from distance. He lacks Elis’s passing ability and needs to improve on his positioning.

The USMNT may be the better team on paper, but they will face a physical Honduras side in a hostile environment. Both teams need a victory, which should lead to an entertaining match. I’m predicting that the game ends in a 1-1 draw marred by questionable refereeing.