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Concacaf Nations League Semi-Final: USA 1-0 Honduras - A late goal sends the Americans to the final

There are lots of ways to describe this game, but it was a win and that’s really what matters

Honduras v United States: Semifinals - CONCACAF Nations League Finals Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National soccer Team took on Honduras in the first competitive action for the Americans this decade. It was a chance for the squad with an average age of 23 years, 259 days to get revenge on the nation that eliminated the actual U-23 team from the Olympics. In the end, Honduras did their best to get in the American’s heads and roll around on the ground a lot, but the USA kept pushing for a goal and found one at the death to go onto the final.

For the US, the team lined up in a 4-3-3 and it was a solid if not frustrating showing for the team. The Americans tried to work possession and build their attack, but it was difficult to establish a rhythm or even play actual soccer for more than a few minutes at a time. The team did well to keep their heads and eventually pull out the win.

Honduras, my goodness, the team put on a show, an excrement show. The team seemed dead set on making as much of a mess of the game as they could, throwing the US off their plan, and trying to exploit a mismatch between Alberth Elis and Sergino Dest. It worked for just under 90 minutes.

A few highlights but mostly descriptions of fights and faking injuries

Things were going about as expected for the USMNT to start the game. There was a fight after 20 seconds and then Honduras proceeded to sit back in well organized banks of 4 and hope Alberth Elis could do something great and the Stars and Stripes were seeing most of the ball and trying to break them down. And it was a little tricky BUT GIO REYNA DRIBBLED PAST LIKE FOUR GUYS but then pushed his shot just wide.

In the 27th minute Honduras almost scored but Josh Sargent saved Zack Steffen’s bacon and cleared the ball off of the line when it seemed sure to go in and then there was almost a fist fight.

The fist fighting would be a theme as it seemed like Honduras was specifically targeting John Brooks for the kind of shenanigans that La H is celebrated for. Elis tried to start something with him early, Anthony Lozano got in his face, or chest since Brooks has a good six inches on him, and it went on. Luckily, the big center back didn’t bite and kept cool.

The US had another chance with some nice interplay on the left ending Pulisic charging into the 18, but the American sent his shot into the midsection of Luis Lopez. Honduras almost pulled ahead in the 45th minute when Elis sent a cutback into the box that was snuffed out by Steffen, but Los Catrachos were not awed or really being dominated by the Stars and Stripes and the half ended with zero goals and two fights.

The second half began and Honduras almost immediately started time wasting. It was a truly breathtaking display of guys falling down, trainers checking on them, players being stretched by their teammates, trainers rubbing mystery balm on their calves, and the occasional stretcher team bringing someone off the field. It was less an ordure house and more a feces mansion, a true monument to the craft. I think they somehow made nine substitutions.

Chances by Sargent and McKennie were the main scoring threats for the USA as Honduras continued to exploit what seemed like a mismatch on between left winger Elis and right back Sergino Dest. Still, neither team’s tactics were successful as an opening goal was still wanting.

In the 78th minute three subs would come on for the US as Brenden Aaronson, Reggie Cannon, and Jordan Siebatcheu came on for Gio Reyna, Antonee Robinson, and Josh Sargent respectively. Four minutes later Jackson Yueill came off for Kellyn Acosta.

It seemed like Honduras’ ploy to shorten the game to 78 minutes and play for pens was working until the 89th minute when a goal was scored by AMERICAN HERO THEOSON JORDAN SIEBATCHEU - HONDURAS IF YOU ARE GOING TO BUILD A HOUSE OUT OF FECULENCE, DON’T FORGET TO PUT THE ROOF ON IT.

Suddenly Honduras was able to run and stand up and play soccer like professionals in peak physical conditions and drove for an equalizer. Another sub was made as Matt Miazga came on for Pulisic and the Stars and Stripes saw out the game by a score of 1-0.

Some observations

The team has a lot of talent, whatever tactics Berhalter wants to do the players can play. The roster seems to be pretty well rounded with a mix of players that have experience in big games and players that are at various stages in their career. That said, there might be two elements missing: a player or two with an edge and experience with Concacafing - both giving and receiving Concacaf.

Steffen is kinda shaky in goal. He went on a journey in the play that Sargent made the goal goal line clearance on and made a few other decisions like blocking shots rather than catching them that just seem like they invite trouble.

The team really misses Tyler Adams as the no. 6, the drop off from him to Yueill and Acosta is pronounced as Honduras didn’t have too much trouble moving the ball past the American defensive mids.