The US Men’s National Team took on Honduras in St. Paul, Minnesota in February in a match that was scheduled on purposed by the US Soccer Federation there. Presumably, the cold weather was meant to give an edge to the Americans, and wasn’t just a gimmick or way to keep fans of the away team from going to the match, a team whose edge is supposed to be having a bunch of guys playing in the Champions League. To top it all off, Winter Storm Landon is battering much of the midwest, a sign that was either the best or worst kind of karma for the team, at least they didn’t hold it at a baseball stadium.
The USA lined up in its now familiar 4-3-3. With Tyler Adams picking up an injury against Canada, Kellyn Acosta stepped into midfield while Luca de la Torre made the XI over Yunus Musah. Tim Weah made his return to the team while Jordan Morris got the start over Christian Pulisic and Brenden Aaronson.
Our guys.— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) February 2, 2022
Honduras lined up in a 4-4-2 with a squad largely based in the domestic league with a few names recognizable to those who follow MLS and the Super League Greece 2.
In the end, the Americans would be tasting a Juicy Lucy while Honduras would be picking at a mysterious Hotdish wondering why parts of it were grey. Goals from Weston McKennie, Walker Zimmerman, and Christian Pulisic would win the day, a result that in no way validates the idea of playing a game in Minnesota in February.
Gifs of a soccer game played in the Taiga, something US Soccer should probably be embarrassed about doing
The US pretty well established domination in possession and the game settled into a predictable showcase of Honduras settling into a defensive posture with the Americans trying to break them down. Luckily it wouldn’t take long for that to happen unlike nearly every other game the USMNT has played in qualification.
A set piece found Weston McKennie and the midfielder sent a glancing header into the net to give the USMNT a 1-0 lead in the 8th minute.
Whether it was confidence because of the quality opposition or the quasi-must win nature of the match, the USMNT played with intensity and passed the ball forward rather than sideways. It was a nice change over the past two games, but also may have had to do with Honduras having 38 year-old Maynor Figueroa starting next to Wisdom Quaye, who was getting his first cap, on the field.
In the 32nd minute Honduran midfielder Diego Rodriguez needed medical attention so all the players took a hot cocoa break and Matt Turner huddled under a blanket trying to avoid hypothermic ataxia during a soccer game.
Then the Americans scored again when a ball fell to Walker Zimmerman on a set piece. WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS FOOTAGE OF ATROCIOUS DEFENDING, VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED.
WHO NEEDS CHRIS HEMSWORTH? AMERICA HAS WALKER ZIMMERMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A VAR check would confirm the goal and the USA would comfortably head into the half ahead 2-0. The second 45 began with Honduras making three changes including bringing Edrick Menjívar in at goal. There was plenty more confident play from the Americans to begin the half and it looked as if the adjustment at the break was to try and pin Honduras back more and take more shots. It seemed to work as Menjívar was tested quite often, but all of the lines came out of the ice with no fish on the hook.
Gregg Berhalter made a change just after the hour mark as Christian Pulisic came on for Jordan Morris. Two minutes later he would score on a set piece and didn’t look as if he even had to bother moving to put into the net.
In the 75th minute more subs would come on as Brenden Aaronson and Jesus Ferreira entered for Tim Weah and Pepi. It would be another night of missed chances for Pepi as he was solid, but his best opportunity of the night ended up being pushed wide. Just before the 80th minute, Aaronson gathered a ball on the outside of the 18 yard box and drove to the byline where he was... perhaps grazed down. There were shouts for a penalty but they were given the cold shoulder.
Gregg Berhalter even managed to have a little fun while the game was going on in the 82nd minute, hopefully this doesn’t cause some kind of insufferable discourse.
Weston McKennie came off in the 84th minute as Cristian Roldan stepped in with the game securely in hand. The Americans would almost score again as a breakaway led to four or five shots being blocked by an array of Honduran players - eventually the ball did go in the net but an offside was ruled in the build up. That would be the last thing of note in the game as it came to an end with a score of 3-0.