It may not have been the most convincing performance but the defending champions did manage to get their Gold Cup campaign off to a good start. The United States did the job and managed a 2-1 win over Honduras to jump to the top of Group A at Toyota Stadium on Tuesday Night.
Honduras had the better chances in the early stages as they were attacking the United States well. Both Anthony Lozano and Bryan Acosta had their early chances but were denied by the USA defense which kept them out.
MLS’ Andy Najar could well have had had the best early chance in the 6th minute after Mario Martinez found him on the edge of the area. Najar let rip a powerful shot but Brad Guzan made the save, sending it out for a corner.
That missed opportunity seemed to wake up the United States players as they started to look dangerous with Timothy Chandler being a key outlet. But too often the USA players just could not stay onside with both Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore being denied by the linesman’s flag.
After the tenth minute the match evened out, but not in a dull way, both sides fought for and managed to create chances. Soon enough the momentum started to swing the USA’s way and they were looking dangerous.
In the 25th minute Altidore found just enough space to get a shot away from close range but his effort was saved, going out for a corner. That corner proved vital as it was sent in and found former captain Clint Dempsey who headed it home, giving the USA a vital lead.
Following the goal the United States kept up the momentum and in the 31st minute they could well have doubled their lead. Fabian Johnson sent a ball through to DeAndre Yedlin who was able to get a shot away which was well saved by the goalkeeper.
In the final five minutes of the half Honduras were looking dangerous with Mario Martinez setting up two chances. Both of those chances were too high before Andy Najar had two late chances in the half as he sent both over the bar, keeping it 1-0 at the break.
The early stages of the second half saw the United States see plenty of the ball but they just could not get out of the midfield. It was still a solid performance from the United States and their next best chance came in the 64th minute.
That chance was a set piece and it worked perfectly with two of their stars combining well to double the USA lead. Michael Bradley sent in a perfect ball for Dempsey who was able to head it home and give USA a 2-0 lead.
But Honduras came back and just five minutes later they were able to pull the goal back that they so deserved. Wilmer Crisanto did well to find Carlos Disca who got the shot away well to pull a goal back and set up a tense final 20 minutes.
The possession in the final stages was all with Honduras as they almost constantly attacked the United States. In the final ten minutes Eddie Hernandez had two chances but missed both, first off a cross from Romell Quioto and the second from outside the box, letting USA off the hook.
There was one last chance for Honduras coming in stoppage time after Bryan Acosta headed the ball for Maynor Figueroa who sent his effort over the bar. It was that wayward shooting that decided the match as the USA held on for the 2-1 win.