A game that at the outset was just hard to watch since it was closed circuit and you had to go to a bar or restaurant to watch it, turned out to be one of the best qualifying matches in some time.
I don't think people realize the importance of this win, if the United States had to go into the last match having to win to qualify, anything could have happened. Think if the U.S. failed to qualify, what a disaster that would be in what is a new surging positive perspective of the sport with the MLS gaining ground and the U.S. coming off a successful Confederations Cup.
How much money down the drain or lost if they don’t qualify? Not need to worry though, the United States is through.
The U.S. were fortunate to win this match, a missed penalty by Pavon, although a tough hand ball call to make on Holden, as it was unintentional, and then a close range header at the very end that was missed by again, Pavon.
The game was well within reach for Honduras. The game had everything, especially the second half, when both teams found more space. The difference in the game was Landon Donvoan, who setup Convey for the second goal and then maybe getting some free kick lessons from Beckham, as his kick and enough swerve and bend to pick out the upper corner and win the game.
I went over to Roccapulco in the Mission to catch the game. There was a line out the door when I arrived and nearly everyone was wearing a Honduras jersey. They were charging $15 to see the game. A few burly security guards patted you down when you entered the discotheque/bar/restaurant. There must have been a couple thousand people in the joint. I was one of maybe ten, let's say United States fans.
All heads were turned to three big screen TVs up on the walls. Coronas and Tecates were in hand and platters of chips and dip along with the buckets of beer were carried in and out of the tables that lined the floor. On the sides of the room stairs leading up to a balcony area where full, it was like a concert.
The place went nuts when Honduras scored, spraying beer and jumping up and down. You'd look over and there would be a mom with her little one wrapped up in her arms and then on the other side there'd be people blowing horns and shouting at the TV. It was a family affair. It was a patriotic affair.
With the U.S. down 1 nil I was saying to myself why in the world did Bob Bradley pick Conor Casey? He’s slow and looks clumsy. I understood the idea that he was big and would create problems for the Hondurans in the back, but he also seemed slow and not very crafty. I thought Bradley had to bring on Jozy. I then I also got to thinking about Bob Bradley, and why and how he become the national team’s coach. Was he the right choice? Soccer is funny that way though, thirty minutes from that point the game had turned in the United State’s favor and they were headed to the World Cup in South Africa. Casey and Bradley were the exactly right choices. And it looks like Casey will be going to South Africa, but don’t think he’ll play.
When the U.S. went up 3-1 some people started to leave, but there was much more action ahead and it was almost sad to see so many people come out to root for their team and their country and to leave unhappy. They should be proud. It was a hell of a game and a wonderful atmosphere to see a game. Honduras still has hope. The U.S can help them if they beat Costa Rica on the final day of World Cup qualifying.
Honduras has some special players, Julio Leon, the number ten, was a handful for the U.S. team. He is an example of a creative type of player that the U.S. doesn’t really have. However, there are a few U.S. players that could take that role, Donovan of course, if he keeps playing so well, and then Holden and Feilhaber. When Benny Feilhaber came on all of a sudden the U.S. could keep the ball. I think Bradley is going to have to keep him on the field.