Honduras rallies to beat U.S. 2-1 in World Cup qualifier
BY Associated Press
Thursday, February 07, 2013
2/07/13 at 6:39 AM
A young American defense came apart on a hot, tropical afternoon, and the United States opened the final round of World Cup qualifying with a loss for the first time in 24 years.
Jerry Bengtson took advantage of a defensive mix-up to score the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, and Honduras rallied to beat the United States 2-1 at San Pedro Sula.
"They were a much better team than us today. We did look flat," American goalkeeper Tim Howard said.
Clint Dempsey put the U.S. ahead in the 36th minute with an impressive volley, but the Americans gave up the lead when Juan Carlos Garcia scored with a bicycle kick in the 40th that should make the highlight reels of the best goals of 2013.
Bengtson, who plays for Major League Soccer's New England Revolution, scored the winner when defender Geoff Cameron and Howard both went for a pass by Maynor Figueroa to Oscar Boniek Garcia. That allowed Garcia to tap the ball across to Bengtson for a shot into an open net, and Omar Gonzalez was too late to challenge him.
"It was definitely a dagger. I didn't see that coming," said Gonzalez, who started in place of longtime captain Carlos Bocanegra. "I didn't see the guy on the back post. Maybe I should have looked over my shoulder and saw him quicker."
The game marked a generational change for the U.S. defense, with right back Timmy Chandler (age 22) making his competitive debut and ending his eligibility to play for Germany. Gonzalez (24) and Cameron (27) paired together in central defense for the first time, and Fabian Johnson (25) was at left back.
Gonzalez had a chance to redeem himself, getting his head on a corner kick by Graham Zusi in the final seconds of stoppage time. But his shot from the 6-yard box sailed well above the crossbar.
"Overall, there were too many mistakes done and too many players today just didn't reach their usual potential," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.
Original Print Headline: Honduras rallies to defeat U.S., 2-1