USMNT vs Honduras final score: Yanks bounce back with set-piece dominance
The USMNT scored three goals from set-pieces to beat Honduras 3-0 and take another giant step toward 2022 World Cup qualification on Wednesday.
[ MORE: Player ratings | Full USMNT World Cup qualifying schedule ]
The temperature at kickoff was 3ºF at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota.
USMNT vs Honduras final score, stats
Final score: USA 3, Honduras 0
Goal scorers: USA (McKennie 8', Zimmerman 37', Pulisic 67'), Honduras (None)
Shot attempts: USA 16, Honduras 2
Shots on goal: USA 8, Honduras 0
Possession: USA 73%, Honduras 27%
Three things we learned from USMNT vs Honduras
1. Stay the course, qualify for the World Cup: Wednesday was a must-win game for the USMNT, in the sense that losing or drawing it would have been far more detrimental to their cause than winning did to help. 21 points from 11 games has the USMNT on track to qualify for this
summer’s winter’s tournament in Qatar. They will have their first opportunity to clinch a top-three or -four place with a victory over Mexico next time out (and some helpful results elsewhere in CONCACAF).
2. Early goal destroys Honduras’ game plan: For seven semi-frustrating minutes, Honduras came out in an incredibly deep bunker with all 11 men oftentimes squeezed within 40 yards of their goal. The USMNT struggled to get the ball into the final third without an inch of free space in the channels or between the lines. It looked a lot like the underwhelming win over El Salvador and the disappointing defeat to Canada, with one very important exception: an early goal, via set-piece, to force Honduras out of their shell.
3. Early goal plays right into USMNT hands: In dropping Christian Pulisic to the bench, Berhalter loaded up on notoriously mobile and athletic wide attacking threats (Antonee Robinson and Reggie Cannon at full back, Timothy Weah and Jordan Morris up top). The plan was, presumably, to beat the bunker by creating two-on-ones out wide, crossing the ball into the box and finishing one or two chaotic chances. Playing from ahead, the USMNT was then able to attack the open field as Honduras began to chase the game, and the Yanks were a consistent threat for the next 80 minutes.
Man of the Match: Weston McKennie - Throw McKennie’s name into the hotly contested “Who’s the best/most talented/most impactful/most important player on the USMNT?” conversation. A sensational performance to cap off an already-solid camp for the 23-year-old Juventus midfielder.
Weston McKennie heads home USMNT opener (goal video)
Incredibly, McKennie’s 8th-minute header was the USMNT’s first goal scored from a set piece during 2022 World Cup qualifying (11th game, out of 14).