USMNT facing imposing climb to World Cup with Friday loss

Clint Dempsey and Christian Pulisic helped the United States get its World Cup qualifying campaign back on track with a 6-0 thrashing of Honduras.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the US moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four. Honduras was is in the 4th place with 3 points.No team has ever qualified for the game's biggest tournament after picking up just one point from their opening three Hexagonal matches.

Bruce Arena weathered the 2001 storm with the United States - consecutive defeats to Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica - and now he's in charge of steering the Americans out of the latest eddy. Costa Rica now leads the table with six points after two games. That follows Mexico playing Costa Rica. "I thought we were able to do that and obviously it ends with the fact that we were able to get a really good goal to go up 1-0". I'm just not clear whether he'll prefer Beasley's experience in this must-win game, or in the always tricky road game that is Tuesday's trip to Panama. "I believe it's important when you pull on the shirt, when that crest is over your heart, that you represent your country the right way", he said. It's hard to see Honduras scoring in this match, but at this point, nothing is off the table in a wacky cycle for the USA.

Michael Bradley will be the fulcrum in central midfield, and he could be joined either by LA Galaxy man Sebastian Lletget or Philadelphia Union star and USMNT mainstay Alejandro Bedoya. "It's no problem, we have done a good job". The U.S.is not mathematically in danger of missing the 2018 World Cup. yet. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League.

"We need to win". Where Klinsmann made the environment around the USMNT unnecessarily tense, Arena is a calming presence who seems nearly universally adored by his players. We know it's not up to Bruce. If there were two games left, I'd be concerned. I think we drew, but I can't remember for sure.

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He continued: "When you approach one game and are ten games in a row winning or in a good mood it is not special". Would I have been disappointed after going out of the Champions League? Yes. "It is a no-ending job".

Here are the key viewing details for the game and a closer look at how this vital encounter will likely pan out.

"The reality is simple. "(We have to) start with energy, be aggressive and put the game on our terms from the first minute. "It means that our margin for error is now very, very small", Bradley said.

As a result, 34-year-old veteran Clint Dempsey may find his way back into the Team USA starting XI. Not more than 18 seconds into the second half Pulisic scored a goal of his own as he made a great run down the right side and cooly slotted a goal pass the Honduran keeper. Either way, how Arena handles the situation at fullback will clue us into his thoughts on switching around players from position to position. That's also a possibility if they need to push for a goal, though they could also shift into a 433 (moving Najar to right back, Elis wide right, and bringing Lozano in for Beckeles).

One source with ties to the Honduran national team told Goal that Honduras' decision to train at Florida Gulf Coast University rather than Northern California was a cost-saving measure, and not a move forced by a lack of training fields in the San Jose area.


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