Five U.S. players, including two of the three most important difference-makers, will be on yellow card warning as they do the work in a few hours in San Pedro Sula.
The list: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson and Graham Zusi. If any of them collect a yellow card against Honduras, they will miss the team’s next World Cup qualifier, March 22 against Costa Rica.
It’s a tricky situation, because that March 22 match in Denver sets up as the most important U.S. match until June. That is no exaggeration.
As Richard Farley spelled out earlier in his excellent dissection of the points needed for safe passage into Brazil ’14, winning at home is always a primary target in World Cup qualifying.
Unless the United States can take six points from its first three road matches (including one at Mexico – yikes!), getting all three points in that match against Costa Rica is essential, if only to hold off any public panic.
A match in Denver without Edu or Zusi is manageable. Johnson’s absence would sting. Dempsey or Bradley being out would be a real body blow.
Five Hondurans are also on yellow card warning: Victor Bernárdez, Carlo Costly, Maynor Figueroa, Arnold Peralta and Mauricio Sabillon.