Jerry Bengtson

Honduras squad falling apart ahead of clash with U.S.


When the U.S. Men’s National Team plays Honduras in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in Salt Lake City next Tuesday, the away side will be much more patchwork than originally thought.

It was already known that Honduran center back Muma Bernardez would be suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

This morning, they’re dropping like flies.

It’s come out that Bernardez’s defensive partner Maynor Figueroa will miss the clash due to injury, per Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy:

The Figueroa injury isn’t any real surprise – he hasn’t featured in months since injuring his groin in April playing for Wigan.

However, the surprises are coming. Telemundo’s Andres Cantor is reporting via Twitter that Revolutions striker Jerry Bengtson has left the team for undisclosed reasons and will not take part in the U.S. match:

A report on has suggested Bengtson was so furious at being left out of the team’s 2-0 win over Jamaica that he had a spat with manager Luis Fernando Suarez, and then left the team on his own for Boston when the rest of the squad made a flight connection in Houston on their way to Salt Lake City.

Finally, Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated has reported that Houston Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia could also miss the match with an injury:

Bernardez, Bengston, and Boniek Garcia all started in the 1-0 loss to Costa Rica last Saturday.  Bengtson, however, did not play in their 2-0 win over Jamaica on Tuesday, while Boniek Garcia grabbed both goals. Bengtson was the only Honduran to score when they last faced the United States, a 2-1 victory for the Stars and Stripes.

The U.S. team shouldn’t really make too many changes if any regarding this news, but it’s a positive for the home side ahead of a hugely important match.

Three points would give the U.S. nine of a possible nine points during this round of qualification matches and would put them in an absolutely wonderful position atop the hexagonal group with almost guaranteed qualification only 4 matches from the finish.

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.