Honduras

Gyasi Zardes, Jozy Altidore & Bobby Wood, USMNT
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Hexagonal: USMNT to face Honduras at Avaya Stadium

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It had been rumored the San Jose would play host for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s next CONCACAF World Cup qualifier, and now it’s official.

[ MORE: David Villa talks to PST about MLS season, La Liga and more ]

U.S. Soccer has revealed that the USMNT will face off against Honduras on March 24 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose. The venue is the home of MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes.

“This game is very important, and we’ve chosen an outstanding venue in Avaya Stadium,” U.S. manager Bruce Arena said. “We think it’s a place where we will get fantastic support from the U.S. fans in a game that’s critical for our effort to qualify for Russia in 2018.”

After consecutive losses to Mexico and Costa Rica to open the final round of WCQ, the U.S. currently sits at the bottom of the Hexagonal table on zero points.

Arena’s team will have an opportunity to get back into the thick of things in March with the USMNT facing Panama four days after their encounter with Honduras.

Report: Houston close to landing Olympic hero Elis

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - AUGUST 13: ELIS Alberth of Honduras celebrates a scored goal against Republic of Korea during a match between Republic of Korea and Honduras as part of Men`s Football - Olympics at Mineirao Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)
Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images
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Do you like to be entertained? The Houston Dynamo may be booking you tickets for a summer of fun thanks to one electric young Honduran talent.

Reports claim that Alberth Elis could be headed to Major League Soccer with Wilmer Cabrera’s Dynamo. UPDATE: Elis has signed with Houston.

[ MORE: Payet winks at Arsenal ]

The 20-year-old attacker is currently property of Monterrey, and has 15 caps with three goals for Honduras. He had two goals and one assists in five matches during Honduras’ Olympic run.

The thought of him running wide could set the Dynamo forward corps up for some easier goals (maybe even rebirth Will Bruin).

He was even better in qualifying, as U.S. fans learned first hand.

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Jurgen Klinsmann believes fans, media have overreacted to latest USMNT losses

HAVANA, CUBA - OCTOBER 07:  Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of the United States looks on during the match against Cuba at Estadio Pedro Marrero on October 7, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann says he was left “angry” after traumatic World Cup qualifying losses to Mexico and Costa Rica to start Hexagonal play, but he also thinks that fan and media reactions have been harsh.

Klinsmann told Erik Kirschbaum of Reuters that “It’s important to put this in the right perspective” after a late 2-1 loss to Mexico and subsequent 4-0 drubbing in Costa Rica.

“We lost the two opening games and played the two best teams right away. We have eight more games to get the points needed to qualify. We’ve always reacted strongly when things were nerve-wracking. This team is always capable of reacting. We’ll correct this with the two games in March and we’ll take one game at a time from there to get our points. I’m 1,000 percent sure we’ll qualify.”

The U.S. has games against Honduras and Panama scheduled for March. Both those teams have wins thus far, with Honduras topping Trinidad & Tobago, while Panama defeated Honduras and drew with Mexico. The U.S. is currently bottom of the table, without a point and below Trinidad & Tobago with a worse goal difference.

Despite the dire situation, Klinsmann believes that the reaction to the two early losses, which included a number of calls for his job, were too critical.

“When things go slightly wrong, there are some people who come out and are ready to chop your head off,” the German told Reuters. “In the long run, that’s going to make the development of the team difficult. It’s important to stay calm and be patient.

“There are definitely issues to be addressed but there is no reason to exaggerate them or panic,” Klinsmann added. “I’ve been doing this for 35 years and there are always many reasons why certain things happen, both positively and negatively. It’s important to have the end result in mind. And the big picture is the overall development of the team in the four-year cycle between two World Cups. You have to be ready to take some setbacks during that phase.”

Despite Klinsmann’s calm demeanor, those setbacks suffered early in the Hex are indeed serious. Last time through, with teams looking to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, the third and final automatic qualifying spot was given to Honduras with 15 points. To match that this time around, the United States has eight matches to garner the at least four wins likely needed to reach that point total. Four years before that, the third and fourth places both finished on 16 points looking towards the 2010 World Cup, with Honduras earning the final automatic berth and Costa Rica needing to advance via the intercontinental playoff.

In addition, it seems Klinsmann may be molding his words to fit the occasion. In his biography, also written by Kirschbaum, Klinsmann said, “Our players who go to England, Germany, Spain, or France get used to the pressure and are used to getting criticized if they have a bad game. They hear about it from the local people in the supermarket or in the shops or on the streets. The pressure is everywhere. They’re used to having to justify themselves for their performances all the time.”

“If an MLS player has a bad game, we want them to be accountable for that,” Klinsmann continued in his biography. “We want them to be pestered by the people in the supermarket or the baker or the butcher because that’s the way people react to the game all over the world where soccer is the number one sport.”

CONCACAF: Panama upsets Honduras, Costa Rica wins at Trinidad

Panama’s Edgar Barcenas, right, and Honduras’ Cesar Oseguera fight for the ball during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Friday Nov. 11, 2016. Panama won 1-0. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco
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The United States and Mexico may be the focus of American soccer, but the other four CONCACAF squads vying for a spot in the 2018 World Cup got their Hexes started on Friday, too.

[ MORE: The evolution of Pulisic ]

A pair of MLS-based goal scorers helped Costa Rica avoid an upset, while a player from Sporting San Miguelito belted in a free kick for an early upset.

Honduras 0-1 Panama

Fidel Escobar (Sporting San Miguelito) made sure the Hex didn’t go more than a half-hour without providing the potential for a big upset, and then Panama held out for a massive three points on the road. Panama’s only win of the last Hex was at home to Honduras, and they’ve started this one with a statement.

Panama hosts Mexico next, while Honduras has to get off the mat and pick up three points when Trinidad and Tobago visits on Tuesday. Two home losses — really even just a lone home point — against two non-CONCACAF powers would be a horrendous hole.

Trinidad & Tobago 0-2 Costa Rica

Would we see another upset, this time at Port of Spain? Halftime saw the highly-favored visitors looking at goose eggs on both sides of the scoreboard.

Costa Rica went 5-0 at home in the Hex last cycle, but failed to win on the road. That changes this go-round, as veterans Christian Gamboa (Celtic) and Christian Bolanos (Vancouver Whitecaps) linked up for a tap-in finish in the 65th minute. New York City FC man Ronald Matarrita made it 2-0 in stoppage time.

STREAM: CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 11:  Francisco Calvo #2 of Costa Rica celebrates a goal by teammate Bryan Ruiz in the second half at BBVA Compass Stadium on July 11, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
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Looking for whet your appetite for the United States’ big World Cup qualifier against Mexico tonight?

Get a look at the opposition for the Yanks’ future Hex games starting at 3:35 p.m. EDT, as Panama, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, and Costa Rica take the field in the hopes of a run to Russia 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT-Mexico preview ]

It begins with Panama hosting Honduras, with the home side hoping to improve on a 2014 qualifying run that included just one win in the Hex.

Then the only team of the Hex who wasn’t there in 2014 qualifying, Trinidad and Tobago, will entertain world No. 18 Costa Rica.

Panama vs. Honduras — 3:35 p.m. EDT — STREAM HERE (Spanish)

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Costa Rica — 6 p.m. EDT — STREAM HERE (Spanish)