USMNT vs. Honduras preview: Getting the band back together

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It’s been about 14 months since the United States last faced Honduras. That Gold Cup semifinal battle ended with the Yanks on top by a 3-1 score on a pair of goals and an assist from Landon Donovan.

And perhaps it’s fitting that Honduras will be the opponent for the first game since Donovan’s tribute game ended his tenure with the United States. Yes, the Landon Donovan USMNT era has been over for a bit, but we turn the page against an opponent he scored on six times.

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Aside from Donovan, there will be plenty different from that July 2013 game. Only three starters from that match — Matt Besler, Nick Rimando and Ale Bedoya — are on the roster this time around, and only five more — Chris Wondolowski, Mix Diskerud, Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson and Joe Corona — were with the team at the Gold Cup.

But that was the Gold Cup, and this will be more of a First XI USMNT squad going up against a Honduras team without some big names. Klinsmann called the band back together post-Ecuador, with Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi all in the fold (Klinsmann also called up Chicago’s Sean Johnson to replace Guzan).

On the other side of Tuesday’s match is Los Catrachos, fresh off a 2-0 loss to Mexico at Tuxtla Gutierrez on Thursday. Some big names are missing: Arnold Peralta (Rangers), Roger Espinoza (Wigan) and Wilson Palacios (Stoke City) among them.

[ GAME STORY: USMNT 1-1 Ecuador | U-23s fall in Brazil ]

Three-and-out in the group stage of the World Cup, Honduras went on to disappoint mightily in the Copa Centroamericana. After beating Belize 2-0 in their tournament opener, they were blanked by El Salvador and Guatemala.

Joe Gyau’s injury opens up a spot up front. Here’s how Klinsmann lined up against Ecuador, and his substitutes in parentheses.

Guzan

Chandler—Orozco (Gonzalez)—Brooks (Ream)—Garza

Yedlin—Bedoya (Morales)—Diskerud—Gyau (Wood)

Donovan (Corona)—Altidore (WondolowskI)

Corona moved to the midfield with Wood threatening up top, but four players who hit the pitch are back with their teams: Donovan, Gyau, Brooks and Guzan. Luis Gil also left.

With those six MLS vets arriving from their clubs, we’re likely in for a shake-up. Here’s a guess:

Rimando

Chandler—–Besler—–Ream—–Yedlin

Bradley—Jones

Zusi——Diskerud—–Dempsey

Altidore

Orozco could start again over Ream, and Garza could slide into a back position. Or could Klinsmann continue to implement Yedlin in an offensive spot? Bedoya and Corona could also start again, as Diskerud went the full 90 against Ecuador.

Prediction:

Score: United States 2, Honduras 1

Goal scorers: HON- Najar ; USA- Altidore, Bradley