The United States men’s national team never really looked threatened until late, but that was all Honduras needed in a sloppy 1-1 tie in Boca Raton on Tuesday night.
Jozy Altidore scored the States goal on a feed from Michael Bradley, and Jermaine Jones played 90 minutes at center back in the tie.
But set pieces, set pieces, set pieces: Maynor Figueroa rose above Jones in the 86th minute to head an equalizer home off a 25 yard free kick from Mario Martinez.
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Here’s what we were saying after a first half that saw Jones, Bradley and Altidore hook up for the period’s lone goal, a 10th minute tally that was Altidore’s 24th USMNT goal in his 74th cap.
But what Jurgen Klinsmann was asked about at halftime by ESPN was his thoughts on Jermaine Jones’ opening 45 minutes as a USMNT center back.
“He played like he was obviously a center back,” Klinsman said. “His experience and leadership is really important. He’s doing a good job in handling the back line but also connecting the midfield.”
And he wanted more from his offense.
“We need a second goal to put this game away and obviously it makes it easier to bring fresh players off the bench and develop a rhythm.”
The goal failed to materialize, and Honduras looked closer to threatening early in the second frame. Romell Quioto cut in on the wing and touched past Jones in the 56th minute, but his shot was well over the goal.
Jones also crushed Quioto on a kick to the knee that was a yellow and could’ve earned a shout for worse. After Quioto darted by him, Jones chopped out at the Honduran attacker’s leg.
Later, Jones made a pair of brilliant sliding tackle to dispossess Quioto inside the 18. Though he got all ball, it did tease fans as to whether his mile-a-moment, hair-trigger style can avoid danger as a back.
Mix Diskerud had his fair share of solid moments, including a dizzying dribble into the box before losing his hold on the ball. He continues to impress.
Nick Rimando had more than a few shaky moments between the sticks for the US, but the goal was a tough one to save. And he made a huge stop in the first minute of stoppage time to keep the score 1-1.
Joe Corona had an opportunity in the 90th minute with a 23-yard free kick and gave no one but the fans a chance to collect it.
USMNT: Rimando; Chandler, Jones, Besler (Ream, 64′), Garza; Zusi (Yedlin, 64′), Diskerud (Ibarra, 90′), Bradley (Morales, 75′), Bedoya (Corona, 81′); Dempsey (Wood, 64′), Altidore
Goal: Altidore (10′)