It took just two matches of 2022 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for United States men’s national team fans to stop assuming class would win out, and it’ll be full-blown panic stations if the team underwhelms again come Wednesday night in Honduras.
Despite an overwhelming talent advantage over hosts El Salvador on Thursday and a lesser advantage over visitors Canada on Sunday, the USMNT has just one goal and two points 1/7th of the way through the Octagonal.
Part of that can boiled down to absences and bad bounces, of course, but this was supposed to be a team like some of its predecessors who challenged Mexico for the top spot in the group.
It still can and probably will be, but vibes are low considering disjointed and often rudderless performances in possession-heavy but sloppy draws.
How to watch USMNT and CONCACAF World Cup qualifying
CONCACAF World Cup qualifying: NBC’s Telemundo Deportes and Universo + CBS, FoxSports.com, FS1, TUDN
Wednesday Sept. 8
Canada vs El Salvador– 7:30pm ET – NBC’s Telemundo Deportes App
Costa Rica vs Jamaica — 9:00pm ET – NBC’s Telemundo Deportes App
Panama vs Mexico — 8:05pm ET – NBC’s Telemundo Deportes and Universo
Honduras vs USMNT — 10:30pm ET – NBC’s Telemundo Deportes and Universo
USMNT lineup in Honduras
It looks like three at the back for Gregg Berhalter, with Miles Robinson, John Brooks, and Mark McKenzie in the lineup in front of Matt Turner.
James Sands is also starting along with George Bello. Tyler Adams and Kellyn Acosta will be in the midfield.
Christian Pulisic captains the side and Ricardo Pepi and Josh Sargent start as forwards.
That leaves some serious talent on the bench in Antonee Robinson, Brenden Aaronson, and Jordan Pefok amongst others. Walker Zimmerman, Tim Ream, and Sebastian Lletget represent significant experience left amongst the substitutes.
Big one tonight. 😤
Here are your #USMNT Starters.
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) September 9, 2021
Honduras vs USMNT preview, history in World Cup qualifying
Now comes Honduras away on Wednesday, a qualifier that’s come to mean the collection of bruises and ankle sprains as much as the gathering of points.
The U.S. has still been relatively successful against Los Catrachos in World Cup qualifying, but are looking for their first away win in the last three visits to San Pedro Sula. The Yanks drew 1-1 in 2017 and lost 2-1 in 2013, before that winning three in-a-row but also losing a home qualifier in Sept. 2001.
All that said, we’ve already gone over the terrific turnover between even 2017’s team and this roster, so history doesn’t have to be a guide. And this Honduras team has just drawn El Salvador 0-0 away and Canada 1-1 away, a slight advantage over the U.S. given the Yanks home draw with Canada.
Of course, a win in Honduras flips that on its ear.
[ MORE: McKennie dropped for team violation ]
The U.S. beat Honduras 1-0 in the Nations League semifinal on U.S. soil earlier this summer, but the Yanks will again be without Weston McKennie after the midfielder was sent home for a team violation.
Honduras is led by Fabian Coito, who established himself as a winner with Uruguay’s U-17 and U-20 teams and was interim manager for the senior team before heading to Central America.
Coito looks to longtime captain Maynor Figueroa — yes he still plays — and new blood hardly dots the roster as familiar names like Romell Quioto, Anthony Lozano, Bryan Acosta, Boniek Garcia, and Andy Najar are still in the team.
Honduras vs USMNT odds, prediction (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
The USMNT is a significant favorite to win at San Pedro Sula, a U.S. win paying -189 while a draw nets +290. If Honduras were to win it would pay +550.
We’re going to give this terrific batch of U.S. talent — yes, shorthanded as it is — the benefit of the doubt and an expected big release. Pulisic drives the bus and can safely leave the pitch after an hour en route to Honduras 0-2 USMNT.
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How to watch Honduras vs USMNT in World Cup qualifying
Kickoff: 10:30pm ET Wednesday
Stream: Paramount+, Telemundo Deportes