Arena makes 7 lineup changes in tropical heat of Honduras


Wiping sweat from his forehead under a broiling sun even before warming up, Tim Howard said he understands the hard position the United States faces going into Tuesday afternoon's World Cup qualifier against Honduras. Bobby Wood scored in the 85th minute for the US, giving the Americans a crucial leg up on its qualifying chances.

The road draw was the bare minimum the US needed on Tuesday, and as much as you'll hear about how CONCACAF games are ugly and all that matters was the point, the fact remains the USA did not play well at all for the second straight qualifier.

Arena started two 30-plus outside backs - DaMarcus Beasley and Graham Zusi - and Honduran wingers Alberth Ellis and Romell Quioto of MLS's Houston Dynamo made them appear like octogenarians.

Mexico is already officially qualified for Russian Federation 2018 after they put up a 1-0 win against Panama at the Estadio Azteca last Friday.

With the USA growing more desperate with each passing second, Christian Pulisic drew a foul about 30 yards out.

Every team goes through ups and downs, and though fans expected four points from these last two matches and only got one, things are still good.

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Jozy Altidore, Friday's starting striker, served a yellow-card suspension. If they can replicate their performance in Couva, where they scored two early goals, it will go a long way in bringing them their first win against United States of America in World Cup qualifying since 6 February 2013. Matt Besler kept the ball alive, and it eventually found Wood, who chested it before slipping it into the low right corner of goal.

"That's a huge point for the USA team", Arena said afterward. "It's going to be a battle amongst the remaining four teams". Honduras faces Costa Rica and Mexico in its final two matches.

Honduras held a 1-0 lead at the half when Romell Quioto scored in the 27th minute, putting a shot off the near post and in after USA central defender Omar Gonzalez missed a slide tackle as Quioto gained possession down the left wing. This region's road to the World Cup invariably winds through hills, valleys, tropical heat waves and frozen tundra, from downpours to snowstorms to remote islands and who knows where else? I'm really proud of our team.

"So you want us to win a World Cup, bring the country together, walk on water?" he said. In the fifth minute of play, Mexico lost possession in Germany's half, and Joachim Low's team pounced on the counter, opening the wide areas and exposing Mexico's back line. Jordan Morris nodded the ball to Wood, who chested it down and scored for one of the most important goals in recent USA history.

The USMNT competes in CONCACAF during World Cup qualification, which will automatically send three teams to the World Cup, with the possibility of a fourth depending on the outcome of an inter-confederation play-in game.