Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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U.S. soccer team qualifies for World Cup

It has to go down as one of the all-time results in American soccer history, doesn't it?

U.S. soccer team qualifies for World Cup

Recaps: AP | Washington PostNew York Times | ESPN.comSports Illustrated

Video highlights at the bottom of the post. But be nice to me and read everything else first, please?

It has to go down as one of the all-time results in American soccer history, doesn't it?

After giving up a free kick goal to Honduras early in the first half, the U.S scored three straight, then withstood a furious rally that included a second Honduran goal and a missed penalty kick by Carlos Pavon, and held on for a 3-2 win.

The result qualifies the United States for its sixth straight World Cup. If the U.S. wins Wednesday night against Costa Rica in Washington, they will finish in first place in CONCACAF's final round of World Cup qualifying for the second straight cycle.

The first half was scoreless. The key moments in the second half were as follows:

47' USA 0-1 Honduras: Honduras midfielder Julio De Leon struck a brilliant free kick from close range that U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard could not stop.

58' 1-1: U.S. defender Oguchi Oneywu played a long free ball to Charlie Davies, who headed the ball into the air. The ball came to fellow forward Conor Casey, who redirected the ball past Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valledares with his shoulder.

66' 2-1: U.S. midfielder and top playmaker Landon Donovan split two defenders with a through ball to Casey, who slotted it neatly past Valledares after one touch. It has to be said that at the start of the match, a lot of fans thought should not have been in the starting linep. As you'll see in the Twitter coverage below, quite a bit of crow was consumed over the course of the night.

71' 3-1: The U.S. won a free kick from a few yards farther out than Leon's, and Donovan curled it past Valledares to the far post.

78' 3-2: Howard was drawn off his goal line by a loose ball at the side of the U.S. 18-yard box. Honduras took possession and while Howard got back in time, the U.S. defense could not close down any of the Honduran attackers. The ball came to De Leon, and he thumped it into the net from the middle of the box.

87' 3-2: A handball in the box was correctly called on the U.S.' Stuart Holden. Carlos Pavon stepped up to take the penalty kick and smashed it over the crossbar.

94' 3-2: The final whistle after four minutes of stoppage time. ESPN.com's Ives Galarcep, blogging from the stadium in San Pedro Sula, reported that the Honduran fans gave the Americans an ovation as they left the field. Nice touch.


Preamble text from before the game: If you can't watch the U.S.-Honduras game tonight, this is the next-best thing. I will be at Tir Na Nog watching the game, and I'll try to post some updates in the chat window below. But they will be mixed in with Twitter updates from reporters in San Pedro Sula and fans across the country.

I'm sure there will be lots of re-tweets, and I suspect there will be the odd obscenity tossed in as well (but not from me, of course). As you can understand, I can't really do anything about that.

Also, because I'm not sure I'll actually be able to have a laptop working in the restaurant, I'm not going to enable comments in the chat window.

But given the lack of a widespread TV broadcast, I hope this will at least be serviceable to those of you who can't watch the game. Also, the blog post and chat window are iPhone-compatible, so you can follow along if you're out somewhere and have one of those.

With that, here goes.



Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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