SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — For even essentially the most assured gamers and gifted groups, a maiden journey into the heightened drama of the World Cup qualifying match in North and Central America can really feel like splash of chilly water to the face.
Here, world rankings have a manner of dropping their which means. Club pedigrees and gamers’ salaries can rapidly be forgotten. It is a impolite awakening, a ceremony of passage. And the United States males’s soccer crew is experiencing it but once more.
Beginning final week, the Americans launched into a three-game collection of qualifying matches over seven days that they hoped would set up a baseline state of confidence for the lengthy path to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The final week had, as a substitute, left them trying frazzled and not sure.
After attracts of their first two video games — on the road against El Salvador and at home against Canada — the Americans’ sport late Wednesday night time in opposition to Honduras on the spartan Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano represented a ultimate probability to salvage the week. A loss would have despatched the crew residence within the beginnings of a tailspin. A draw would have extended the gradual boil of hysteria.
Instead, they strode off 4-1 winners, a outcome — delivered by 4 second-half objectives after an abysmal,