BRENT LATHAM - Sunday, January 24, 2010
A short-handed American team fell to fellow World Cup qualifiers Honduras in Carson Saturday night, 3-1, as central defender Jimmy Conrad was sent off after only 17 minutes.

Coach Bob Bradley hoped to use the match against the Catrachos, which followed an intensive three week camp in Southern California, to sort out some of the fringe contenders for the World Cup roster. With only a handful of friendly dates available this year, the game was an important match for all but a few of the starters.

The Americans went with speed up front, pairing Jeff Cunningham and Robbie Findley in tandem in the on-going audition to replace the injured Charlie Davies. The midfield was centered on Sasha Kljestan and Kyle Beckerman, with Benny Feilhaber and Robbie Rogers on the flanks. That group had much of the possesion in the early going, but found the Honduran back line difficult to break down.

The Hondurans looked dangerous coming forward, as their front line easily outpaced the American center pairing of Conrad and Chad Marshall. In just the sixth minute, Conrad saw a yellow for a professional foul as he hauled down a Honduran attacker during a counter attack following a corner.

That would prove crucial ten minutes later, when the Hondurans broke forward again. Jerry Palacios sent a long ball across the area for Carlos Pavon, who raced in and fired a shot high over Troy Perkins' goal. But trailing the play, Palacios had made his way into the box, where a Conrad tug sent him sprawling, and inspired Mexican referee Benito Archundia to drastically alter the game by sending Conrad off with a second yellow. Pavon dispatched the penalty for a 1-0 lead, and the Hondurans were on their way.

To compensate, down a goal and a man, Bradley moved Jonathan Bornstein to the middle of the defense, and sent Rogers to the back line. The three man midfield managed to control much of the possesion for the next half hour, without doing much damage, but it was the Central Americans who doubled their lead before halftime.

Five minutes before the intermission, Pavon collected a pass on the right wing and curled a cross into the American area, where Palacios dipped in around a hopelessly stagnant Marshall, and headed home from close range.

To start the second half, Bradley sent on central defender Clarence Goodson for Cunningham. Rogers nearly threw the U.S. a lifeline with a laser from 30 yards which the post kep out, but things then got worse for the US in the 53rd minute, when Goodson stepped up to mark Palacios at the top of the box, leaving Kansas City Wizard Roger Espinoza free to streak in, receive a pass, and finish past Perkins.

Down by three, Bradley rang in the changes on the hour mark, sending on Heath Pearce, Brad Davis, Conor Casey, and Alejandro Bedoya, who was making his international debut. With the Hondurans content to protect their lead, having been unable to beat the Americans for eight years, the U.S. poured forward.

The initiative paid a dividend in the 70th minute when Goodson powered home a Davis corner, despite a probably foul on Honduran 'keeper Denis Escober, which Archundia failed to spot.

The Americans had several more excellent opportunites to close the gap, including a Davis free kick in the closing minutes which Eecober did well to punch away, after Findlay won a dangerous free kick at the top of the box. In stoppage time, Casey fired wide with his left foot after a Findlay header put him in alone on goal, then a winding Bedoya free kick was slapped away by Escober as time expired.

Bradley, having learned more about who is not fit for World Cup selection than who is, will go back to the drawing borad ahead of a late February clash with El Salvador in Tampa. He will then finally have his full squad available for a March showdown with World Cup qualifier Holland in Amsterdam.
Thursday January 28, 2010 9:08 am
Kljestan is a good player he really should of joined celtic when he could, that would of been a great thing. He should head to europe as soon as he can.
Tuesday January 26, 2010 4:13 pm
Conrad- Has always been a player who relies on his ability to read the game and stop any team offensive attack. I'm not saying he should or shouldn't be cut, but I have to believe that he had no confidence in the other defenders alongside him. Marvelle Wynne, Bornstein, Marshall; Conrad is a smart guy and I know he even scouted, watched the tapes of other games they played recently.

I have to assume his shaky confidence in the guys besides him led to flagrant fouls he commited to stop the opponent form scoring. I would also like to point out that we did not have one "enforcer" type player in the starting line-up. Davis, Bedoya gave the best peformances ,even coming off the bench. I believe Parkhurst and Cameron would be a good central paring in the defense.
Monday January 25, 2010 3:52 pm
This was just a game used to gauge who is going to ride the bench in SA. Don't be worried. The US will be okay. Bob is just sorting things out, that all. Not to mention Honduras did have many players that will be on their WC squad.
Monday January 25, 2010 12:39 pm
What pisses me off the most about Conrad's red card is that he was 100% tactically unaware that the mark he pulled down in the area was not even a threat on the play. The US already had enough players back to cover, the ball was not going to be played to that attacker, and even if it was CONRAD WAS ALREADY MARKING HIM. Note also that Conrad is like 6'2" and his mark is like 5'5".

Did he really think he wouldn't have won the potential service to that attacker?

I'm glad Archudia sent him off (which shows why Archundia is one of the best CONCACAF referees), and I would have done the same thing.
Monday January 25, 2010 12:06 pm
BRADLEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SACKED MONTHS AGO!!!!!!!. Alot of the players selected yesterday have been given previous chances and just don't cut it in a US jersey!. This Word Cup is going to be just like the last one, 3 and done!. We need a coach who has international experience and knows what he is doing at this level!. The National Team program has been stagnant for the past 5 years. It seems as if our main focus in just to qualify for the World Cup and not actually compete in it!.
Monday January 25, 2010 3:29 am
I think everyone except Feilhaber, Goodson, Bedoya and Tracy ( if he ever gets on the field) should just return to the MLS and be thankful that for one moment they got to some what represent the US.
Monday January 25, 2010 12:55 am
playing a game without pressure Honduras clearly outran the us in every department, they could have easily scored 5 goals if they hadn't wasted so many clear chances. Our defensive line was especially vulnerable to the fast paced honduras offensive line. If nats keep playing like they did yesterday their going to collect a lot of goals against them. lack of concentration and discipline shows, and should be corrected asap. after all the world cup is just around the corner and algeria proved to be a very good team beating ivory coast and Drogba , with a clear superiority. After this loss I believe we got to use the same guys that played the qualifiers as experimenting with new players at this point show just a very choice from coach bradley
Monday January 25, 2010 12:41 am
Is it too much to ask the US national team to put together a team that might actually win. Did they not take this game seriously and I am curious when this might be the case. It is hard to believe that at this point in time why the US can not put together 11 guys on the pitch who play in the premiere leagues of Europe at the highest level. Instead they use guys from the MLS who are not wanted by European clubs and then they lose to Honduras. It is scary that this might be an outcome come this summer.
Sunday January 24, 2010 5:22 pm
I hope this end Conrad, Goodson, Marshall, and hopefully he doenst recalll callif.But hes stupid so he will. If the 5-0 shalcking against Mexico wasnt enough to get rid of Goodson and Marshall hopefully this will. Parkhurst should be the #4 CB after Boca,Gooch and Demerit. With Cameron and Gonazalez as other options. Bedoya shouldve started robbiie findleys has not technique or first touch or reall finishing abitlity and should never come near a nats jersay. Bedoya should get called up more as he showed flashes of skill. Rogers I cant decide, he has skill and can run at people but only imagine th eplayer he couldve been if he never left Holland, big mistake. With Algeria beating Ivory coast to day, we'll be lucky to draw them, they are very discplined and play with a lot of moxy and heart, which we don't, ussually. Slovenia is much better technically, and should control the game. England will be like David Vs. Goliath.
Sunday January 24, 2010 3:39 pm
This was 1 of only 3 games Bradley has to access the talent for South Africa and see who to chose and who can't cut it. After tonight, first name off his list should be Jimmy Conrad. If you're not disciplined enough in a friendly and will put your team in such a hole early, how can you be on the field in a big game like a WC game?

Conrad's lack of disciple did allow Bradley to see how others stepped up under adversity. Second name to strike, Sasha Kljestan. Only time I saw him all night was his 10 yard free kick over the goal! Watching the replay today still didn't see him. Yes players have bad games, like Robbie Rodgers and Benny Felhaber did, but they did some good things!

Third to go, and I hate saying this because when I first saw him I thought he was a future star on the MNT, Marvell Wynn. Last few games he's played he's looked lost and, if not for his speed, would have been beaten more often and worse than he has.

Doubts: Chad Marshall. To slow. He and Conrad were beaten way to easily.

Who impressed to possibly make the team? No one really. Conrad ruined the opportunity for many to impress Bradley in game situation.

We didn't play well, we played down a man most the game yet it was a fairly even game. Image if we had 11 v 11 for 90?
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