Sports

Soccer Preview: Can U.S. Team, Klinsmann Beat Honduras?

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Friends, readers, countryman lend me your ears ...

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Figured I'd start with a grandiose opening for what is going to be a different sort of post ahead of a U.S. National Team game, which just so happens to be tonight SATURDAY NIGHT against Honduras in Miami (6 p.m., FOX Soccer) in front of a friends-and-family crowd.

Actually it's more of a confession.

In the last couple weeks, well, I haven't thought very much about our beloved USMNT.

Yeah, yeah, grab the torches, pitchforks and burn me at the stake(*), but that's the truth. That's not to say the name Jurgen Klinsmann makes me think of a villain from a bad World War II film or anything. It's just ...

(*) Always felt that the old-timey, colonial idea of drowning suspected witches doesn't get enough play. Then again, rigging some sort of drowning apparatus vs. the standard torches and pitchfork analogy is simply easier. Eh.

Put it this way, for these two friendlies -- the second next Tuesday vs. Ecuador at Red Bull Arena -- are we going to glean anything new that we haven't already for the first two-plus months of Der Klinsmann regime?

1. Stuart Holden remains on the sideline, now for another six months with another knee operation. So much for him being the missing midfield link. Once again, Jonny Evans -- go die in a grease fire.

2. Can Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey co-exist under Klinsmann? Wait, Donovan pulled out of the games to watch Hope Solo on a dancing show, err, because of an injury.

3. Does this team have any wide players aside from, maybe, Brek Shea? (I'll just write this every post.)

4. Can this team develop a consistent international striker? (Again, rinse, lather, repeat.)

5. Can any new defenders stake their claim to a starting spot? (See above.)

This isn't to sound overtly cynical, but let's be honest what is anyone going to learn from these games? It's doubtful the USSF is even going to pocket a big pay day since the Honduras game is in the worst sports city in America -- Miami(*) -- where organizers have sold, according to Twitter, about 6,000 tickets. So the ancillary function of every U.S. friendly on home soil -- make the USSF some money -- isn't even going to be accomplished. Suppose Wilson Palacios isn't the draw he once was since moving to Stoke City.

(*) The USSF/SUM organizers really screwed up. They should have booked a 3-on-3 basketball game with some of the Miami Heat, or at least had Chris Bosh show up and wiggle his tiny head. It's not like the NBA is busy or anything.

So yeah, Oguchi Onyewu is back in the mix. Same for Michael Bradley and DaMarcus Beasley.

I could probably muster the strength to write another 1,000 words on this game, or coax up a strained pop culture parallel or something, but why be dishonest with you? Right now all my time and energy is wrapped up in the baseball playoffs with my Tigers -- so I'm living and dying with every pitch. Fortunately I woke up Friday morning to put the finishing touches on this post I couldn't stop smiling. Let this video explain. (Really, click it, leave it up and enjoy the rest of your day.)

Don't hate me for being honest.

Or do. This is the Internet after all.

Miscellany:

* Appears Jozy Altidore is love, love, looooooooving Miami, considering he's retweeted stuff from seemingly all 14 people who bought tickets to the game.

* Speaking of pitch forks, torches and drowning apparatus ... don't you think Klinsmann maybe, you know, consider winning a game? A loss on home soil to a very mediocore Honduras team would be tough to spin, even by the guy who writes the official U.S. Soccer Twitter.

* With the amount of strikes on this roster -- Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Buddle and (via the web) DaMarcus Beasley -- will Klinsmann be forced to play a two-strike system?

* Isn't it amazing how whenever Timmy Chandler opens his mouth people go nuts on the Internet? Or any U.S. player with dual citizenship/FIFA eligibility requirements?

* Is this the last USMNT game, well friendly, that will appear on Fox Soccer for the next couple years? I'll miss Christopher Sullivan's analysis.


Lineup Guess:

GK -- Howard

DEF -- Cherundolo -- Onyewu -- Bocanegra -- ????

MID -- Dempsey -- Bradley -- Beckerman -- Shea

FOR -- Altidore -- Bunbury?

Closing Thought:

Last time the U.S. played it was on a Friday night it was late (East Coast time) and they lost to Costa Rica on a night overwhelmed by a TCU college football game. People probably forgot it even happened.

Similar circumstances tonight Saturday, but a win for Klinsmann -- he's 0-1-2 -- isn't too much to ask, is it? Honduras should play the role of slumpbuster. Do they have those in Germany? Would love to know the word for it. I'm sure it's fantastic.

[Update, I really thought the game was Saturday in line with all the European games today. See, baseball is screwing with my head. Also though the Yankees/Tigers Game 5 was at 8:37, not 8:07. To quote a phrase, I'm totally lawst. Sorry about that.]