It was a strong night for the US Men’s National Team, as they took on a tough, veteran Honduras side that wanted to prove they are one of the best in the confederation of CONCACAF, but within the final moments of regulation, the USA converted in the 89th minute to reach their very first CONCACAF Nations League Final.
This moment was Jordan Siebatcheu’s to shine as the Substitute got into a good position to power header that ball into the back of the net. It was a fantastic cross from John Brooks who found Weston McKennie along the near side and then he headed the ball across the middle of the Honduran area, as he found Siebatcheu wide open, and then he scored the lone goal of the match to give the USA the first spot in the Championship Final on Sunday, June 6th.
The USA had a solid opening 45 minutes attacking the Honduran net and nearly got the opening goal early. Giovanni Reyna entered the area within the first 10 minutes of the match, made a double move on two Honduran defenders, and ripped the shot towards the back post, sadly he couldn’t tuck it inside the post. Chrisitan Pulisic did make some solid runs, but unfortunately, he was stopped by Luis Lopez several times.
There was a moment where Zack Steffen might have allowed Honduras to get an early goal, after the free-kick was crossed in, Steffen put himself into no man’s land allowing an open goal to get abused, but when Josh Sargent saw the error in front of him, he found a way to get ahead of the attacker, flick headed the ball off the goal line and then it was cleared. There was a bit of a skirmish inside the USA area afterward, the danger was cleared and the match remained scoreless.
While this was a gritty win for the USA, there are still a few issues. Tyler Adams is recovering from his back injury and hopefully, he can return in the final or during the Gold Cup this coming July, because the backline was exposed many times in the second half, Steffen once again showed a lack of positioning and concentration for no reason, I understand that he is Greg Berhalter’s number 1 starter since his days with the Columbus Crew, yet he didn’t get consistent playing time at Manchester City.
Were Berhalter’s tactics correct? yes, but once again, he has to fill his holes with players that need to be at the ready and can play the same game, as those he is relying on that are recovering from injury during their long seasons in MLS or in Europe. Right now this performance is good enough to squeak out a win against Honduras who continues to concede late goals within the final ten minutes of the match, not against a stronger side like Mexico who has a better head coach in Tata Martino.
While Mexico couldn’t score against Costa Rica in the other Semi-Final, they did however win the penalty shootout to claim the second position for the Championship final. So the stage is set for Sunday, June 6th at Empower Field at Mile High. at 9 PM Eastern, 6 PM Pacific as these rivals will meet, as they attempt to become the first-ever champion of the CONCACAF Nations League. Then we get to the Gold Cup in July, then the final round of World Cup Qualifying in September.
This will be the most exciting run and summer of soccer that we will have in 2021.