U.S. defenders struggle in 2-1 defeat in Honduras

Center back Omar Gonzalez and right back Timmy Chandler slipped up in their World Cup qualifying debuts, but Klinsmann refused to blame them for the loss
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – The U.S. national team was left reeling from a 2-1 defeat at Honduras on a hot Central American afternoon, leaving the players and coach Jurgen Klinsmann to assess what went wrong before next month’s increasingly vital fixtures against Costa Rica and Mexico.

"They were a much better team than us today,” admitted goalkeeper Tim Howard, after the Catrachos dominated possession and scored a late winner to take all three points at home.

The U.S. was compact enough in the early going to hold the potent Honduran attack, and managed to take the lead against the run of play through an excellent Clint Dempsey goal off a volley on 36 minutes.

But just four minutes later, a stunning bicycle kick from defender Juan Carlos Garcia leveled matters, and gave the hosts all the momentum they would need to march towards eventual victory.

Throughout, the U.S. back line struggled with the pace and guile of the Honduran attack. Center back Omar Gonzalez and right back Timmy Chandler were making their full international debuts for the U.S., having been thrown in the deep end in the first match of the Hexagonal.

Still, Klinsmann refused to put the blame for the loss on his young back line.

"Chemistry takes time to develop, but the back line was not the reason that we lost that game," the coach said. "We believe Omar is ready for the international level and the only way you find that out is to give him a chance. Overall I thought he did well."

The U.S. returned home to regroup, ahead of what is now a vital home match against Costa Rica next month.

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