Frisco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) – Clint Dempsey scored on either side of the intermission as the United States men’s national team opened its 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Honduras in Group A action on Tuesday at Toyota Stadium.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s side came into the tournament opener riding a nice wave of positive form after four straight wins in friendly matches over quality opponents including Germany and The Netherlands.
Drawn into Group A along with Panama Hati and Honduras, the U.S. faced arguably its toughest test of the group stage on Tuesday against a feisty Honduran side that has beaten the Americans before.
The U.S. was decidedly on the back foot in the opening minutes of the game as Honduras had the better of the ball and the pace to get in behind the American defense on several occasions.
Despite having the early edge, the Hondurans were wasteful with their chances and U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan was up to the challenge.
The opening salvo of the night came against the run of play in the 25th minute as American defender DeAndre Yedlin played a short corner kick to the feet of captain Michael Bradley.
Bradley turned and sent a driven cross into the penalty area that was blocked down. The second ball fell to forward Jozy Altidore, who ripped one with pace on frame.
Honduras goalkeeper Donis Escobar made the initial save, but couldn’t keep out the rebound as Dempsey found himself in the right spot at the right time to nod it home.
The hosts doubled the lead in the 64th minute with some set-piece execution as Bradley sent a tantalizing free kick into the box and Dempsey was able to beat his mark and nod it down into the bottom right corner.
The second goal appeared to give the Americans some much-needed breathing room, but just five minutes later Honduras pulled one back as Carlos Discua blew past his defender and into the penalty area before ripping a left-footed strike past Guzan. . The goal seemed to energize Honduras as they continued to pile pressure on the American back line in the final 10 minutes of play, but the finishing was off just a tad as the U.S. survived three minutes of added time to claim three points.
Klinsmann’s side will next face Hati in group play on Friday at Gillette Stadium.