The grind of the hexagonal World Cup final round qualification begins shortly as the United States visits a dangerous city looking to escape with three points from Honduras. The first match is a tone setter and can make the rest of the teams in the hex pay attention. Honduras will be a tricky team and could employ the bunkering mentality that Canada was successful with in Houston. What are the biggest questions we see only a couple hours before kickoff?
How mentally tough will the USMNT be?
They are playing in a dangerous location in a country that is observing a national holiday for this match. The match is beginning at a time when the heat could be at its most scorching. Some of the pivotal players started for their club team on Sunday and immediately jumped on a plane to Miami. This team has only had two training sessions and they have been mobbed by media. The first few minutes could be scattered as the team gets its legs, but Honduras will pressure so any lapse could be dangerous.
Are they playing for a draw or a win?
The lineup could help determine the answer to this question. There is a chance that it could be heavy with defensive midfielders like Danny Williams and Jermaine Jones. Michael Bradley has been making more runs for AS Roma and can quarterback the match but his positioning on the field could also be defensive.
If it’s 0-0 at halftime is there any way Klinsmann tries to attack?
It feels like the U.S. will try to weather an early storm and then hopefully look for the opening goal. If it gets to halftime in a draw, that is how I expect it to finish. The first substitute will be the sign of Klinsmann’s strategy. If they go like for like in the midfield one point is the goal. This is when Maurice Edu could come in just to bring in fresher legs.
Will there be any communication issues, especially at the back?
There is a chance that the captain Carlos Bocanegra starts and has the always vocal Tim Howard behind him. It will be up to them to set the tone for the defense that could feature athleticism and speed on the edge. However, the communication has to reach the entire eleven on the field so they can work cohesively and play off on another. Bradley will be key in orchestrated the wing play.
What other questions do you have before game time?