On Friday, March 24, the United States Men’s National Team played a crucial World Cup qualifying match against Honduras.
The United States were last in the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) group to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The pressure was on and the game was heavily hyped up in the media. The fans, the media, the players, we all knew this game was vital. The fans showed their confidence in the team with a Hamilton-inspired tifo that read, “Not giving up our shot.”
But Bruce Arena’s men didn’t budge. The United States went out and won the game 6-1, with amazing performances from veteran Clint Dempsey, youngster Christian Pulisic and newcomer Sebastian Lletget.
The team looked reenergized and rejuvenated and the partnership between Clint Dempsey and Christian Pulisic was impeccable. Sebastian Lletget made an instant impact too, scoring within the first 18 minutes of the game. Unfortunately, he had to be subbed off when he got injured shortly after the opening goal.
The Los Angeles Galaxy forward went in for a hard challenge, getting his foot caught underneath a Honduran Defender.
As he walked off the field, fans and teammates alike worried that his injury would be serious.
Reports over the weekend from the Los Angeles Galaxy show that testing results revealed that Lletget only suffered a left foot sprain and it is uncertain how long he will be out.
Arena was certainly delighted with the outcome of that game, as that result meant that the United States Men’s National Team went from seventh place in the group to fourth place, and within four points of the first place team and bitter rivals Mexico.
Sports Illustrated reported Arena saying, “We had to win this game and have an aggressive attacking concept to break down a team that defends very well and gets good numbers behind the ball in good spots on the field.”
But aside from the win, Clint Dempsey and Christian Pulisic were the main talking points. It was incredible to see a youngster and a veteran working effortlessly together to tear apart Honduras’s defence.
Both players were very supportive of each other after the game, with Dempsey reported saying:
“Man, he’s a great player. He can beat people one-on-one on the dribble and creates mismatches because of that,” (Sports Illustrated). Pulisic responded by saying, “Clint’s an easy guy to play with, he’s strong, he’s technical, he makes good runs and he always gives good support. That’s exactly what you need from a forward, and he’s clinical,” (Sports Illustrated).
As a United States fan, it’s a great sight to see this team work together and produce results like this. They look rejuvenated under Arena, and it looks like Russia is in their grasp.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org