The Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula will be electric on Wednesday as Honduras will play host to the United States in the first match of their Hexagonal. Top three teams in the group will get an automatic spot at the World Cup in 2014, held in Brazil, while the fourth placed team will have to play a two-leg elimination with the winner of the Oceania Confederation.
With Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama rounding out the group, the Americans will be expected to qualify. United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann will also be expecting his side to make it out of this six team bracket.
From their previous 14 meetings, the USA has had the better of Honduras. A total of 11 wins, one draw and two losses should give Klinsmann's men some confidence heading into the match on Wednesday.
The hosts have not been all that impressive as of late, putting together one win, three draws and one defeat in their last five matches. Their home record is slightly different as they have five wins, two draws and three losses in their last ten.
Klinsmann's side is coming off a boring scoreless draw against Canada in their previous match. They also won their group in the previous round, having taken on Jamaica, Guatemala and Antigua Barbuda.
Taking a look at this Hexagonal group, it is hard to imagine that the United States would not be able to at least make it into the top four, but football has proven that predictions are not always accurate.
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg)
Midfielders: Michael Bradley (AS Roma), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Jose Torres (Tigres), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (AZ), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)
Goalkeepers: Noel Valladares (Olimpia), Donis Escobar (Olimpia), Jose Mendoza (Escobar)
Defenders: Arnold Peralta (Vida), Bryan Beckeles (Olimpia), Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes), Osman Chavez (Wisla Krakow), Maynor Figueroa (Wigan Athletic), Juan Pablo Montes (Platense), Juan Carlos Garcia (Olimpia)
Midfielders: Luis Garrido (Red Star Belgrade), Jorge Claros (Hibernian), Roger Espinoza (Wigan Athletic), Alex Lopez (Olimpia), Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo), Mario Martinez (Seattle Sounders), Aldo Oviedo (Real Espana)
Forwards: Jerry Bengston (NE Revolution), Roger Rojas (Olimpia), Carlo Costly (Veria), Georgie Welcome (Motagua)
The last time these two met, Conor Casey led the Americans to victory with two goals in a 2-3 victory in Honduras. Casey obviously will not be available for Wednesday's match, but Jurgen Klinsmann still has a number of very talented players to lead the country to glory.
American soccer is not what it used to be, and with Klinsmann coming on board, the 'American Way' will continue to change when it comes to this sport.
Klinsmann not only had great success at the individual level, but he also knows what it is like to win a World Cup. He knows what it is like to win important titles, and that is the reason that he has called on his more experienced players to step up to the plate.
Players like Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard have been playing at a high level for quite sometime and know what it is like to play in high profile matches. Well, Wednesday will be just another match in their career that has a lot of meaning behind it.
83 nations across the globe have already been eliminated from the World Cup in Brazil. For some, it was a destiny that was already expected, but for these teams, they will not accept failure.
By mid-November, 88 more teams will have said their goodbyes to the World Cup in Brazil, leaving the final 32 to fight for football's most prestigious trophy.
With such a formidable record against Honduras, the United States could, and should be considered favorites to win this match, despite it being on Honduran soil.
Klinsmann's latest outburst of calling out his players could work in a positive way, or it could completely deflate the players. Given their experience in the game, you would imagine it would motivate them to live up to their name, but anything is possible.
Keeping the crowd out of the match will be nearly impossible for the USA, but keeping their composure and shape is in their hands. Not getting caught up in the moment and focusing on getting the simple things done will be important.
Honduras has some very talented players, but as a whole, it is more than obvious that the United States has more quality to choose from. But, quality does not always result in victory, therefore, the visitors will have to prove themselves on the pitch.
This should be more of a hard fought match, rather than a eye catching performance from both sides. Champions are made from nitty gritty performances that may not look great, but get the job done. Klinsmann's side may have to put together one of those on Wednesday in Honduras.
Honduras 1-2 United States
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