Saturday, March 15, 2008

Olympic Qualifying - Does the US even want to win?

US vs. Honduras
7pm ET/4pm PT
TV: Fox Soccer Channel

With Panama dispatching Cuba 4-1, the US is assured of advancing to the knockout round, now the question is what spot will they take? If they can pull of a win against a decent Honduras side, they will take first. Anything less and they stay in the second spot.

Over in group B last night, both Mexico and Canada lost meaning that the best either side can hope for is a second place finish. So if the US do not win tonight, the earliest they could face either North American team is the final.

Does that mean they should play for the tie? In a word, no. Guatemala did not beat Mexico on a fluke, they played the better game. Same goes for Haiti over Canada. With neither Mexico or Canada looking fantastic, facing them might be the best way to go. Still, like all tournaments done over a short period of time, a good team one day can be a crap team the next.

Which brings us to the US and Honduras. With both teams already in the knockout phase, don't expect many stars. Such enough, here is the lineup:




It is great to see Holden in the middle as he was outstanding on Thursday night. If he can combine with Findley and help provide some cover for fellow Houston Dynamo Ianni, the US will be alright on the right side.

Kljestan has also proved himself during this tournament, so he and Holden will be expected to be the fire for the team.

It looks like Peter Nowak is using this game as a test of yet another formation, so I don't think he is overly worried about the result. I even think that if Charlie Davies was not riding a yellow, he would be included in it.

Overall, I'm guessing the team will take a win, but they are more interested in seeing how different players react with each other.

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