It took four games, but Jurgen Klinsmann finally locked up his first win as coach of the U.S. national team as the Yanks edged Honduras 1-0 in Miami this past Saturday.
Clint Dempsey scored a beautiful goal just before halftime and Tim Howard made several excellent saves to preserve the lead in rainy, windy conditions at Sun Life Stadium.
The Americans could have—should have—added to their margin at least twice as Brek Shea and Oguchi Onyewu each missed sitters in the second half.
Three quick hits on the game:
1. Comeback Kids—Well, maybe they’re not kids—they’re both 29—but centerback Oguchi Onyewu and winger DaMarcus Beasley both returned to the team after long absences, and both performed well.
Onyewu, who is getting regular playing time for Sporting Clube de Portugal (don’t call it Sporting Lisbon), looked confident and steady—a lot like the quality player he was before a ruptured patellar tendon derailed his career in Oct 2009. Even if he missed a wide-open net on the rebound of Dempsey’s shot in the 66th minute.
Beasley was active and dangerous in his 25-minute cameo on the left wing. He combined well with Dempsey a few times, and looked very capable of staying in the USMNT picture. He has two goals for Puebla this season.
2. The Sons of Thomas Dooley—Klinsmann played against Dooley, the first German-American player to make a splash with the U.S. team, and he is continuing the tradition that brought the former Schalke 04 defender to these shores, tapping Hoffenheim’s Danny Williams for this camp, and giving another nod to Nuremberg’s Timmy Chandler. Both looked like worthy additions to the pool.
Williams lined up in right midfield and nearly scored 30 minutes into his debut, curling a shot just over the top left corner from 18 yards out. He also had a diving header blocked in the 45th minute.
Chandler may end up being the starting left back for the U.S. when World Cup qualifying begins next year. He’s a little raw, but extremely athletic, and he combined well with rising star Shea on the left.
3. Brek Shea: A Bro Who Keeps Things Extremely Chill
The 21-year old winger who just doesn’t like “normal haircuts” recently did a live chat with MLS fans on Facebook, and, as the MLS Insider noted, got the following question: “Brek you seem like a bro who keeps things extremely chill. What’s your secret?”
We have no idea, but whatever it is, it’s working. After a shaky debut against Colombia in Oct 2010, Shea has been consistently effective for the U.S. in five subsequent appearances. He should have scored his first USMNT goal (he has one assist) when Jozy Altidore put it on a platter for him in the 53rd minute, but apart from that flub, he had another excellent game.
So what is his secret? Maybe it’s the painting—did you know Shea’s an artist in his spare time? Check it out here (really).
Another fun fact about Shea: he’s the first player born in the 1990s to make an appearance for the full national team.
Klinsmann’s boys return to action tonight at Red Bull Arena, where they’ll take on Ecuador (7:00 pm ET, ESPN2).