USMNT one step closer to Qatar 2022 with 3-0 win vs Honduras
- USMNT are second in the CONCACAF qualifying standings, behind leaders Canada
- Weston McKennie and Walker Zimmerman scored from two first-half set pieces
- Christian Pulisic added a third after coming on as a second-half substitute
Weston McKennie and Walker Zimmerman scored from two first-half set pieces and second-half substitute Christian Pulisic added a third to guide the USMNT to a 3-0 win in their World Cup qualifying match against Honduras in a freezing Minnesota night on Wednesday.
With three games remaining in the CONCACAF qualifiers, the USMNT are second in the standings with 21 points from 11 games, behind leaders Canada on 22 points. Mexico (18), Panama (17) and Costa Rica (16) occupy the third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.
Canada will take on El Salvador later on Wednesday, with Mexico hosting Panama. The top three sides will qualify directly for the World Cup this year, with the fourth set to play a playoff against the Oceania champions, most likely New Zealand.
Meanwhile, American goalkeeper Matt Turner was a virtual spectator on a frigid night in Saint Paul, where temperature was -16 degree Celsius (3-degree Fahrenheit) at kickoff. The US Soccer Federation picked the venue, along with Columbus, Ohio for maximum home advantage over their South American rivals from tropical countries.
“It was freezing out here. I’m looking forward to getting into the locker room,” Pulisic said after the win.
McKennie sent the sellout crowd of 19,202 into frenzy with a header from a Kellyn Acosta freekick in the eighth minute in what was the USMNT’s first set-piece goal in 11 qualifier games. This was McKennie’s ninth international goal, and his second in World Cup qualifiers.
Zimmerman’s aerial prowess came good in the 37th minute, when he connected with another Acosta freekick to slot past Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez.
Pulisic scored three minutes after coming on in the 64th minute, firing home from near the box after the ball fell kindly in his path following a corner, delivered by Acosta.
“It’s my job to come in and make a difference, and I’m glad I did,” Pulisic said.
The US are next in action against Panama in Orlando, Florida on March 27 and will qualify for the World Cup with a win, if Panama fail to beat Mexico later today and Costa Rica do not win any of their next three games.