Revolution striker Jerry Bengtson untied a one-all game late to give Honduras a 2-1 win over the United States in Wednesday’s World Cup Qualifier at Estadio Olimpico.
Bengtson’s 79th goal followed a brilliant overheard volley from Juan Carlos Garcia in the 40th minute. Former Revolution midfielder/forward Clint Dempsey scored the opening goal in the 36th minute for the U.S.
Before the match was over, though, Bengtson was forced to leave due to injury.
The U.S. prepared for the humid Honduran air by training in Miami leading up to Wednesday’s qualifier. But it seemed to matter little, as they struggled to create opportunities all afternoon.
Honduras had no problem finding chances of their own. Bengtson and Carlo Costly speared through in the 7th minute, but Costly was ruled offside. It was an early theme for Los Catrachos – they were ruled offside no fewer than four times in the opening 15 minutes.
That failed to diminish their efforts, though. In the 23rd minute, Roger Espinoza rocketed a shot that served as notice that the hosts still had their foot on the accelerator.
It wasn’t until the half hour mark that the guests finally found their first crack at goal. Michael Bradley sent Eddie Johnson down the left, where he put through a cross to Jozy Altidore. But Altidore’s shot looped over the upper 90.
The U.S. made good on its next opportunity. Jermaine Jones lifted a delicate pass over the Honduran defense for Dempsey, whose 35th minute goal sent shock waves throughout the stadium.
It was a lead that proved to be short-lived. In the 40th minute, Victor Bernardez chased down an overhit corner, and sent it back into the box for Maynor Figueroa, who adeptly chested it central. A split-second later, Garcia sent through a bicycle kick that froze a helpless Tim Howard on his line.
Early in the second half, the U.S. nearly reclaimed the lead when Fabian Johnson played it inside to Bradley in space. Bradley’s shot deflected off a defender before skipping wide of frame in the 51st minute.
Four minutes later, Costly appeared to put the hosts ahead when he slipped through the American defense and scored. But, once again, the assistant referee’s flag declared otherwise, and the game remained knotted at one with the hour approaching.
Honduras didn’t disappoint its fans in the waning stages. With just over 10 minutes to go, Boniek Garcia beat his defender – as well as Howard, who came well off his line – before putting it ahead to Bengtson. With a wide open goal ahead of him, the Revolution striker couldn’t miss and the win was cinched.