USA eases past Honduras

Former Columbus Crew mainstay Brian McBride scored two goals in the first half, while Eddie Lewis and Tony Sanneh added goals after the break to lead the U.S. national team to a comfortable 4-0 win against a 10-man Honduras on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., in the final tuneup for both countries heading into World Cup qualifying.

Honduras played a man down from late in the first half when MetroStars midfielder Amado Guevara was sent off for throwing an elbow at Chicago Fire winger DaMarcus Beasley. U.S. captain Claudio Reyna also picked up his 100th cap on the night and celebrated the accomplishment by assisting on Sanneh's late strike.

From the outset, the USA was the better side against a Honduras side that looked to defend in numbers. But Honduras technical director Bora Milutinovic was forced into a substitution after just 11 minutes when McBride bundled over goalkeeper Victor Coello, injuring the Honduran's shoulder.

It didn't take long for the U.S. to put one past his replacement, Hector Medina. Steve Cherundolo served up a perfect cross from the right flank to McBride at the back post, who smashed a header low across the face of goal to put the USA into the lead.

The only quality chance for Honduras fell to Guevara, but his fierce free kick bent over the wall from 25 yards out and just missed the upper left corner of Tim Howard's goal, clattering into the frame behind the post.

McBride doubled up in the 37th minute with a blistering left-footed shot to finish a clinical attack by the USA. Reyna played the ball forward to Conor Casey, whose one-touch flick fed McBride into the left side of the box, and after a touch, the Fulham FC (England) striker hammered a drive past Medina's right shoulder.

The game took a nasty turn in 40th minute when Beasley and Guevara clashed near the corner flag in the Honduras end. Beasley was pressuring Guevara from behind and Guevara struck Beasley in the head with a swing of his left arm. Referee Rodolfo Sibrian of El Salvador was left with no option but to immediately send off the MetroStars midfielder.

The U.S. had two good chances to increase the deficit at the close of the half, both created by enterprising runs from San Jose's Landon Donovan. On the first, he picked out Casey inside the box after slaloming through the Honduran defense, but Casey's shot sailed well over the bar. Donovan then played a ball to the right wing which was flicked into Reyna's path, but his shot also went high.

The second half saw the injection of two more MLS players into the game, as Colorado's Pablo Mastroeni replaced Chicago's Chris Armas and D.C.'s Bobby Convey stepped on for Greg Vanney. Lewis rounded out the halftime subs, relieving Beasley of his left-midfield duties.

D.C. United midfielder Earnie Stewart picked up his 98th cap when he replaced Casey in the 63rd minute. He got right in on the action, cleverly faking by his defender at the endline before cutting the ball back into the center for Reyna, but his shot was knocked down and Donovan couldn't pounce on the rebound in time.

Dallas Burn defender Cory Gibbs came on for Carlos Bocanegra in the 72nd minute. Three minutes later, when forward on a corner kick, Gibbs helped secure the USA's third goal. He challenged for Reyna's service, causing confusion in front of the Honduras net, and Lewis was the beneficiary and he swept the ball into the goal.

Five minutes later the ball was again in the Honduras net, this time Sanneh getting his head on a Reyna free kick and re-directing it into the left corner to finish off the scoring and a dominating U.S. victory.

The USA begins the long road toward Germany 2006 on Sunday, June 13 when they face Grenada in the first match of the home-and-home qualifying series at Columbus Crew Stadium. The return match is set for June 20. Honduras plays Netherlands Antilles in their home-and-home series, with the winners in each series joining 10 other countries in the semifinal round of CONCACAF qualifying set to begin in July.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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