Arena, Morris: US still have "lot of work left to do" after Honduras draw

Bruce Arena - close-up

They got the result they badly needed in Honduras. But Russia 2018 is still a long ways away for the US national team, and they know it.

Striker Jordan Morris and coach Bruce Arena made that clear in their postgame remarks at stiflingly hot Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano on Tuesday, after Bobby Wood’s late leveler snatched a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw on an evening when Los Catrachos were by and large the better team.

“It was tough. Lots of credit to [Honduras] – they made it tough,” said Morris, who put in miles of hard running in his 90-plus minutes on the pitch, in an interview with beIN SPORTS.

“The conditions were obviously difficult. But I think it shows the mentality of our team. We knew that we had to get a result down here and credit to Bobby, he came in and scored a nice goal, but as a team I think we worked really hard the whole game … a point is big for us down here.”

Arena expressed satisfaction with the point, which keeps the USMNT ahead of Honduras – though only by goal differential – in the CONCACAF Hexagonal standings. Both sides are level on nine points in the standings, right in the thick of the race – along with Panama – for the region’s final automatic World Cup slot.

The final order will be settled early next month, when the US host Panama before concluding their Hex slate at Trinidad & Tobago. Honduras visit Costa Rica and host Mexico, while Panama are at home vs. Costa Rica after their trip to Florida to face the USMNT at Orlando City Stadium.

“That's a huge point for the U.S. team. The conditions were quite challenging for both teams, but I'm really proud of our team the way we hung in there and battled,” said Arena.

But he acknowledged that the performance left something to be desired, and cautioned that further pitfalls may lie ahead.

“There's not even a crack open in the door to Russia for us,” he added. “There's a lot of work to be done.”