WATCH: Wood Equalizer Saves USA Late in World Cup Qualifying Draw in Honduras
A second home loss during the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying Hexagonal had ramped up the pressure on the U.S. men's national team, and the Americans just barely averted the disaster of facing even more.
Bobby Wood's 85th-minute equalizer salvaged a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw that relieves some of the tension around the USA but still will leave plenty wanting better, especially coming off Friday's 2-0 loss at Red Bull Arena to Costa Rica.
Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the 27th minute, and Honduras remained in control, but a scramble after a saved Kellyn Acosta free kick allowed the USA to net the equalizer that stabilizes its World Cup run–but leaves little room for error in October against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.
The USA won the earlier meeting between the two sides, thrashing Honduras 6-0 in San Jose, California, and that goal differential could ultimately play a vital role in determining which nation qualifies.
Jozy Altidore was suspended for the match, because of card accumulation, but six other U.S. players who entered a card away from a one-game ban as well avoided seeing yellow: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Matt Besler, Alejandro Bedoya, Geoff Cameron and Paul Arriola.
Jordan Morris bounced the USA's first chance just wide in the third minute, with the Americans adjusting to the turf and looking to create in the early moments of the match through the Sounders forward's 18-yard opportunity.
Honduras answered in the ninth minute with a chance of its own via Houston Dynamo's Alberth Elis, who took on his club teammate DaMarcus Beasley by the right post, but Acosta recovered defensively to help prevent Elis's cutback cross from creating any further danger.
The USA's first chance on frame came in the 20th minute through an awkward chip from Dempsey. Christian Pulisic displayed his quality on the ball, shaking a couple of Honduran defenders, and he laid it off for Dempsey, who tried to score through traffic while drawing contact. No call came, though, and Luis Lopez made the easy catch. The chance came moments after Dempsey nearly took a cleat to the face from Jorge Claros, which drew an early yellow card.
Elis tested Guzan with Honduras's first dangerous shot on goal in the 23rd minute, cutting in from the left side and firing low, only for Brad Guzan to smother the chance with a clean save.
Romell Quioto, Elis's Houston teammate, missed high soon after, over-hitting a volley from six yards out after Elis's set-up in the 24th minute.
Quioto struck a few minutes later for Honduras's opener. Like against Costa Rica, the U.S. center backs were at the center of the breakdown, with Omar Gonzalez not covering himself in glory on the sequence. First he was beaten for pace, and then went to ground and failed to make the tackle, allowing Quioto to beat Guzan from close range.
The Americans tried to claw their way back through Morris and Pulisic, with the two young attackers working a combination down the center, which ended with Pulisic being denied by Lopez on the doorstep with his close-range chance.
The USA's woes continued on into the second half, and about 20 minutes in is when Arena made his first changes. Geoff Cameron and Paul Arriola came on in a double swap, replacing Graham Zusi and Beasley and pushing the USA into a three-defender set-up.
Bobby Wood then came on as Arena's final sub in the 74th minute, replacing Darlington Nagbe, and he nearly made an instant impact. Off a throw-in, Dempsey volleyed a ball across to the far post in Wood's direction, but Henry Figueroa was quick to react and put it out for a corner before Wood could connect.
Honduras missed out on a great chance to double its lead in the 76th minute, breaking out on a 4-v-3 counterattack. The ball wound up on the foot of Anthony Lozano inside the USA box, and he had a clear look, but he didn't get enough power on it, and Guzan made a relatively easy save. Moments later, Lozano wound up in a foot race with Bradley, and he was able to win before firing toward goal, only to hit the back goal support.
Wood came through with a late equalizer to put the USA in position to draw in the 85th minute. Kellyn Acosta's free kick drew a sensational diving save from Lopez, but the U.S. kept the ball alive, and Morris wound up flicking it to Wood, who stabbed it home to make it 1-1.
The result keeps the USA provisionally in third place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal table, with both the USA and Honduras on nine points prior to Panama and Trinidad & Tobago's match later Tuesday.
Here are the rosters for both teams:
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo),Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas),Paul Arriola (D.C. United) ,Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC)
FORWARDS: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
GOALKEEPERS: Ricardo Canales (Vida), Donis Escober (Olimpia), Luis López (Real España)
DEFENDERS: Ever Alvarado (Olimpia), Bryan Beckeles (Necaxa), Felix Crisanto (Motagua), Henry Figueroa (Motagua), Maynor Figueroa (FC Dallas), Emilio Izaguirre (Al-Fayha), Jhonny Leverón (Marathón), Jhonny Palacios (Olimpia), Carlos Sánchez (Honduras Progreso)
MIDFIELDERS: Bryan Acosta (Tenerife), Jorge Claros (Real España), Juan Ángel Delgado (Honduras Progreso) Carlos Discua (Motagua), Oscar Boniek García (Houston Dynamo) Alexander López (Olimpia), Alfredo Mejía (Xanthi), Oliver Morazán (Olimpia), Esdras Padilla (Juticalpa) Sergio Peña (Real Sociedad)
FORWARDS: Carlo Costly (Olimpia), Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Hernández (Unattached) Ovidio Lanza (Juticalpa) Anthony Lozano (Barcelona B), Rony Martínez (Baoding Rongda), Romell Quioto (Houston Dynamo/USA)