020613_isi_dempseyclintusmntmj020513066 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com
U.S. vs. Honduras

Hex Predictions: How Will Dempsey and Co. Perform?

Why settle for one prediction when we can shoehorn 12 into the same virtual real estate? We asked our panel to call the contest in 100 words or less. The upshot: anything could happen today.

BY John Godfrey Posted
February 06, 2013
10:17 AM
Phil Schoen
Announcer, beIN SPORT
This is a scary matchup. I fully expect the U.S. to qualify, but having called the game where Honduras dismantled Canada I've seen how good they can be. And at this stage of the final round, every team is brimming with the belief they will qualify. I want to see if Jozy Altidore turns his AZ success into U.S. glory and whether Timmy Chandler finally makes it to the altar. What I will be watching for is the battle between dynamic midfielders Jermaine Jones and Roger Espinoza. However, I think all will balance out in a draw, probably a scoreless one. Editor's note: Schoen will be calling the game with Cobi Jones and Ray Hudson.

John Godfrey
Editor in Chief, American Soccer Now
Fear is the Hex killer. Yes, the safe choice is to keep Carlos Bocanegra in the lineup, armband pulled tight around his left bicep, and scrap for a draw. But if the U.S. is in Honduras to claim victory rather than avoid defeat, Omar Gonzalez needs to play alongside Geoff Cameron, creating a massive barrier and a defiant no-fly zone in the center of defense. In concert with this shift, Michael Bradley should take his rightful place in the U.S. soccer chain of command: captain. What will happen today? With yesterday's team, a 1-1 draw. With tomorrow’s team, a 2-0 U.S victory.

Brent Latham
Producer, The Jersey Goal Project

Man, this is a tough one to call. Honduras can really click when the offense gets going. But then, of late it usually doesn’t. On the other side, the Catrachos are so vulnerable on the wings. But who’s going to exploit that for the Americans? The U.S. is yet to find its feet under Klinsmann. What are the chances that happens now? Not better than the hosts getting a break or two in front of the home crowd. 2-1 to Honduras.

Korey Donahoo
President, American Outlaws

I would be really happy with a draw on Wednesday. I am NOT on-board with Jurgen calling out Dempsey, our most successful player of all time, saying "he hasn't made s**t" while he is fighting for a starting role at an eventual Champions League team. His motivational tactics worry me, and his lack of speed in the midfield and forward positions does too. Very little creativity in this lineup. No Josh Gatt? Still with Jermaine Jones? With Dempsey having played on Sunday thousands of miles away, I am hoping for a 0-0 bore-fest. Call me un-American if you must!

Dan Wiersema
Founder, Free Beer Movement
Hot and muggy, an afternoon in San Pedro Sula, let alone a match, is a sort of hell. I used to live in SPS and mid-day is nothing short of disgusting in that city. Add in air pollution that would make L.A. look good and a boisterous home crowd and you can see why few teams escape with a victory or even a draw in Honduras. The U.S. will need every bit of its focus and athleticism to outwit and outrun the Catrachos. I think a draw is as good as we can expect. Bradley the one to watch.

Noah Davis
Deputy Editor, American Soccer Now
My prediction: a result for the United States, whether a draw or a win. In stark contrast to 2009, the Honduran media has little faith their Catrachos can earn the victory as they are struggling to find their form. (The decision to play in the middle of the day reeks of desperation.) Geoff Cameron sounds especially confident and I'm not sure Honduras has the attacking strength to break through for more than one goal. I'll say 2-1 U.S., with goals coming from Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore.

Dan Levy
National Lead Writer, Bleacher Report

Honduras isn't an easy start for Klinsmann and the United States, but as we get into the Hex no match will be easy. Still, the USMNT should prevail, and with little trouble if they hope to send a message to the rest of the group. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but a solid 2-0 victory would be a good start. Two very important things to watch for the U.S. are how they secure the right side without sure-footed Steve Cherundolo, and what the future without Landon Donovan really looks like. The future, after all, is here.

Maura Gladys
Writer, American Soccer Now
Despite his penchant to preach attacking soccer, Klinsmann and the U.S. play for the tie in San Pedro Sula. The back four will stay compact and will look to capitalize on counter attacks and set pieces, which is sometimes a trademark of an American team that feels outmatched. Jozy Altidore starts up top in a 4-5-1 which will allow Dempsey more freedom to pick up the ball in the pocket between the back four and the midfield and run at the defense. Honduras scores early, and Dempsey gets the equalizer. 1-1.

Brian Sciaretta
Contributor for Yanks Abroad, ASN, and NYTimes Goal Blog

I can’t say I am all that confident the U.S. will earn a result in Honduras. These road games in CONCACAF are hard and the U.S. is not playing to the sum of their parts. Do they have more talent than Honduras? Yes. But this is also a U.S. team that has struggled offensively under Jurgen Klinsmann—a coach who likes to play with too many defensive midfielders. They struggle to maintain possession against talented teams and a draw would be a fantastic result for the Americans. Prediction: Honduras 2, U.S. 0.

Jon Arnold
ASN CONCACAF Correspondent
Nobody expects this game to be easy, but the Honduras starting XI shows it will be a plodding match. That might work out for the U.S., who are still in flux at center back. The Honduran fullbacks are inexperienced, but the center backs are strong. If the American forwards can show some power, the U.S. could get a tremendous start to the Hex. United States 2, Honduras 1

Graham Ruthven
Freelance soccer writer
I expect Jurgen Klinsmann’s side to step it up against a better standard of opposition, like Honduras. It was a struggle to qualify for the Hexagonal but the U.S.’s quality should tell in the end, particularly if Timothy Chandler, Omar Gonzalez, and Geoff Cameron make the lineup to deal with the physicality of the Honduras attack. Of course the worry is that the USA will miss Landon Donovan more than we can know right now but with Jozy Altidore in great form for AZ Alkmaar (15 goals in 20 games) Donovan’s omission shouldn’t be too telling. Honduras 1, U.S. 2

Kirsten Heimlich Women United FC
I'm normally not one for predictions—call me superstitious. That being said I do have a good feeling about the game. I think Honduras will get the first goal probably in the first half. But I can see an early goal in the second half by the U.S. to tie it up—by Dempsey. And here's where my good feeling goes out on a limb: I think the U.S. will get the game winner in the dying minutes by none other than Jozy Altidore. Oh, and Jones will get another yellow card.

OK, now it's your turn. Leave your prediction—100 words or less, please!—in the comments below.

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