US preps for qualifier with 0-0 tie vs Canada
HOUSTON (AP) — Omar Gonzalez was glad to be back playing with the U.S. team after two years away. Like his teammates, the young defender wasn't happy with their disappointing showing against Canada on Tuesday night.
The United States prepped for its opening game in the final round of World Cup qualifying with a dull 0-0 tie. The Americans begin the final round of World Cup qualifying on Feb. 6 against Honduras in San Pedro Sula.
"We just couldn't find the back of the net," said Gonzalez, the 6-foot-5 Los Angeles Galaxy center back.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann changed all 11 starters from November's 2-2 tie at Russia and is likely to change the entire lineup against for the Honduras game. These players were auditioning for backup roles on next week's trip, and most of them didn't show much.
Gonzalez like he needed to impress Klinsmann, too. He made his national team debut in August 2010 against Brazil and played against Chile the following January. He tore his left anterior cruciate ligament last January on his first day training with Nuremberg and returned to the field for the Galaxy on July 4, so this was his first time on the field under Klinsmann.
"To be out there, wearing the crest on my shirt was amazing," Gonzalez said. "I want to be doing that a lot more often."
Gonzalez was joined in the back by three players making their national team debuts: Tony Beltran, Matt Besler and Justin Morrow. Will Bruin and Alfredo Morales made their debuts when they entered in the 74th minute.
With Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and the other regulars remaining with their clubs in Europe for weekend matches, the U.S. started an all-Major League Soccer lineup for the first time since January 2007 against Denmark.
The game, which followed three weeks of training during the annual January camp in Carson, Calif., was the second straight 0-0 game against Canada, following another yawner at Toronto last June. Klinsmann thought his team looked tired in this one.
"You could see 3½ weeks of a lot of work in their legs," Klinsmann said. "They were missing kind of the last little piece to it, creating final chances, finishing things off."
On a night when the 28th-ranked Americans' movement was slow and accuracy was sloppy, Benny Feilhaber generated the only U.S. shot on target in the second half.
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