McBride stars in US win
By Chris Bergin (ussocceruk.com)
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
United States got ready for the road to the 2006 World Cup in Germany with a 4-0 win over Honduras, despite not playing their best game.
Two goals from Brian McBride in the first half put the match out of reach and, at times the red, white, and blue looked strong, especially in attack.
Claudio Reyna's 100th cap came with a comprehensive victory at the expense of a Concacaf rival, with the Hondurans putting up not too much of a fight in the whitewash.
And while Bruce Arena noted after the match his disappointment in letting the ten-man opposition back into the game early in the second half, the result cannot bring the United States manager any sleepless nights.
While United States have not conceded a goal in their last 291 minutes of action, despite using several different combinations in defence, the attack has started to give confidence to the team for the near and distant future.
With qualification for the World Cup beginning in just ten days, Arena has shifted his tactical approach to a four-man box midfield, allowing players like DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan licence to attack at will behind two lead strikers.
Add to that the unusual pairing on Wednesday night of Conor Casey and McBride that proved highly efficient against Honduras, and USA look strong going into their two-legged showdown against Caribbean nation Grenada.
The two halves of Fulham striker McBride's brace were opposites on the spectrum. The opening goal 22 minutes in was a simple enough finish via a header. Steve Cherundolo's perfect cross in from the right found the unmarked goalscorer, who made quick work of his chance into the right corner past Honduran keeper Hector Medina.
His second goal was a superb effort created by Casey. Reyna's through ball found Casey, whose flick with the outside of his right boot set up the charging McBride. The Fulham forward struck it first time with his left foot, producing a screamer into the corner of the net.
While the unusual combination of two target men was productive against Honduras, McBride spread credit throughout the entire team.
"I'm lucky to be playing with a group of guys like this," said McBride after his side's comprehensive win.
"They put me in the position to score; sometimes I don't, but thankfully tonight I did."
McBride is now second on the all-time list for United States when it comes to goals scored. McBride passed former strike partner Joe-Max Moore with his two goals, and now the Fulham striker has 25 on his career resume.
He now only trails Eric Wynalda by nine for the all-time honour for the U.S.
Late goals from Eddie Lewis and Tony Sanneh made the result a formality, especially after New York/New Jersey MetroStars' Amado Guevara was sent off late in the first half for a forearm blow to the face of Beasley.
Tim Howard was barely given the chance to prove his worth to Arena, only forced into making a save three minutes from time from Emil Martinez's free kick.