Sunday October 9th, 2011

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Three thoughts after the U.S.'s 1-0 win in a friendly against Honduras on Saturday:

Clint Dempsey = Quality. You can bet Jurgen Klinsmann will breathe a little easier now that he has his first win as U.S. manager under his belt, and he can send some thanks to Dempsey, who scored off a nifty move to his left in the box to make the difference. Dempsey's strike was the first U.S. goal in 233 minutes over a four-game period, and it was classic Dempsey, creating something out of nothing. Dempsey had so much quality tonight. It was obvious on his goal, but you can also see it in subtle plays: the various misdirections and dummies and feints that come with Deuce's unshakeable confidence. He's razor-sharp these days, and not just for Fulham.

Brek Shea is breaking out, but he still missed a sitter. The big rooster stood out again on the left flank, combining well with left back Timmy Chandler and sending dangerous balls into the box from both sides of the field. It was Shea's cross from the right that led to Dempsey's goal, and Shea created multiple chances on a night when he showed he's probably ready to move to Europe sooner rather than later. That said, Shea had no business failing to convert on a sitter in the second half after Jozy Altidore had done some splendid work to set him up. Shea's slip was one of two shocking misses by U.S. players in the second half: Oguchi Onyewu (who had a good 45 minutes otherwise) found himself on the ball with a wide-open goalmouth only to blast it over the bar. The U.S. could have put this game away with time to spare.

The Orozco Fiscal Experiment took another hit. Klinsmann continues to use Michael Orozco Fiscal as one of his starting central defenders (over Onyewu and the uncalled Omar Gonzalez), but that choice may be getting harder and harder to make after Orozco Fiscal struggled through the first half on Saturday before being removed for Onyewu. It was Orozco Fiscal who was beaten by Jerry Bengston in the first half, only for Tim Howard to save the U.S.'s bacon by making a sterling stop. There's nothing wrong with giving a player a chance and find out if he can hack it at this level, but it's becoming fairly clear that Orozco Fiscal may not have what it takes as an international player.

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