Omar Gonzalez replaces Carlos Bocanegra in U.S. lineup
Omar Gonzalez replaced captain Carlos Bocanegra in central defense for the United States' World Cup qualifier at Honduras on Wednesday, and Timmy Chandler was in the starting lineup to play right back in his competitive debut for the Americans.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard was the captain for the match in San Pedro Sula as the Americans opened the final round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean. Chandler took over on the right from Steve Cherundolo, sidelined by a knee injury.
Chandler, a 22-year-old with an American father and German mother, had been eligible to play for both nations. He made nine previous appearances for the Americans, all in exhibitions, and by appearing in a competitive match for the U.S. he became ineligible to play for any other country under FIFA rules.
The game marked somewhat of a generational change for the U.S. defense, with Chandler joined by Gonzalez (24), Geoff Cameron (27) and Fabian Johnson (25).
Gonzalez, a 6-foot-4 defender for the Los Angeles Galaxy, was the only holdover in the starting lineup from last week's 0-0 tie against Canada in an exhibition at Houston. That marked his return to the national team following a two-year absence partly caused by a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. He was paired with Cameron in the center of the backline, the first time the pair played together. Johnson was on the left.
Bocanegra, who turns 34 in May, is with Racing Santander of Spain's second division and missed the team's first two games in January because of a visa issue, but he had started the club's last three.
Danny Williams, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley and Eddie Johnson were in a four-man midfield, and Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore were at forward.
Defender Matt Besler was scratched as the U.S. got down to the 23-man roster limit.
Honduras' lineup had Noel Valladares in goal; Arnold Peralta, Victor Bernandez, Maynor Figueroa and Juan Garcia on defense; Oscar Boniek Garcia, Roger Espinoza, Luis Garrido and Mario Martinez in midfield; and Jerry Bengston and Carlo Costly at forward.
The referee was Walter Quesada of Costa Rica.