In the sweltering afternoon heat and amidst the perpetual buzz of vuvuzelas, the U.S. began the final stage of World Cup qualification in Honduras. The U.S. seemed prepared for the dangers of CONCACAF away days from the start and had to be content with a scoreless first half hour. Jermaine Jones found Clint Dempsey with a wonderful pass up the middle though, and the U.S. were on the board first in the 36th minute (video below).
The lead didn't last long, however, as Honduras' Juan Carlos Garcia executed a brilliant and powerful overhead kick inside the box to equalize just four minutes later.
UPDATE: Honduras scored a go-ahead goal in the 78th minute. A win wasn't imperative for the U.S. in this match, but after scoring first it's looking like a wasted opportunity to get off to a comfortable start.
The defending was spotty from the U.S. and 22-year-old Timothy Chandler failed to impress after so much was done to ensure his commitment to the team while fending off interest from Germany. Some will point to a veteran leader like Carlos Bocanegra sitting on the bench as the reason for the U.S.'s backline troubles, but Jurgen Klinsmann went with a younger starting XI in the hopes of giving them the experience they'll need if they are going to be the future of the team. Will he stick with them or fall back on the team's older status quo?
Either way, Landon Donovan's phone is probably ringing right now.