BOCA RATON Florida (Reuters) - Maynor Figueroa’s header four minutes from time canceled out Jozy Altidore’s opener and earned Honduras a 1-1 draw with the United States in their friendly on Tuesday.
Altidore has been struggling for form with his Premier League club Sunderland but, playing in his hometown, repaid the faith shown in him by U.S. head coach Juergen Klinsmann.
The forward had a great chance to open the scoring in the eighth minute when he robbed Wilmer Crisanto and broke into the box but instead of shooting he delivered an awkward pass to Clint Dempsey, who screwed his shot wide.
Two minutes later, however, Altidore made amends in fine style, taking a ball from Michael Bradley, cutting inside past Victor Bernardez and firing a low shot into the bottom corner.
Honduras could have drawn level in the 20th minute when U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s poor clearance fell straight to Andy Najar but his lofted effort from 25 yards was just over the bar.
Hernan Medford’s team applied some late pressure and it eventually paid off when Mario Martinez whipped in a free-kick from the right and Figueroa broke free of Jermaine Jones to head home the equalizer.
Klinsmann said the result was a fair reflection of a game in which his team were unable to maintain their positive start.
“I think it was an interesting game. We started really well and got that goal through Jozy, a nice goal and then maybe after 30-35 minutes we kind of dropped a little bit and in the second half it was then difficult to keep the rhythm and sharpness going,” he said.
“Honduras looked good, energetic and at the end of the day they deserved the equalizer, so I think as a result 1-1 was OK,” Klinsmann added.
Klinsmann experimented with Jones at the center of defense alongside Matt Besler and the German-born midfielder looked comfortable in the role, distributing the ball well from the back and making some strong last man challenges.
“The thinking behind that was leadership. We are trying to push further up the field and then you can have longer balls that drop over the back line,” Klinsmann added.
“I am looking for him to be loud and vocal and also to deliver the clean passes which are one of his trademarks. I think it went well.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford/John O'Brien