San Pedro Sula, Honduras (Sports Network) - The final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying got off to a shaky start for the United States on Wednesday as the Americans sustained a 2-1 defeat at Honduras after Jerry Bengtson netted the winning goal in the 79th minute.
Clint Dempsey fired the U.S. in front after 36 minutes, but the home side leveled the match before halftime with a sensational overhead kick from Juan Carlos Garcia.
The match was there for the taking as the second half wore on, and it was the home side that took advantage with some suspect defending leading to the goal.
After failing to collect a point on Wednesday, the Americans need a win at home against Costa Rica on March 22 to bounce back before a difficult trip to Mexico four days later.
Both teams started slowly but it was the U.S. that found the net first when a quality chip from Jermaine Jones was played into the path of Dempsey, who smacked a volley past goalkeeper Noel Valladares and inside the far post.
It was the best move of the game to that point, but Honduras responded in the 40th minute with Garcia scoring on a fantastic overhead kick from 10 yards that left U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard rooted to his spot.
Chances were at a premium after the break and the difference came 11 minutes from time when defender Geoff Cameron allowed Boniek Garcia to slip in behind him.
Garcia beat both Cameron and the onrushing Howard to the ball before squaring it to Bengtson, who rolled it into the empty net.
The Americans had won 12 of the previous 18 meetings between the two sides prior to Wednesday's result.