USA Vs. Mexico, Gold Cup Final 2011: Honduras' Hard Play Helps Out The USMNT

Despite managing to lose 2-0 to a superior Mexico side in their Gold Cup semifinal, Honduras still did the United States a significant favor on Wednesday. The USA, of course, managed to beat Panama courtesy of a Clint Dempsey goal, setting up the almost inevitable final between the two major CONCACAF powers on Saturday. Bob Bradley's team didn't exactly look spectacular (when Freddy Adu saves the day, something has gone very wrong with Plan A), but thanks to Honduras' antics they'll be facing a roughed up Mexico side.

El Tri were forced into a monumentally physical 120 minutes of soccer by their semifinal opposition, and Honduras seemed to be going out of their way to cause injuries. They succeeded in forcing Andres Guardado, hitherto their best player in the competition, off with an ankle injury - he might not be fit for the final - but more than that, they managed to target and hit Mexico's skilled players hard all match.

That tactic eventually backfired when Roger Espinoza was sent off late on, but the USA won't mind. With just two days to recover for the match, Mexico's players are battered, bruised and exhausted. Honduras have given the hosts a huge leg up before the match has even started.

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