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Jones Shows Well in Defense as United States Settle for Draw with Honduras

Jermaine Jones went the distance as the USA gave up a late equalizer in a friendly against Honduras.

Mike Ehrmann

For the better part of ninety minutes, Jermaine Jones looked like he had been playing centerback at the international level his entire career.

One perfect free kick changed all that.

Luis Garrido headed home a late free kick from close range to cancel out Jozy Altidore's first half opener and the United States settled for it's second 1-1 draw of the international break, this time to visiting Honduras.

In the first half, Altidore chested down a cross in the 10th minute from Michael Bradley on the run down the left channel, cutback to the center and fired home to the near post past a diving Donis Escober.

But the chances for the US were few and far between, and Altidore's goal would be the only shot the Americans would register on goal in the game. Bradley acting as the playmaking #10 role with Mix Diskerud acting as the holding, box-to-box player in a diamond midfield. Despite completing 82% of their passes and having about 60% possession, the USA attack seemed disjointed for most of the match and players passing up potential shots for mediocre centering passes.

But into the late stages, the US still clung to a 1-0 lead until a late sliding challenge from Diskerud gave Honduras a great chance for a free kick opportunity in the 86th. Mario Martinez whipped in a dangerous cross and Garrido beat Jones to a spot and headed home past a helpless Nick Rimando.

A late push from Honduras for a winner came to nothing, although Rimando was called into action twice more in the dying stages. For a US team that was looking to send off Landon Donovan and start their 2018 World Cup cycle, two lackluster draws is not what Jurgen Klinsmann had in mind.

But there were a lot of positive performances in the game. Jones in particular did well against Romell Quioto in the second half, despite chopping him down for a yellow card on the hour mark. Diskerud was everywhere on the field as was Alejandro Bedoya but neither could create anything in the final third. Left back Greg Garza proved effective on both sides of the ball and showed off a lot of skill despite not generating a lot of chances down the left.

The Jermaine Jones centerback experiment should be considered a success after just one game, although New England Revolution fans will wonder about his availability on Thursday night for their MLS game against the Houston Dynamo. Jones distributed well out of the back and more importantly tackled well, including a sliding effort against Quioto that could've resulted in a penalty had he got it wrong and likely his second yellow card.

The United States will be in action for a pair of friendlies in November, playing Croatia at Fulham FC's Craven Cottage on the 12th followed by a game against Ireland on Nov. 18th in Dublin.