DENVER — Jordan Siebatcheu scored his first international goal in the 89th minute, and the United States beat Honduras 1-0 on Thursday night to reach the final of the first CONCACAF Nations League.
John Brooks lofted a pass to Weston McKennie, who cushioned a one-hop headed pass ahead of Siebatcheu’s pass. The 26-year-old forward, who made his international debut in March, leaned forward for a diving header that put the ball past goalkeeper Edrick Menjívar.
Siebatcheu was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in France and was eligible to play for both those nations and Cameroon. He made his competitive debut as a 78th minute substitute, part of a new-look American team trying to recover from the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. He is now tied to the U.S. team.
The U.S. will play the championship match of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League on Sunday, the last time the full American player pool will gather before their pandemic-delayed World Cup qualifying opener on Sept. 2.
After losing an exhibition Sunday 2-1 at Switzerland, the U.S. traveled eight time zones to prepare for the grueling, compacted World Cup qualifying schedule.
The U.S. started its most-accomplished lineup ever. Five starters — goalkeeper Zack Steffen, right back Sergiño Dest and midfielders Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Gio Reyna — combined this season for 33 Champions League appearances. Pulisic made 10 for Chelsea, becoming the first American national team player to appear and win the final. Reyna made eight for Borussia Dortmund, Dest seven for Barcelona, McKennie seven for Juventus and Steffen one as the No. 2 keeper for Manchester City.
Pulisic had relatively few touches on a night when the U.S. created few chances.
Reyna dribbled into the penalty area and slid an open shot just wide in the 10th minute. A minute later, Steffen saved Anthony Lozano’s long-range shot.
Alberth Elis headed the ball across an open goal mouth in the 27th minute after Steffen came off his line and failed to intercept a free kick, and Josh Sargent beat Anthony Lozano to head the ball away as they both crashed into the net.
Edrick Menjívar dived to his right to parry Sargent’s header three minutes later, then blocked Pulisic’s close-range shot following a pass from Reyna.
Steffen made a sliding block in the 51st minute when Anthony Lozano broke in alone.