USMNT player Weston McKennie addressed the inherent pressure when facing Honduras on Wednesday in the last of the January/February World Cup qualifiers, adding “it’s there automatically, but I think we don't really let it try and get to us.”
The United States is coming off of a 2-0 loss against Canada on Sunday, keeping the American side in second place on the Concacaf table with 18 points in 10 games. While Canada is now four points clear at the top, the USMNT are tied with Mexico.
With the race for top three as tight as it is, the USMNT must win against Honduras to make up for Sunday’s performance.
“The pressure is there automatically, but I think we don't really let it try and get to us. I think we're at our best when we have fun with the game and we enjoy it and we play the way that we know that we can,” said midfielder McKennie. “We just have one mindset and we just want to enjoy the game, and play as if we were kids on a field back when we were younger.”
When asked about what needed to improve ahead of Wednesday’s qualifier, McKennie did not shy away from pointing out the team’s inherent weaknesses.
“For the transition, I think that's something that we could improve on and take advantage of, and create opportunities out of that because we're a young team, we’re a team that can run, we’re a team that loves to press,” said McKennie.
“We’re a team that is most effective and create a lot of our chances from winning balls and pressuring and going straight to goal. I think we kind of held back on that these past two games and didn’t use it to its full ability, I guess, being effective in the final third.”
The American side will host Honduras at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where it's expected to be one degree Fahrenheit with wind chills of -25 to -30. The team will be without Tyler Adams and Chris Richards due to injury.