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A feather in their caps

Americans quickly dispatch Honduras

FOXBOROUGH -- The party started in the Gillette Stadium parking lots more than an hour before last night's match. Thousands of Honduras fans danced to pulsating rhythms and waved the nation's flag in support of their men's national soccer team, which faced the United States in an international friendly.

The fans brought the festive mood into the stadium, where they clearly outnumbered US fans among the crowd of 11,533 and made a joyful noise throughout the prematch ceremonies.

Then the match began.

The Hondurans' celebration gradually grew silent as it quickly became apparent that Honduras was no match for the Americans, who prevailed, 4-0, and served notice that they are ready for World Cup qualifying, which begins June 13 against Grenada.

Quicker to the ball and more assertive, Team USA set the tone from the outset, and on a night when captain Claudio Reyna was honored for his 100th cap, teammate Brian McBride stole the show with two first-half goals.

The Americans coasted from there, adding two goals late in the second half, when both teams substituted freely in an attempt to fine-tune their World Cup rosters.

Team USA improved to 3-1-2 this season, and 11-1-3 all time in Foxborough. The Americans have also recorded four consecutive shutouts at Gillette Stadium by an aggregate score of 13-0.

"We told them at halftime that we need to win in the second half by at least as many goals as we did in the first half. That was accomplished, but it didn't come easy and wasn't perfect in the second half, but four goals is four goals," said coach Bruce Arena, whose team outshot Honduras, 14-6.

The Americans were the aggressors from the outset and kept play in the Honduras end through most of the first five minutes. In the 11th minute, Honduras goalie Victor Coello went to the ground after a near collision with McBride.

"I really didn't catch him," said McBride. "I think I might have grazed his stomach. The guys said he slipped afterward and when he slipped his [left] shoulder popped out."

Coello was replaced by backup Hector Medina, and the Americans kept the substitute busy.

In the 22d minute, defender Steve Cherundolo booted a cross-field pass to McBride, who scored on a header to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.

Said McBride: "Steve got the ball wide, Conor [Casey] made a good run near post, and Steve whipped in a great ball that my man who was marking me thought Conor was going to get, so Conor's run took my man away and I was able to get a standing header."

In the 37th minute, McBride moved to second all time in US scoring when he fielded a soft pass from Casey and fired the ball past Medina for a 2-0 advantage.

In the 39th minute, Honduras captain Amado Guevara backhanded DaMarcus Beasley in the head while battling for the ball and Beasley fell to the ground. That drew a red card, and Guevara's ejection prompted the Honduras fans to litter the field with debris.

"We need to respect the decision of the referee," said Honduras coach Bora Milutinovic, a former Team USA coach. "We need to control emotions and when we don't control our emotions, it becomes very difficult."

The Americans struck again in the 77th minute on midfielder Eddie Lewis's unassisted goal, and in the 81st minute defender Tony Sanneh scored off an assist from Reyna.

"It was great to get a win," said Reyna. "Now, moving into qualifying, some of the guys haven't been through it, and all I can tell you is that it is not going to be as easy as it was [last night]. But I think we're definitely on the right wave."

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