The U.S. Men's National Team opens up their 10-game campaign to assure qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a visit to Honduras. And waiting for them at Olympic Stadium will be 2012 MLS Defender of the Year runner-up Victor Bernardez.
"Big Vic" Bernardez, the San Jose Earthquakes defensive captain, has played a solid role for Los Catrachos throughout the Central American nation's effort to qualify for its second consecutive World Cup. Four years ago, American defender Jonathan Bornstein became a national hero in Honduras, when his goal in the last round of the Hex propelled the tiny nation to South Africa.
The MLS contingent on the USMNT is not expected to have too great a role in Wednesday's match, but the American domestic league will be represented well by Honduras. In addition to Bernardez, Hondurans Oscar Boniek García features for Houston Dynamo, Jerry Bengtson plays with New England, and Mario Roberto Martinez has joined Seattle Sounders.
While winning on the road would be a great accomplishment for the USMNT, even a draw would be a great result in round one of Hex qualifying. The rule of thumb for CONCACAF teams hoping to make it to the World Cup finals is to win at home and draw on the road. Bernardez and his Los Catrachos teammates will want to collect all 3 points for themselves.