US gets outrage from Honduras over having to play in -19C weather in Minnesota

The United States has been beaten up by opponents of Honduras after having to play in freezing -2F weather during their 3-0 World Cup qualifying defeat in Minnesota, with the decision being labeled ‘unimaginable’.

The visitors were outraged by the choice of venue and the horrifying conditions – with two players being forced out with hypothermia during halftime and others requiring IV drops to recover.

Head coach Hernan Dario Gomez led the protests – before the game – and rejected the decision to host the game in Minnesota. He said it was “not normal” that his players, who were used to temperatures reaching 86F in their country this week, should be playing in a location that is “not to be enjoyed, but to suffer”.

As hosts, the US could choose the stadium for the game and chose Allianz Field in Minnesota — a new location that opened just three years ago but faced freezing temperatures in the Midwestern winter.

The wind chill was -8F at kick-off, making it the coldest home game in the team’s US history. The winter chill in Minnesota was enough to freeze a wet T-shirt on the field on TV coverage and players wore protective gear.

US had chosen Minnesota not only to limit the team’s travel time – having previously played in Columbus, Ohio and Ontario, Canada – but also to secure an advantage.

‘Of course the [U.S. Soccer] bond tried to pick the best seats for us to have an advantage over our opponent,” US midfielder Weston McKennie told the Star Tribune.

“Whether it’s the weather, or the fan base, or it’s anything. Our players are more used to playing in colder weather than Honduran players.’

On the eve of the game, when the temperature was 3F, the Honduras team could be seen practicing with no hats or heavy goats on, and they seemed just as ill-rested hours before the game, with only a few players wearing hats in the cold temperatures.

Before kick-off, Honduras boss Gomez said: “It’s inconceivable that a force in every way would bring you here to play a game and get a result. The game hasn’t started yet, but I can’t wait for it to finish. Because it is not to enjoy, but to suffer.’

But there was no chance that the game would be cancelled, as the US took a 2-0 lead at halftime. Gomez then had to withdraw goalkeeper Luis Lopez and striker Romell Quioto, both of whom understood they were suffering from hypothermia.

Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic added a third to Honduras’ woes, but the real pain inflicted was in the dressing room full-time, with some members of Gomez needing an IV. It provoked a furious reaction from the coach.

“Football should not be endured this way. I’ve had all my players treated, some players are getting IVs,” he said.

US defeated Honduras in -19C temperatures at Allianz Field in St Paul, Minnesota – with some fans and players more affected by the cold than others

Honduras struggled to adapt to freezing temperatures of -19 in their 3-0 loss to the United States

Fans were provided with hand warmers, but had to make sure they were wrapped up warm themselves

Honduras struggled to adjust to freezing temperatures of -2 in their 3-0 loss against the United States. Fans were provided with hand warmers, but had to make sure they were wrapped up warm themselves

Fans packed against the cold - but Honduras players, who were used to 86F heat, suffered badly

Fans packed against the cold – but Honduras players, who were used to 86F heat, suffered badly

But US coach Berhalter defended the decision to play the game in Minnesota – pointing out that his own squad has traveled to sweltering lands and experienced various problems from the heat.

“If we go to those countries and it’s 90 degrees and 90 percent dew point and it’s unbearable humidity and guys get dehydrated and cramp and get exhausted from the heat, that’s the nature of our competition,” he said.

“If we’re planning this match at this location, you have to assume average temperatures, daily average temperatures, and it was the best bet.

‘We want to minimize travel. We knew we would be playing in cold weather in two of the games and we thought we would do it in the third game as well, instead of changing the climate.

“The cold snap came through and it’s something we can’t control, but all we can do when that happens is try to reduce the risk by having warm weather gear and going out and competing and we did.” .’

Honduras and the US have played 28 games together since 1965, with the Central American team winning 20 of the games. Three were a draw.

It is not uncommon for the US or even Canada to use the cold weather as an advantage against other teams.

Canada had used the same tactic to beat Mexico in November, and the US did the same in the March 2013 ‘Snowclassico’ where the US defeated Mexico 1-0 in Denver, Colorado, where players partied in the snow.

However, both games were played at 29F, much warmer than the -2F in the game against Honduras.

Berhalter told the Star Tribune that it was a common tactic to help the US team, which trains regularly in Canada, gain home advantage against Central and South American teams.

“They’re all coming from the equator and it’s going to be very difficult for them to deal with these conditions,” he said. “They’re going to take a few breaths and it’s going to hit them like it’s never hit them before.”

TV experts showed how cold it was in Minnesota - with a frozen T-shirt on the field

TV experts showed how cold it was in Minnesota – with a frozen T-shirt on the field

Honduras coach Hernan Dario Gomez was furious at the decision to host the game in Minnesota

US coach Gregg Berhalter defended the call

Head coach Hernan Dario Gomez lashes out after deciding to host the Minnesota game against Gregg Berhalter (right) and his side

All players on the field were allowed to wear as many body layers as possible

All players on the field were allowed to wear as many body layers as possible

Gomez said his players were hypothermic after the game, while others needed an IV

Gomez said his players were hypothermic after the game, while others needed an IV

American defender Walker Zimmerman – who scored the second goal of the evening – believes that Honduras was simply not ready for the game in the freezing cold and that it helped them control the game.

“I don’t think they wanted to hear about that tonight,” he said. “You could just see them coming out for the warm-ups, their start 11 didn’t come out right after the half.

“Once we got that first goal, and especially the second goal, we felt like we were in shape and in control of the game.”

Enjoying the cheers from the crowd after the game, Zimmer said: “We said in the locker room before the game that it was going to be unforgettable, it was going to be iconic, but not because of the weather, but because of our intensity, our motivation. to play well. Guys came out and we really gave it to them. I am so proud of the group.’

But some of Zimmerman’s teammates admitted to having struggled in the biting cold conditions, with striker Tim Weah joking that he would “retire” if he had to play in the same weather again, and posted a meme of a frozen man.

And keeper Matt Turner – who is set to sign for Arsenal – posted the same meme, writing: ‘mood’.

Walking off the field at the end of the game, Turner simply said, “My boogers are frozen.”

Fans still enjoyed themselves after 19,000 supporters sold out for the match despite the -19 temperatures

The United States emerged victorious, but their players struggled.  Arsenal-bound Matt Turner (pictured) was allowed to wear a headgear and a muff around his waist

Fans continued to enjoy themselves after 19,000 supporters sold out for the match despite the -19 temperatures. The United States emerged victorious, but their players struggled. Arsenal-bound Matt Turner (pictured) was allowed to wear a headgear and a muff around his waist

American star Tim Weah said he would 'retire' the next time his side played under the same circumstances

American star Tim Weah said he would ‘retire’ the next time his side played under the same circumstances

More than 3,600 flights within the US will be canceled as the country faces snow, sleet and icy rain from a powerful winter storm that has closed schools and prompted multiple governors to declare a state of emergency.

On Wednesday, there were nearly 3,500 delays and 2,365 cancellations across the country, with Midwestern airports particularly hard hit.

The governors of Kentucky and Missouri have declared a state of emergency, while Illinois governor JB Pritzker has issued a disaster declaration. On Wednesday, New York’s government Kathy Hochul instructed government agencies to prepare emergency plans before the storm hits the state on Thursday.

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