The U.S. men's soccer team began its busiest stretch of World Cup qualifying with victories over Jamaica on June 7 and Panama on June 11. With another victory over Honduras on Tuesday night in the Salt Lake City suburbs, the Americans would put themselves in commanding position to secure passage to Brazil next summer.
"The vibe is good and we're confident," captain Clint Dempsey said. "But it's about having that consistency moving forward that we can keep getting results and keep putting the game on our terms and grinding our opponents down."
The top three CONCACAF teams will earn automatic berths, with a fourth heading to a playoff in the fall against the Oceania champion. Jamaica has fallen out of contention, leaving five teams vying for the top three regional slots. A victory would also push the United States (3-1-1) five points ahead of Mexico (1-0-5), which is idle Tuesday and has already played six matches.
Remaining first in the group would also ease pressure heading into the September qualifiers at Costa Rica and home against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio. Last summer, in the semifinal round of qualifying, the Americans conceded a late goal and settled for a draw at Guatemala, setting up a tense situation before the latter portion of the schedule.
"I reminded the team I don't want to have that feeling in my stomach going into the summer break," coach Juergen Klinsmann said. "You want to continue to make this group grow and become more consistent."
Bengtson, who plays for the New England Revolution, scored a late go-ahead goal in a 2-1 victory over the United States in February in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. But the United States is 22-0-2 in its past 24 home qualifiers, the last loss coming to Honduras in 2001 in Washington.