A fine individual goal from Clint Dempsey in the 37th minute - the striker twisting and turning before unleashing a fierce shot from 20 yards - was all that separated the teams on a windy and rainy night in South Florida.
But that was enough for the German who after taking over in July from Bob Bradley saw his team draw and suffer two defeats in his opening three games.
Former Germany and Bayern Munich coach Klinsmann has been trying to impose a new style of play on the team but the victory was clearly a relief - so much so that in a Freudian slip he referred to securing the 'points' that aren't available outside of competitive games.
"After 20-25 minutes I think we took over and had a lot more chances and I had the feeling it was just a question of time before we scored," he said.
"The important thing was that we got the three points because this team is hungry also for success and they want to do well and get the results going right. They controlled the game even though if we had the sense that with their quality Honduras might create something out of nothing," he said.
Certainly there were plenty of opportunities for both teams in what was an open game played in difficult conditions.
Dempsey thought he had a second goal in the 84th minute, but he was ruled to have fouled as he headed in a Jonathan Spector cross.
The Central Americans, who will be among the U.S.'s rivals in CONCACAF qualifying for a place in the 2014 World Cup, tested keeper Tim Howard on several occasions but wasted some good chances, none more glaring than when an unmarked Jerry Bengston headed wide at the back post on the hour.
The U.S. could have had more themselves. Defender Oguchi Onyewu and winger Brek Shea both failed embarrassingly to convert from close-range chances, the latter falling over the ball from just a few yards out.
Twenty-one year-old Shea was one of the more positive performers, however. The tall, blond-haired Texan again showed composure and inventiveness and linked up well with German-born Timmy Chandler on the left.
Another German-U.S. dual citizen, Danny Williams, made his debut and did a solid job on the right, giving Klinsmann more options in midfield.
The U.S. will face Ecuador in New Jersey on Tuesday and Klinsmann hopes the victory will help his team as they adjust to his new approach.
"The transition for the team might be a bit easier when they get wins in and results, along with getting challenged from us coaches to step it up and go to the next level," he said.
"It's good to have the feeling that we are doing the right thing but also good to feel we are getting the results in."
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