No Suazo = No Hope for Honduras?
For all the spinning going on in US Soccer circles the last few days’ minimal attention has been paid to the opponent tonight, Honduras, and their own woes. While Honduras still has Amado Guevara and Carlo Costly at full speed, Wilson Palacios will be playing the first match since the tragic death of his brother, while David Suazo, perhaps the most skilled player in CONCACAF, and Julio De Leon an outstanding midfielder from Parma in Serie A will miss the match due to injury and suspension respectively.
Honduras is a traditional underachiever in CONCACAF. Since we began this website and podcast I have repeatedly stated that I believed Honduras had more top line talent than anyone in the region, but continued to underachieve. This World Cup cycle has been no different with only one win off of Honduran soil, that being in the less than intimidating venue of Montreal’s Saputo Stadium.
Honduras depth however is not at the level of Mexico or the United States which is why chances of an upset tonight are minimal. Not having Suazo or De Leon takes a lot of pressure off of the US midfield which has been exposed by quick attacking players recently. The US will be without Michael Bradley but will have Sacha Kljestan available despite several erroneous reports that he had been suspended. According to FIFA’s match reports, Kljestan’s last yellow card prior to Wednesday was in the previous round of qualifying.
In the absence of DeLeon, MLS washout/failure Ramon Nunez will likely be called on. Nunez played decently for Puebla this past year including a very productive second leg of the Clausura playoffs against Pumas. But Nunez as demonstrated by his time in Dallas is a head case and doesn’t have the quality or flair to worry the US the way DeLeon or Suazo would.
The key figure on Honduras’ back line, Maynor Figueora of Wigan Atheltic has been a poor run of form at the club level. Youngster Erick Norales is being hailed as a potential star and he will be tested at Soldier Field tonight.
If you were to rank the top 10 field players from the CONCACAF region, Honduras would place more on the list than any other nation. Yet with two of those superstars missing tonight and little depth, anything other than a US win would be a shock.