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Honduras Squad Selection is Formidable

Wilson Palacios Honduras Squad Selection is Formidable

Honduras will be without Captain Amado Guevara for the mammoth clash with the United States on Saturday. While the USA is without Clint Dempsey, the Americans come in with a full complement of players otherwise. (Except for Mo Edu, who of course has been injured for some time now.)

Confidence has been high at US Camp this week in Miami. Charlie Davies told Reuters that the US could win the World Cup next year. Landon Donovan’s amazing summer of football likely ranks him among the top international footballers in the world.  (note before people go crazy on that statement, Donovan is one of the top international footballers- perhaps the most a valuable to his successful team than any other in the world. This statement is based on his form for the US versus other comparable players form for their national teams. It in no way reflects on club performances) Tim Howard’s goalkeeping has been spectacular, and skipper Carlos Bocanegra’s solid play has been a storyline of the French League.

The US also has a record number of players in Europe right now, while Honduras has comparatively few. The Hondurans almost got Osman Chavez over to Spurs right before the deadline, but the deal fell through.

When you add in the uncertain political situation, the US should be favored to win this game. But perhaps, they should not be favored. For some time now, I have touted Honduras as an emerging CONCACAF superpower. The Honduran program, I believe has the right combination of technically skilled players and athletically gifted ones as well to really compete with the United States and to overtake Mexico in the race for CONCACAF’s top dog.

But for years now, Honduras has under performed at the top level. Whether it was political instability affecting football, the inability of the players to get along, or a coaching crisis, Honduras has faced it.

While Honduras has far fewer players in Europe than the US, those that are in top leagues, tend to play vital roles for their clubs.  While automatic US first team selection Michael Bradley has only played 135 minutes of competitive league football since the last international break, his Honduran counterpart Wilson Palacios has started every Premier League match for third place Spurs. While Jozy Altidore sits on the Hull bench behind a Dutch World Cup and Champions League veteran, Carlo Costly is playing and scoring goals in Europe. While Oguchi Onyewu hardly sees the field for Milan, Maynor Figeroua has played just about every minute of the Premier League season for Wigan.

So while American fans and players expect to come out on top, it would be difficult to imagine a more difficult opponent, with more in form players than the US will face in a critical game on Saturday. Even those players that aren’t in form, for example Inter’s surplus to requirements striker David Suazo, have a quality the US defense doesn’t see much in CONCACAF.  The US beat Honduras three times this summer, but Thomas, Suazo, and Torino’s Julio Cesar De Leon (aka Rambo) did not play in any of the three matchups.

The United States has performed less than convincingly on the road in CONCACAF. One goal victories on the road against the likes of Cuba, Barbados, Guatemala, and Trinidad were met with criticism at home. But a one goal victory in San Pedro Sula would clinch US passage to South Africa, and be a monumental achievement against such a talented side.

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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12 Responses to Honduras Squad Selection is Formidable

  1. I’ll be there personally!

    GO USA!

  2. eplnfl says:

    Kartik, Thanks for staying up on things for us while your out of the country. You are devoted to the job.

    You well note the lack of playing time for US team members in other countries. How much is that due to a a European view that US players have talent but lack certain “fundamentals” of the European game?

    I have to agree with with you on Landon Donovan. As much as I was not a huge fan of his until recently his play in various competitions over this year has been superlative. You have to include him in the group of top flight world class players. He has earned our respect!

    Honduras is clearly talented. The political situation at home has taken a turn for the better and maybe this will encourage the team and the home crowd to great efforts. While not a math major we are in the zone of scoreboard watching. The game is a late one and much of the other action will be complete by kickoff I believe. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong here, but the point is by the time the game starts someone may figure a draw gets both teams in. One story line I saw that the US can get beat but just needs to score as many goals as Costa Rica to get in. So I guess we should watch out for interesting play based on the scoreboard.

  3. Grunthos says:

    “While the USA is without Clint Dempsey, the Americans come in with a full complement of players otherwise. (Except for Mo Edu, who of course has been injured for some time now.)”

    Don’t forget Jermaine Jones, also injured since midsummer.

  4. Robert says:

    Great Article. I love to hear people’s arguments that the USA has the best talent because most of our players are in Europe without knowing the facts from our opponents. Most of our players are in mid-table/regulation teams or riding the pine at bigger clubs. Thanks for the insight.

  5. Tom says:

    Informative article, thanks Kartic. It is good to know more about this Hondorus team, I hope they qualify. My prediction is we loose this game, but win and qualify on Wednesday.

    I disagree with the poster who says Donovan is one of the best players in the world. He has great matches, and great moments in good matches, but lacks consistency. I suppose all players have bad matches, but at some point an elite player needs to be a star in a top European domestic league and have a good champions league campaign, or consistently dominate a second tier league (like the MLS) on a weekley basis and impress internationally. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Donovan fan and an MLS fan and I think he is a great US and MLS player, but I think he dissappears at the next level a bit, and I’ve seen him disinterested in run-of-the-mill MLS games in Colorado.

  6. Tooth Fairy says:

    Mate,

    To say that Landon Donovan is a world class player is to show that you have no clue whatsoever about football. I will give you that he is a good player, but that is it.

    As Tom correctly says, until he is a star in a top league, then we can talk. Come on, the guy plays in the MLS !!!!

    the only world class player in Concacaf is Marquez. Palacios and Suazo from Honduras are in a tier below World Class, and in the next tier you would find players like Donovan.

    Quite simple, really LOL

  7. sal says:

    “When you add in the uncertain political situation, the US should be favored to win this game”
    I just read the article by J. Davis and he explains why the uncertain political situation is favorable to Houndoras, I agree with Davis. The energy for that crowd is going to be unbeliveable. Anyways you can read that article here. http://www.matchfitusa.com/2009/10/usa-honduras-reasonable-expectations.html

  8. huricano says:

    Donavon is the greatest American field player, but not a top 50 world talent.

    At to the statement, “[t]he US also has a record number of players in Europe right now, while Honduras has comparatively few,” please not that the Hondurans in Europe are actually doing well.

  9. JMart says:

    Donovan is not world class. He has had great games against great teams every once in a while. huricano has it right that he is the best field player to come out of the U.S., but have we ever produced a world class player at any position other than goalkeeper? Reyna was close, but ultimately not.

    Kartik writes all the time about how the current generation is so much less talented that previous US teams. I don’t agree. There are players who have been better at particular positions at particular points in there careers (John O’Brian, Reyna, Ramos, McBride, Sennah, Pope, etc.) but I think if you took an average of quality across teams in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, and currently, I am not convinced the earlier teams would beat this team on a consitent basis. At best I think the 2002 team would beat this team 50% of the time.

    The big thing that has dropped off since 2002 has been the work rate / athleticism. The US always had the advantage in that category, but I’m not convinced we do anymore. If we could bring that ‘in your grille’ high work rate every game, we would become a very difficult opponent. Look how it worked on Egypt at the Confed Cup. I haven’t read any commentator remark on how high on the pitch we played them in the first 30 minutes – to the point where the goalkeeper and defenders had real difficulty even passing to each other out of the back. Their game got totally thrown off and they never recovered. I’d like to see that same spirit applied to every game, not just when we need a miracle.

    In general, there has been so much negativity surrounding this final hexaganal, but in reality it hasn’t deviated from what was expected. The U.S. has won all their home games, and collected 4 points on the road out of 4 games. Did anybody who closely follows the USMNT for the last decade think that the US would win at either Azteca or at Saprissa? This was highly unlikely. Normally, this kind of points total at this stage would have a team through or very close to through.

    The only thing that’s really changed in this hex is the rise of Honduras. it’s thrown a monkey wrench into the qualification process, but ultimately I think it’s good for the region. The real suprise has been the complete collapse of Costa Rica. CR losing to T+T is a real possibility, and if that happens, the U.S. is in.

    Ultimately, the rise of U.S. to a top tier team, or even a second tier team, is a very long project – one that will be measured not in WC cycles, but in generations. Realistically, it will be a 20-40 year process from here, if it even happens at all. Most commentators on this site want this growth for the US, but expectations have to be moderated and realistic.

    In the end, I have very little doubt the US will make this WC. Let’s just try to not do another 3 and out once we get there.

  10. Mario says:

    Honduras national teem has great players, the only thing that they is someone
    that can find the chemistry betwin their great players!!! Then you we can talk about being with the best teems in the world!! So far Honduras has the nicest soccer of the CONCACAF with short passes the pouse that Amado gevara brings to the teem end
    the individuality with David Suazo en Coskly!!!

  11. kmart says:

    peace out sucker the US rock

  12. NFL Jerseys says:

    I have very little doubt the US will make this WC. Let’s just try to not do another 3 and out once we get there.

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