With the CONCACAF Gold Cup scheduled to start on Sunday, here’s a preview of the teams in Group B.
This group includes Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti and Trinidad & Tobago; games will be played in Harrison NJ, Miami and Houston. This group lacks any of the notable heavyweights, although Honduras has established itself as one of Central America’s best teams.
We will also be privy to the participants of the Football War playing against each other for the first time in Gold Cup history. Back in 1969, Honduras and El Salvador briefly fought a war lasting 100 hours after El Salvador qualified for the 1970 World Cup at the expense of Honduras. The games were marred by violence from the stands and made an already tense relationship between the countries even worse. While the war itself was fought over multiple issues including immigration and land reform, the violence during the playoff against each other boiled over and gave the war its name.
Having competed in two World Cups, one in 1982 and one in 2010, the country has had a lot of success and is a regular at the Gold Cup, often expected to win its group. The team, currently fourth in the World Cup qualifiers, is hoping to make the short trip to Brazil next year. Like many of their competitors vying for a place at the World Cup, Honduras has rested some of their key players. Like Panama though, their team will be including some of their first team regulars. In the last Gold Cup, Honduras stumbled their way into the semi-finals before losing to Mexico in extra time. The team barely qualified from the group with only four points, then went on to beat Costa Rica in penalties before finally succumbing to Mexico.
Players to Watch – Honduras will be arriving without their Premier League stars such as Wilson Palacios, Maynor Figueroa, and Roger Espinoza, but young prospect Roger Rojas will be leading the line. He most recently scored against Jamaica in a World Cup qualifier and is one of the country’s up and coming stars often times compared to Humberto Suazo. He can be described as a fox in the box and his goal scoring record for club team Olimpia is phenomenal at a strike rate of one goal every two games. Jorge Claros is another player to look out for, having spent the entire season on loan at Hibernian, he became a key member of the Edinburgh side.