The US travels to politically unstable San Pedro Sula Saturday night to face Honduras in their final road match of their 2010 World Cup Qualification campaign. Through eight home matches the Hondurans are undefeated (8-0-0) scoring 22 goals and only conceding 3. The US won the home leg in Chicago coming from behind for a 2-1 victory. The United States is currently in first place of the CONCACAF qualifying group (5-1-2) 16 points, while Honduras is third (4-1-3) 13 points. The top three teams from CONCACAF will advance to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and the US could claim the first automatic berth with a win Saturday. Here are the scenarios in which the US qualifies Saturday: a US win and they are through; a Costa Rica loss - regardless of the US result will clinch it as well; or if Costa Rica draws Trinidad and Tobago and the US draws Honduras. If the US fails to qualify Sunday, they can still clinch a berth with a win or draw vs. Costa Rica at estadio RFK on Wednesday night. Exciting right!?!?......except for the fact that you won't be able to see the fucking match in the US, unless you are in close proximity to one of the 29 American bars that have paid for the rights to show the closed circuit only broadcast of the match.
Nicknamed 'los catrachos' which in english means 'the hondurans' (clever huh?), the Honduran men's national soccer team played their first organized match in 1921 falling to their western neighbors Guatemala by a respectable score of 10-1. Tensions is Central America between Honduras and El Salvador came to a head in the summer of 1969, when rioting during a qualifying match for the 1970 World Cup sparked a 6 day war, dubbed the football war, in which over 2,100 were killed. Honduras failed to qualify for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, while El Salvador was eliminated in the group stage losing to Mexico, Belgium, and the USSR, conceding 9 goals while scoring 0. Honduras' greatest result in tournament play came during the 1981 CONCACAF Championship where wins against Haiti, Cuba, and Canada, as well as draws with El Salvador and Mexico were enough for them to be crowned tournament champions. Honduras' only appearance in World Cup play was during 1982 where they failed to advance out of group play, posting two draws (Spain 1-1, Northern Ireland 1-1) and one loss (Yugoslavia 0-1).
The Catrachos play the majority of their home matches in San Pedro Sula. The nickname 'los catrachos' comes from Honduran General Florencio Xatruch. In the mid 1800's American expat William Walker was attempting to conquer all of Central America and re-establish slavery, after his defeat by Generla Xarruch, Nicaraguans yelled out ¡Vienen los xatruches!, meaning "Here come Xatruch's boys!" However, Nicaraguans had so much trouble pronouncing the general's last name that they altered the phrase to los catruches and ultimately settled on los catrachos. San Pedro Sula was originally settled in 1536 with the name Villa de San Pedro de Puerto Caballos. The city's name became San Pedro Sula in the 18th century, after several changes. The "Sula" part of its name comes from the Minas de Sula, gold mines located to the west of the village of Naco. Today, over one million residents call San Pedro Sula home, making it the countries second largest city behind the capital - Tegucigalpa.San Pedro Sula's Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano was built in 1997 when the city hosted the Central American Games. With a capacity of over 45,000 it is also the home grounds for C.D. Marathón as well as Real C.D. España.
head to head record
Over the years the United States and Honduras have faced each other fifteen times, with the US holding a commanding lead of 10 wins, 2 draws, and 3 losses, with a goal differential of +13, as well as a 3-1-1 record in World Cup Qualification. The US has only played four matches away to Honduras, their last a 2-1 US win in March of 2001. Overall the US is 2-1-1 in matches on Honduran soil. Most recently the US defeated Honduras 2-0 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semi-Finals (July 23rd) as well as during Gold Cup group play 2-0 (July 8th). The home leg for the US was June 6th at Chicago's Soldier Field, where the US won 2-1 (Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra on the goals). Five current US players have scored against los Catrachos, with Donovan notching three, while Bocanegra, Brian Ching, and defenders Clarence Goodson and Oguchi Onyewu have all added one. Onyewu's scored his first national team goal against Honduras, a game-winner in the 92nd minute that sent the U.S. into the final of the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Panama. The most famous match between the two sides occured during U-23 Olympics Qualifying match in 2008 when American Tiffany May decided a semi-naked pitch invasion was necessary during the 77th minute. The US U-23 side went on to win 1-0.
Reinaldo Rueda has managed Honduras since 2006. Born in Medellín, Columbia, Rueda's claim to fame was from his job as the Colombian Youth Coach. With the Colombian U-20 squad he finished 3rd in the U-20 World Cup in 2003. He also lead the Colombian U-17 team to a fourth place finish that same year. After a disastrous start to qualifying Colombia promoted him to being the Senior Coach for the qualification to 2006 World Cup. The team was supposed to be near last spot on the CONMEBOL qualification but finished in a respectable sixth place. Colombia failed to qualify by only 1 point, and the blame was placed on Rueda even though Colombia had only one point through five games when he took charge. As coach of the Hondurans since 2006 he took a team missing most of it's stars to the quarterfinals of the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup as well as a semifinal appearance in 2009.
Honduras is captained by Toronto FC midfielder Amado 'el lobo' Guevara. Guevara is the all time cap leader for the catrachos netting 29 goals in his 128 appearances, also being named tournament MVP in the Hondurans third place finish at the 2001 Copa America. Over the course of 17 year career he's started for Olimpia, Saprissa, Motagua, the NY RedBulls, and Chivas USA among others. Guevara is joined in midfield by Ramón Núñez formerly of FC Dallas, and currently playing at Cruz Azul. Former LA Galaxy striker Carlos Pavón, Benefica forward David Suazo, as well as Carlo Costly of Birmingham City lead their attack. Wigan Athletic teammates Maynor Figueroa and Hendry Thomas, as well as spurs midfielder Wilson Palacios round out the premiership talent, but sadly no current or former Millwall players will be on the 18 man game day roster.
Ricardo Clark became the USA's 15th different scorer in 2010 World Cup Qualifying when he netted the game winner on Sept. 9 in Trinidad & Tobago. Frankie Hejduk's (1) goal against Trinidad & Tobago joined Carlos Bocanegra (2) and Oguchi Onyewu (1) as the other defenders to score in qualifying. Jozy Altidore leads all scorers (6), with Clint Dempsey (5) right behind him. Michael Bradley (4), Brian Ching (4) and Landon Donovan (4) have found the net with some frequency, while Charlie Davies (2) and DaMarcus Beasley (2) have also registered multiple goals. Also on the score sheet with one goal each are Freddy Adu, Kenny Cooper, Eddie Johnson and Eddie Lewis. Should be an interesting match on Saturday with Honduras needing points to keep their World Cup chances alive, while the US will look to claim their sixth consecutive appearance in the big dance.
Prediction US 2 : 1 Honduras (goals from Donovan & Davies)