Saturday, March 15, 2008
Deja vu Honduras?
Announcer: With four and six points respectively, the U.S. and Honduras come to the final game of Group A with the chance to win the group still at stake.
Mario Martinez: I think we’re playing well.We’ve been gaining confidence and hitting a good rhythm. We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We haven’t had a bad game yet. We controlled the ball most of the time, thank God, and we hope to win again.
Alexis Mendoza: It’s the same respect we have for any rival. We want the team to continue to control the pace of the match. We can only do that if we respect our rivals. We want to be the first, and that means it will be an important match for us.
Announcer: Honduras has already qualified to the semifinals, so it has the luxury to rest players, while the U.S. thinks only of qualification.
Michael Orozco: We have to start things well and come out to win. We’re playing for everything in this game and need to concentrate well and focus well to try and qualify.
Jaime Motta: The Honduran coach said that six of his players were injured after the match versus Cuba, including captain Jefferson Bernardez, Hendry Thomas, and Ramon Nunez. He’s going to wait to see who recovers before deciding on a starting squad.
The reason I'm skeptical is that this feels like 2004 all over again, when Honduras sure looked like they took it easy in the final match of group play in order to avoid facing Mexico in the semifinals. It didn't really work out for them, because they lost to Costa Rica in the other semi, though not as badly as the U.S. lost to Mexico. On the other hand, perhaps the benefit of qualifying early is to rest important players for the crucial semifinal match.