Honduras’s chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup are going down with each US win and each of their own losses. Los Catrachos, having accumulated just four points in the CONCACAF Hexagonal (a home win over Trinidad and Tobago and a home draw against Costa Rica), had little room for error going into their match against Mexico on the road on Thursday night. No team is expected to get points at the Estadio Azteca, but another loss would add to the doom of Honduras.
3-0 was the result in Mexico City and it was, as was expected, to the delight of the home fans. Mexico pretty easily rolled Honduras en route to their fourth win in five qualification games, basically assuring a spot in Russia next year barring any unforeseen collapses.
Cubo Torres, enjoying a breakout season in MLS with the Dynamo, was not named to Mexico’s World Cup qualifying roster, although he was named to their Gold Cup preliminary roster. There was one MLS player on the field for El Tri: LA’s Giovani dos Santos, who orchestrated the attack in central midfield for 56 minutes. He’ll be on their Confederations Cup roster for this summer.
Honduras featured four MLS players making appearances against Mexico, three of which play for the Dynamo. Alberth Elis started up top, while FC Dallas’s Maynor Figueroa started along the backline. Both played all 90 minutes. Boniek Garcia and Romell Quioto entered in the second half as attacking subs to try and help Honduras salvage a draw while the score was still 1-0, but any chance they had was negated when Hirving Lozano and Raul Jimenez scored three minutes apart for Mexico.
Given their talent deficiency and the rough circumstances that come with playing at the Azteca, Honduras started the game content to sit deep and let Mexico attack, hopeful to get out on the counter with Elis. They stuck with this for pretty much all 90 minutes, and needless to say, it didn’t work too well. Mexico kept 66% of the ball and the game was slowed to a crawl as they spent most of their time passing it around in midfield.
This tweet sums up Elis’s role pretty well:
I'm only watching Honduras to see Alberth Elis pop up a camping chair in Mexico's box and drink pints of Salva Vida for 90 minutes.— Will Parchman (@WillParchman) June 9, 2017
He didn’t have much service, so naturally he didn’t have many goal-scoring chances. The same goes for Quioto later in the game. Mexico were too good, and Honduras’s extremely deep 5-3-2 did not lend itself to generating attacks. Not a whole lot happened in this game, to be completely honest.
Honduras play in Panama on June 13th, a game they probably have to win to seriously stick around in the competitive Hex. Looking for more attacking influence, they might (probably should) entrust Quioto and Boniek with starting spots alongside Quioto.
As fans, do you root for Dynamo players to get international opportunities, or do you hope they don’t so as to avoid injury and stay fresh for club games? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that in the comments section.