Honduras evaluates adjustment to Suarez
By Ivan Orozco

 

HOUSTON - "Los Catrachos" were eliminated from the Gold Cup, ready to head home.

After a 2-0 extra time loss to Mexico in the semifinals, few of Honduras' players wanted to talk, with most walking past reporters, staring ahead and speeding through the interview area.

Veteran striker Carlo Costly was indicative: didn't stop, walking through the area with headphones covering his ears. The players' body language depicted disappointment.

Despite making to the final four of the biennial CONCACAF championship, Honduras had to go home after holding five-time and defending champion Mexico goalless for 90 minutes.

"I'm very satisfied. I am proud for the way out team was tactically planted on the field," Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez said. "We did what we could to try and get the win. I congratulate Mexico. I think it did things right. It is a rightful finalist and we are calm heading into our future."

Hired after Honduras won the Copa Centroamericana in January, the Gold Cup was Suarez's first test as manager of "Los Catrachos".

It opened with a goalless draw against Guatemala, routed Grenada 7-1 and then lost 1-0 to Jamaica. A penalty kick win over Costa Rica in the quarterfinals was followed by its best performance, holding the tournament's top scoring team scoreless until Aldo De Nigris gave Mexico a lead three minutes into extra time and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez sealed the win six minutes later.

Midfielder Ramon Nunez likes to think the team has begun to adapt to Suarez.

"I think it was a tight game at times. Other than plays that led to the goals, I think Mexico had only a few chances," Nunez said. "We maintained a good blocking scheme but unfortunately it wasn't enough. It's a bit sour. We obviously wanted to get to the final but we did take some positive things to move forward with."

 

Honduras will proably also have to take a look at which veteran players will stay on board the senior team and for how long. Starting goalkeeper Noel Valladares is 34, defender Mauricio Sabillon is 32. Striker Carlo Costly will be 33 when the 2014 World Cup in Brazil begins.

There are several questions that might arise before then. For now, Honduras settles for giving Mexico a challenge.

 

"We have to keep our head up," Nunez said. "We know we played a good game despite the two mistakes we made on the defensive side but other than that I think we had a good match. I think we have improved. The final goal is to reach the World Cup and we have to keep improving."