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Mexico face stern test against Honduras, Jamaica and Panama fight to maintain World Cup hopes

MexicoNationalTeam1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

The CONCACAF region plays host to two of the biggest World Cup qualifiers on Friday, as Honduras hosts Mexico and Jamaica hosts Panama.

The Hondurans come into the match on a high after beating the United States in the last round and currently sit atop the Hexagonal standings. However, things can change if Mexico finds a way to win at the Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula on Friday afternoon.

The Javier Hernandez-led team stuttered out of the gate, playing to a scoreless draw at home against an energetic Jamaican side. Now returning home, Jamaica looks to go top of the table if they can defeat the visiting Panamanians.

Jamaica, using home field to their advantage, will definitely rely on MLS stars Donovan Ricketts, Ryan Johnson, and JeVaughn Watson to defeat a solid Panamanian side looking to qualify for the World Cup for the first time ever.

While Jamaica will use their North American based stars, Mexico will certainly rely on Dos Santos, Hernandez, and Andres Guardado, all plying their trade in Europe, to step up for their nation. Mexico’s form was deadly in the third round of World Cup qualification, winning all six games and scoring 15 goals. Winning on the road against Costa Rica and El Salvador, two of the better Central American sides, should give El Tri the confidence to take on Honduras.

The Hondurans, as the U.S. learned, are not a team to be taken lightly. Having proven forwards Jerry Bengtson and Carlo Costly in the lineup will force the Mexican back line to work their tails off, while Roger Espinoza and Oscar Boniak Garcia will look to control play from the middle. What makes this match even more important is that with a win, Honduras will still be atop the table on six points, a full five ahead of the big power that is Mexico.

Nevertheless, Panama may want a Honduras win on Friday so that come Tuesday, when they host the Hondurans, they can catch Los Catrachos off guard. Blas Perez and Gabrial Gomez are two experienced players for Los Canaleros, or the Canal Men, and they will always rely on Felipe Baloy in the back, a man that U.S. fans will remember too much of from the last Gold Cup.

What match are you looking forward to? Do you see Mexico taking care of business in Honduras? Do you think Panama could take points from Jamaica?

Share your thoughts below.

104 comments
  • Tony in Quakeland

    Just before anyone asks: we want to win while everyone else draws. Every game.

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    • James

      Panama and Jamaica, yea a draw is good for us. But we don’t want Mexico to draw. We didn’t want them to draw against Jamaica. The US is much better off if Mexico takes all their points in every game (except the US, of course). Other countries taking points off Mexico only makes the US job harder.

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  • bryan

    a draw for Panama/Jamaica would be perfect. but i really hope Mexico loses. not that i really want Honduras to have 6 points from 2 games, but i love the idea of Mexico only having 1 point out of two games.

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    • James

      While I do relish seeing Mexico suffer, the reality for the US is that we want them to win every game (except against us, of course). Mexico will qualify. Them loosing points to other countries only increases how many points we need.

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    • alabamafutbol

      Torn between wanting a Mexico win and a draw.. they might come in to Azteca with a touch less intensity if they get the huge win in San Pedro Sula. Mexico haven’t won a qualifier on Honduran soil in 4 or in 5 cycles- this is a HUGE game for both of them. Coming off a big win Mexico might have a little bit of a let down against us. But at the same time if they draw and get only 2 points out of 2 games they might feel more pressure/play tighter against us. What do y’all think?

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      • bryan

        right. i was just saying so people knew the card situation from this game.

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      • bryan

        Rocriquez just got a yellow. he’s now at 2. Nilo is up to 3. how many does it take to be suspended from the next game?

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  • OBRick

    Mexico not qualifying for the WC would make me almost as happy as the USA qualifying.

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  • ChiTown

    I imagine the referee feels bad for Finland getting mauled here and doesn’t want to compound the problem, but dude you can’t not call stone cold penalties like that.

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  • ChiTown

    Just looked it up–it’s currently 40% humidity and 100 degrees in San Pedro Sula. Does a player pass out before the game ends?

    That’s wild.

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  • Jay

    Mexico uses altitude the USA uses the cold and Honduras uses the fires of hell it would appear. That’s that I need to find a new place to live heat.

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  • atd

    Mexico is most dangerous on the counterattack. Which is probably why they had trouble with Jamaica — big, athletic team that loaded people behind the ball and played through/over the top to speedy forwards….

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    • alabamafutbol

      Mexico scored against the run of play. Honduras might start to get frustrated now- they’re settling for lots of shots from distance

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    • Kevin

      Why would anyone troubled by that? Some people in get that nickname name for their curlyhair.

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      • ChiTown

        El Chino is a slur for Central Americans that appear Chinese.

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      • Benny

        What BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I call some of my friends “Chino” It’s a nickname for Christ sakes. They have had it since they were kids. Just talk soccer and quit trying to stir it up.

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  • john

    lol. you guys clearly don’t know Spanish. He is called el chino because of his curly hair. Chino=curly

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      • alabamafutbol

        hahah John the spanish expert. They call anyone with remotely Asian features a “chino.” It’s not a big deal there

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      • Kevin

        How can Chino be a slur for Asian if it literly means Chinese or curly.

        Seriously you people…

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      • ARTES

        Chino means chinese. It can also be used to mean curly as in “pelo chino” = curly hair. My friend’s nick-name is also chino and it is because of his eyes being slanted, he is however Mexican.

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    • ChiTown

      Get dominated and score against the run of play because you have Manchester United’s striker playing against MLS defenders?

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      • George Baldwin

        To say they got dominated is BS! Honduras only took a point there because of a bad penalty call. Mexico did way better than we did there.

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  • Ed

    Just curious, i wonder if there is a single white person who is offended by the term “Gringo”

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    • somedude

      In Mexico a gringo is anybody from the USA, not just white people. Mexico has a pretty big white population by the way, though most of the country is mestizo of course.

      “Gringo” is just a nickname,like “Yankee”.

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      • Ed

        yeah last game at Azteca i was suprised how many light skinned spanish looking people there were (on TV). But in Houston for the Gold Cup, 95% mestizo/mix

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      • Ed

        my wording is goofy but obviously i mean “look like they are from Spain”

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      • alabamafutbol

        That’s probably true in Mex, but depending on which Latin American country you’re in a gringo could be most a white person not from USA. For ex in Honduras they always referred to Brits and Aussies as gringos as well

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  • bryan

    Honduras pulling one back. Gio and Javi are both subbed out. This could be intense…

    PENALTY FOR HONDURAS. wow!

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  • 2tone

    All I have to say is that the USMNT better take care of business tonight because these mexican players are going to come out flying against the Americans on Tuesday.

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    • petedx

      Well that was concacaf soccer at it’s best the last 10 minutes. Up and down, fouls not being called, totally unorganized. Probably the best result in terms of the US qualifying. Hopefully Mexico will be tired given the short turnaround, Hernandez didn’t seem fit at all.

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      • Kevin

        HA! I guess you never played in 100+ degree plus humidity at the level.

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      • petedx

        I have, but I am also not a world class striker who seemingly asked to be subbed off.

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    • bryan

      that’s a huge loss for them. they certainly have good depth, but his leadership and experience brings a lot to their back line. not to mention he’s 6’6″…

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      • Kevin

        Maybe not, Rodriguez was at fault on both goals and they have a 20 year old 6’4″ who just sign for porto.

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      • bryan

        correct, but that’s why i said the biggest loss is experience and leadership. he’s their captain. Reyes only has 3 caps and none of them are in World Cup qualifying. he’s a great prospect, but he’s young and inexperienced.

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  • 2tone

    Wow. Mexico was lucky to tie that game really. Honduras dominated the game from the get go.

    Now LETS GO USMNT. Get those 3 points tomight.

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      • RBNY

        Diving was what the Mexicans starting doing after they thought they had the win. Costly was tripped up after ripping 2 defenders. There is no way you don’t make that call.

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      • bryan

        yeah, i think it was a bit of karma. mexico was diving everywhere. Lil Pea went down wasting a bunch of time a few minutes before that.

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      • Kevin

        Cramps are time wasting, I reminds me of the Mex fan arguing that when Davis was “wasting time”.

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      • Kevin

        I agree there is no way you don’t make that call if you’re a concacaf ref. There was body to body contact, Rodgriuez leg never touched Costly. But that was on my 60″ TV, even the Telemundo announcers said as much.

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      • John

        If you thought that was a clear penalty you don’t know much about football. Costly was clearly falling right when felt Rodriguez’s weight. He did not get tripped.

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  • Dimidri

    A) Somewhere FIFA executives are patting themselves on the back saying “see-nothing wrong with playing in 110 degree weather! Sure, some people fainted, but it looked great on TV!”

    B) Did anybody else see the Honduran guy partying on top of the barbed wire after the game? Literally straddling the circular barbed wire at the top of the fence…in 110 degree weather. Crazy.

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    • RBNY

      I’ve never seen Mexico playing as scared as they did during the final 15 minutes of that game. The Honduran support was crazy in that sort of weather… Puts the USA loss there in perspective.

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    • Ed

      yep, saw that. those people are nuts but what an atmosphere. I was intimidated sitting in my living room.

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    • Henry

      There is a reason why the President makes public holidays for FIFA qualifiers. I wish it would be like this in the US.

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  • josh

    It will be interesting to see, when all the games are played, which team starts/plays the most MLS players. It may not be USA.

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  • Benny

    The Mexico and Honduras game was very entertaining. Good for Honduras for coming back and getting at least a point. Now, the U.S. must take care of business and get 3 tonight, and I think they will.

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  • alabamafutbol

    I may be alone on this, but I didn’t see a Mexico team that looked overly dangerous.. the only real chances they created were off counter attacks and the occasional set piece (see 2nd goal). You can probably attribute some of that to the heat, some of it to Honduras playing well and keeping the ball a lot.. but personally after watching that game I’m a little less terrified of Tuesday now, if I’m honest. (meaning I now look for a 1-0 loss instead of 3-0😀 )

    Like

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