Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
If you count yourself among the few U.S. Men’s National Team fans who might be a little worried about the suspension DaMarcus Beasley and uncertain status of Jermaine Jones, and what that might mean to the chemistry and momentum of a U.S. team riding a four-match HEX unbeaten streak, then you clearly haven’t heard about the issues being faced by Honduras.
The ‘Catrachos’ defeated Jamaica, 2-0, last Tuesday, but in the process they have found their team in shambles heading into Tuesday’s match against the USMNT. Standouts Oscar Boniek Garcia and Maynor Figueroa are injured, stalwart centerback Victor Bernardez and starting midfielder Luis Garrido are suspended, and forward Jerry Bengtson, who scored the game-winning goal against the U.S. last February, has reportedly left the Honduran camp out of frustration with not being used in the team’s win vs. Jamaica.
Throw in apparent injuries to Osman Chavez and Jerry Palacios, and you have a Honduran camp in rough shape heading to Salt Lake City for Tuesday’s showdown vs. the United States. In fact, only 15 players were available to train when the Honduran team convened for a training camp in San Jose, California on Thursday.
Boniek Garcia still hasn’t been ruled out for Tuesday, but if he can’t play, that would make at least five Honduran starters from their February win against the U.S. who won’t be playing in Tuesday’s rematch.
Bengtson’s departure from Honduras camp is making major headlines in his native country, with media criticizing his decision to go AWOL, as well as questioning whether Honduras head coach Luis Suarez was right to leave the team’s leading scorer in World Cup qualifying on the bench in the team’s last match.
While Bengtson’s absence captures the headlines, the fact that Honduras will be without starting centerbacks Bernardez and Figueroa is especially troubling for the Catrachos considering how well U.S. striker Jozy Altidore is playing right now. (UPDATE- To help boost their centerback options, the Hondurans have called up Vancouver Whitecaps centerback Johnny Leveron)
The U.S. will have some absences as well, with Beasley suspended and Jermaine Jones still a question mark as he recovers from a concussion (Note, Tim Howard is NOT suspended for the match. That rumor was making the rounds, but the yellow card he received vs. Panama was his first of qualifying). The Americans have good cover for those absences though, with Edgar Castillo and Geoff Cameron all ready to step in.
What do you think of the state of the Honduran squad? See the U.S. exacting revenge with a convincing victory? Think the Catrachos can pose a threat without the likes of Bernardez, Boniek Garcia and Figueroa?
Share your thoughts below.