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Politics could force USA-Honduras qualifier to neutral site

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The U.S. men's national team's World Cup qualifier next month in Honduras could be moved to a neutral site amid growing turmoil surrounding the current shaky politial climate in Honduras.

The New York Times is reporting that FIFA and CONCACAF will make a decision soon about whether to move the match, scheduled for Oct. 10 in San Pedro Sula. Concerns about the safety of the U.S. national team, and the unstable political situation in Honduras, could force a decision to be made very soon. The match is less than three weeks away.

“We are obviously monitoring the situation closely and are in discussions with the appropriate officials with Concacaf and FIFA, who will determine if the location of the match will be moved outside of Honduras,” U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe told the New York Times.

Among the possibilities for a change of venue is Guatemala, and even a potential move to a city in the United States.

If the match is moved, it would mark the second time a World Cup qualifier involving the U.S. national team was moved. The United States played Guatemala in El Salvador after a stampede at a Guatemala home qualifier killed 84 fans.

What do you think of this development? Disappointed? Excited at the possibility that this qualifier will be on American soil? Feel bad for the Honduran team for having to endure this? Happy as can be at the thought that the U.S. team may get to avoid playing in San Pedro Sula, where Honduras is undefeated?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. LA!!! PLEASE!!!! LORD!!!!! AND IVES!!! haha

    anyways…i just wanna qualify ASAP! i could care less if Honduran fan’s feeling are hurt!

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  2. Even if FIFA pulls the game, I don’t see it being played in the US. There’s security issues, and then there is giving one country two home games. FIFA usually doesn’t do that unless the host country does not have a qualifying facility. In most situations, FIFA has the game is played in a neutral country. But even so, the Honduran FA might want the game in a US city of their choice.

    More likely than it happening in the US is the Honduran FA asking the Mexican FA to do a last-minute qualifying double-header in Estadio Azteca. The only thing that could come close to having fans rooting for your team is one that roots against your opponent.

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  3. well, this is great news if the game is on US soil. but i would be livid if i was a Honduras player/fan. then again, it’s not like it won’t be a home crowd for Honduras anyway…

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  4. They MUST bring the game to Houston, for one simple reason: I will bust out the credit card and treat Ives to my favorite Latin fusion restaurant, Cafe Red Onion, whose owner is Honduran.

    And, mudd @ 9:46 PM, we’ll try hard not to look too much like ugly Americans.

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  5. Rana, “Papa Bear” has posted far-right nonsense before. His politics, and antipathy to Obama, result in his pretending to be an expert and posting falsehoods. He’s best ignored.

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  6. @Posted by: Chip the Keeper | September 23, 2009 at 05:47 PM

    Dumbest.Post.Ever. Your comment is so far off that it’s not even funny. If you’re going to insert politics into the conversation you should at least know what you’re talking about.

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  7. Just move it to Solider Field, its a Honduran home game basically and their fans were very friendly at that last match there. That stadium really nice as well.

    “I vote that they play it at a totally neutral venue . . . Des Moines, Iowa.”

    515 baby! I went to college at Drake, the closest thing we had to big games in DSM were I-Cubs games.. The downtown in DSM is actually really nice and they could block off court ave like they do for Drake relays; assuming the Honduran fans would be as friendly as my experiences in Chicago, it would be a great time/celebration. Could convert the I-Cubs stadium for the game and its downtown as well. Granted this will never happen but any mention of a big game within a half day drive will get be excitied.

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  8. fieldsy – I was in Soldier Field for the game and your estimates sound about right. I think the ones above are greatly exaggerating the percentage of Honduran support at that game.

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  9. I am speechless. Lots of experts on the Honduran constitution here (insert sarcasm). Some comments are hilarious.

    Most of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is operating at a normal capacity. In fact almost all of Honduras is seeing no day-to-day changes since this new ‘unrest’/’turmoil’. The airports are shut down, but will likely be reopened again quite soon, just as they were last year following a air accident that turned into political drama. Unfortunately, closing the airports seems to be gut reaction in Honduras. The news feeds on this stuff, and blows it WAY out of proportion. The game should not be moved.

    And I do believe there is a financial benefit to US qualifying over Honduras, as most Hondurans will not be making the trip to S. Africa…though I doubt this fact will be reason enough for CONCACAF to sabotage Honduras…though I wouldn’t put anything past Mr. Warner.

    roysterer – Their is a track around the Olimpico in San Pedro Sula…so you must have a hell of an arm to throw something and hit people on the field.

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  10. Unless the situation gets much worse the game should be played in San Pedro Sula. I hope everyone will pressure the US government to stop lying about Honduras and stop helping the legitimately deposed president create violence in the country.

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  11. Some of you guys are clueless.

    Mexico has a game on Oct 10, so no Azteca. At least mention another stadium.

    Seriously 300 million follow the USNT? Even 30M seems over exaggerated, maybe of those 30M only about 5M follow the USNT.

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  12. The folks above who claim to understand Honduran Constitutional law have it mostly wrong, which is why virtually no one has recognized the new government. Clearly, taking the President out of the country without being even charged in court was illegal.

    The new authorities said that Zelaya had been arrested in compliance with the Constitution, and that the succession was a completely legal process as set out in Honduran laws.[13] No foreign governments have recognized the new government and many of them have described the events as a coup d’├ętat.[14] The United Nations, the Organization of American States,[15] the United States, and the European Union condemned the removal of Zelaya as a military coup. The OAS suspended Honduras on Saturday, 4 July, after the caretaker government refused to reinstate President Zelaya.[16][17] In response, the military’s chief lawyer, Colonel Herberth Bayardo Inestroza, stated, “In the moment that we took him out of the country, in the way that he was taken out, there was a crime. Because of the circumstances of the moment this crime occurred, there is going to be a justification and cause for acquittal that will protect us.” Deputy Attorney General Roy David Urtecho has begun an investigation into why Zelaya was removed from Honduras by force instead of being charged in court.[18] Zelaya also faces 18 criminal charges, including treason and failure to implement more than 80 laws approved by Congress since he took office in 2006. He could be sentenced to 20 years in prison,[19] although Supreme Court spokesman Danilo Izaguirre has said that Zelaya could be granted political amnesty in order to solve the crisis

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  13. Put it in Guatemala or another Central American country who’s open to the idea. As much as I’d love to see it here for selfish reasons, no team deserves 2 home games against another team in the Hex…especially at this crucial juncture.

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  14. 300 Million Americans don’t follow soccer.

    But you can bet that 30 Million Americans will follow World Cup, and their net buying power and the TV rights to advertise to them makes Central America (even counting the feudal despots) look like the economic equivalent of South Dakota.

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  15. Hope our Honduran friends will get things sorted out down there soon, but if they move it….

    …put it in DC and I’ll just take the whole week off and spend it tooling around DC between the games!

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  16. “the last thing FIFA wants is for us to lose out and not make the World Cup. 300,000,000 viewers are too many to ignore”

    LOL. funniest comment. The whole US population follows soccer.

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  17. I’m also gonna go with Houston. If it goes anything like the US v Mexico friendly I went to at Reliant then US fans would be grossly outnumbered.

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  18. 1. Primary focus should be on the safety of the US team. I think moving the game is very likely.

    2. While it would be a pride downfall for the Catrachos to have to move the game, the reality is that they’d draw a ton of fans at most venues in the US. The catch is….if those fans have enough advance warning. If the game is shifted with only a week to go, many of those fans travel (except for the DC area with a high percentage of Hondurans–more Hondurans than Mexicans in DC) so that would hurt fan support.

    3. But moving the game out of Honduras (to just about any place except maybe Azteca would benefit the US immensely. Even if 66% of the fans at an RFK or Soldier Field match are Honduran, it’s not the same as flying down to Tegucigalpa, dealing with the hotels and food and weather and customs and noisy fans outside the hotel and maybe bags of urine outside the stadium. Our guys simply play better in the USA with home cooking, even if the other tables where they’re eating are filled with patrons of the opposing country. Even if we played in Costa Rica–don’t you think the Tico fans would be rooting against Honduras (they’ve got a vested interest–it helps them if Honduras loses to us)?

    4. What a rough deal it is for the Hondurans right now. They may lose the home match against the USA. OTOH, Marathon couldn’t get a flite out of Honduras b/c of the same unrest. They had to take an 8 hour bus ride to fly out of El Salvador and won’t get into DC for their CL match against DCU until the night before the game. They petitioned Concacaf to have the game rescheduled and Concacaf denied the request. Then again, if Marathon scwachs DCU and then Honduras beats the USA in the US, so much for a rough deal so I guess we’ll see.

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  19. to every one with family still in Honduras i wish you only the best as for the rest of the diluted ugly American statements i guess i should just expect it. anyway it would be completely unfair to have the game in the U.S. Guatemala or Costa Rica would be the best bets.

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  20. The game-site very much matters, but the USMNT will still have to face a talented Catracho team somewhere on 10 October. Whether it’s on US soil, Caribbean, or Guatemala, the US will still have Costly, Suazo, and Palacios staring down at them. I’m more worried about who were playing, not where the game is/will be played.

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  21. I’m on the Houston bandwagon…a real meaningful US game in the South. I would be in heaven (and would be way outnumbered in the stands).

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