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Honduran national team shorthanded heading into USMNT qualifier

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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.


  1. I’ve been a supporter (USA) a long time and have seen my share of one sided refereeing jobs in CONCACAF. Look our ex-president Mr. Warner and that suggests other types of things that could be wrong. This region should be North America and Central America only. The little islands should form their own federation and that way an island of 50,000 people wouldn’t have the same vote as a country of 300,000,000. It’s time to move forward and end CONCACAF.

  2. Only three of those players started last game so as a Honduran, this isn’t a worry. Remember, Honduras was the last team to beat the United States in American soil in a WCQ back in 2001.

  3. Ives (or anybody else who might know),

    Is there going to be any pregame rally or public training session prior to the game on Tuesday? I want to introduce my 3 year old to the experience but there’s no way I’m bringing him to the game. Thanks!

  4. I fail to understand where the Donovan haters are coming from. We have someone who’s been playing for the national team for a dozen years non-stop, is the US all time leading scorer and assist man, and almost single-handedly pulled the US into the round of 16 at the last WC. After all that, he wants to take a couple of months off for whatever reason (which is not at all uncommon in the real world — where I work, we have people frequently taking personal leaves of absence for various reasons), and all that hate because of that. Unbelievable.

    • If he had made it clear from the start his plan were to take a break and recover. I think most people would have understood. However that’s not what happened. He said it was a 50/50 chance he wouldn’t play in the world cup and was considering retirement. At one point he pretty much cut of any communication with Klinsmann.

    • I have seen him play well and have seen him play poorly. I think his inconsistency is the issue, not that he is a bad player. He would not have a succesful club career going if he had no skill.

  5. Predicting a 3 or 4 nil win for the US. Jozy and Dempsey will tear that makeshift backline to shreds.

    Boniek Garcia has been confirmed according MLS that he will miss the game as well.

    No: Boniek, Bernardez, Figueroa, Garrido, Osman Chavez, and Jerry Palacios. Not looking good for Honduras.

  6. Big opportunity here for the US. If we win and get the 3 pts, that would just about be enough to send us through to Brazil, barring a major collapse. It would at least give some breathing room and allow for some experimenting late in the hex or giving rest to key players later in the fall if they become injured/fatigued once their club seasons resume.

  7. well, lets not get ahead of ourselves- these Hex games are rarely easy. i dont believe the US team cares much who is/isnt playing for H, outside of our game-time tactics to defend and attack. that said, its a home match so i expect to win.

  8. People, form is temporary: class is forever. Landon Donovan was the class of CONCACAF on the wing, and serves as a wily forward any day. He would rise to the occasion.

    • of course. instead the pound of flesh so many ‘fans’ want out of Landon is being served up by Klinsmann to feed the that mass. That’s fine

      the team is playing well, nothing but credit to them, I’m a HUGE fan.

      the belief LD wouldn’t help take the team to another level? comical

    • of course. instead the pound of flesh so many have always wanted out of Landon is being served up by Klinsmann, and thatbase is eating it up. That’s fine

      the team is playing well, nothing but credit to them, I’m a HUGE fan

      but the belief LD wouldn’t help take the team to another level? comical

  9. None of the Honduran strikers are particularly in form, so Bengston absence isn’t huge but obviously doesn’t help.

    Defensively, a healthy Osman Chavez is solid and arguably better than Bernardez. I also believe Montes (the center back that stepped in for Chavez vs Jamaica) is also injured and questionable. Defense of Honduras will be scrambling…especially with one of few playmakers (Bonieck) injured.

    Should be an easy victory for US.

  10. Its a shame about Figueroa, he was one of the best defenders in England last year.

    I still predict Honduras makes it to Brazil, they are the 3rd best team in CONCACRAP

    • Yeah, I’m wondering about this as well. Do you put Fabian on the left with EJ in front of him, letting Zusi back on the right? Or do you put Castillo and Fabian on the left and EJ on the bench? It’s hard to see Zusi not getting back in the lineup.

    • Its either Castillo or F. Johnson. Considering the way the Jamaica game went, I wouldnt think Klinsi would move F. Johnson to the back line. I thought he drifted in and out of the game but Klinsmann seemed happy with the attack so I bet we see Castillo back there with Johnson providing cover.

  11. From the Honduran press accounts, their coach is a real hard case, a lot less forgiving than Jurgen Klinsmann. Apparently, the reason why San Jose’s midfielder Walter Martinez is not with the HNT is he left the Gold Cup in 2011 to rejoin his team in China and the coach has never forgiven him. No telling how strongly Bengston made his case, but he apparently broke a team rule against complaining to the coach and was given his marching orders.

      • Had to Google that one. Yeah, that’s career suicide for sure.

        What isn’t clear is if Bengston skipped town on his own accord or was ejected. I would hope a coach has better man management skills than to boot someone for merely asking why he isn’t a starter. Particularly given the circumstances. The news accounts do make it sound like a tantrum was thrown, which would be plenty reason to send him home, unless it ends up in Honduras not making the World Cup.

  12. Isn’t it kind of silly to get carded for time-wasting when you’re leading late by two goals? Was it a harsh call?

    • By the rules probably not, but given what is allowed by the central american teams–we should never receive a card for anything related to time wasting.

      • I thought Howard and Dempsey should have received yellow cards for time wating in the Germany friendly. I understand it’s part of the game but I’m still not a big fan of it.

      • Having been at the stadium on that end of the field the card was a very strange call. Howard actually had been slower to take free kicks at other times in the match (both before and after his card) as far as I remember. What I saw was a Panama player whining in the refs ear as Howard walked to pick up the ball for the free kick, and as Howard turned around he was already being carded. Howard had not wasted much time, and I highly doubt it was actually outside of the written rules.

      • Maybe it didn’t show in TV, but when the ball went over the end line, a ball boy threw a ball into Howard, who threw it back and gestured for another ball, which came right in, exchange of ball took maybe 2 seconds, so if you wanted to be picky, you could call that wasteing time.

  13. As a US nats fan, leave Garcia out so ew can really whop up on them. As a dynamo supporter, leave garcia out so he can recuperate and start for us in MLS.

  14. Losing Bernardez and Figueroa is huge. Also, Bengston is a big loss. I don’t want to be overly confident, but I really like our chances of making a statement in this game.

    • The call was complete bull. The Panama player was yelling at Howard to get the ball out but wouldn’t leave the penalty area so Howard could restart! Made no sense.

  15. Unbelievable fortune the last few games. Snow game, no Blas Perez, now this shell of a Honduras team. Take the points and get outta dodge.

  16. Only 2 of those guys were starters in their last game against Jamaica, which they won 2-0.

    They still have Costly, Palacios, Espinoza.

  17. Jerry Bengston, wow. Leaving because you weren’t used in a game your team won 2-0? Boo-hoo, surely he would’ve seen the field vs US. Talk about the pride of wearing the crest (though the Honduran “H” is the one crest I know of that’s worse than our clip art soccer ball… please keep the throwback crest US soccer).

    • I couldn’t disagree more vehemently. The awful throwback crest is terrible. I’ll take the U.S. Soccer logo over it every day of the week. I hate the throwback art. It’s generic and ugly.

    • Yeah I prefer the new crest over the old one, but I’m wondering…why have a crest at all? Why not just have a small American flag on the shirt?

      • I’m against civilians wearing the Flag on their jerseys. Per the US Flag Code, you’re not supposed to have a flag on your clothing unless you’re military or police … I suppose a Military Academy team could justify it (since they’re all considered as being in the military).

      • Section 176.j reads, in part (with emphasis added):

        However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.

        National teams of the United States of America are considered to be patriotic organizations and as such have both the right and privilege of wearing the flag.

  18. This article is an example of why the USA and Mexico are in a strong position to qualify cycle after cycle. The Hex is part war of attrition. Mexico and the USA have the most depth and therefore are in better position to withstand omissions than other teams viz. suspension (Zusi, Howard, Beasley), injury (Jones, Cherundolo, Holden, Williams, Shea, Gomez) and flakiness (Donovan on sabbatical).

    In my opinion the biggest potential loss is Figueroa and Bernardez. Figueroa is especially devastating and Bernardez because he is their number 2. This will impact their confidence and make them inherently more conservative. In my opinion, Honduras is good when they are pushing the attack and are not a good team at sitting back and hoping to nick a goal after absorbing a lot of pressure.

    • Donovan is ready, willing, and able to play. It’s Klinsman who is keeping him off the team. Put the blame where it belongs.

      • You are wrong. There is no I in team. Donovan did flake and has had spotty form. He can prove his current worth in the gold cup

      • Isn’t Churundolo doing the same? How come he isn’t getting stuff from people? He was healthy enough for club, but wants to rest…… Physically or mentally…same thing!

      • no one would have cared if Donovan skipped the January camp or even the February game if he cited that he wanted to nurse nagging injuries to be ready for his club season and qualifying thereafter. Instead he cited flagging interest and skipped preseason training and several weeks of the regular season with his club team as well as national team commitments. Two entirely different situations.

      • I haven’t seen anything anywhere from Cherundolo saying that he wanted to rest. I only heard that from Klinsmann.

      • Cherundolo is making his plans clear to Klinsmann while Donovan left everyone to guess what he might do. How is Klinsmann suppose to build and plan for a future when a player says its a 50/50 chance he’ll want to play in Brazil.

      • technically you are wrong. LD is eligible. JK has the power to invite him or not. JK did not invite him. That is the process. That is not up for debate.

      • Landon chose to skip out on his own. He hasn’t shown the form that made him a consistent national team starter lately but he’s definitely a player that should be back on Jurgen’s radar. And he is! He’ll be starting in the Gold Cup and, like everyone else, if he shows well there he’ll get his turn with the A team again.

      • Most reports I have read and the few gamesi have seen, lead to same conclusion: he is not back yet. Has games or moments in games like old LD. and then he looks like an old LD.

        Gold Cup will be good for I’m and consequently the USMNT.

      • watch the games…draw your own conclusions. You felt compelled to write what you’ve read from reports? wow man, thanks

      • Byrdman, I’ll say this…I’m looking forward to seeing him and the team in the Gold Cup, and moreso what formation and tactics they use and what players are utilized where.

        should not have been such a prick in my reply to you, sorry

      • Donovan’s form has been less than stellar and Eddie Johnson is faster than he is. Zusi has been the better player and consecutive games of perfect service to Jozy only further exhibit that.

        Also, you’re right. We need to put the blame where it belongs–Landon Donovan for leaving, losing form and putting himself and his teams at a disadvantage.

        The Galaxy are falling apart. He isn’t leading them. He is barely contributing at this point.

      • this is ridiculous! Galaxy issues are LD’s fault for poor leadership??? that is a flippin joke SanFran

      • “GHumboldt” ANY and ALL relatives of Landon Donovan are hereby and furthermore banned from commenting on this string 🙂

        Who else, but Lando’s Mom could watch how he has played recently and seriously believe he belongs in squad right now. I hope he works his way back, but he has a long way to go…even LD agrees with that assessment.

      • he isn’t all the way back, but to believe he isn’t good enough to be a major contributor? this is a funny board

      • Dude

        Al of this Donovan criticism is ridiculous. No one has done more for the national team than Donovan. Brek Shea, Stuart Holden, Brad Davis, Sasha K. Do people really think these guys are a better choices than Donovan, regardless of what his “form” is.

        Donovan’s worst form is way better then most of our midfield options.

        Come to think of it Donovan has more points than Zusi and has played fewer games. This is just Klinnsman’s ego plain and simple. He knows that Donovan knows what a fraud he is from the Bayern Munich days.

        So the guy took some time off from the game after playing season after season since he was a teenager. Get some perspective and stop the hating.

      • Sounds like you need perspective, my friend. I don’t believe anyone that days they know what’s going on. I do agree that he has done a lot for mnt and he will go down in history. Jk is no joke he has accomplished more with less, anyone can see that if you go through his history, the worst hatred say stop hating.

    • This is very true. With injuries and the silly yellow card suspension rules, it seems at this point in the Hex, you’re all but guaranteed to have a couple preferred starters unavailable for any given match. And this greatly favors the US and Mexico, even if we complain and worry about who won’t be available for us.

  19. Isn’t Garrido also suspended for Honduras? He has had yellows in the last two games.

    I know Howard got a late yellow in the Panama match, but when was his first one?

    • Thanks for the edit on Garrido. He is their deep lying midfielder so they will be missing 2/3 of their central defense, plus others mentioned. Trouble.

  20. Sorry I’ve been out of the loop.

    We had a discussion going on after the game in a few threads about this but just to confirm: Tim Howard WAS carded and was already on a yellow, therefore suspended, correct?

    For some reason I had people saying otherwise both watching/at the game and others referencing CONCACAF websites verifying Howard was not carded.

    • There was some confusion from the ESPN broadcast. Watched the replay again and what happened was Ian Darke discussed DaMarcus Beasley’s yellow card at the same time Tim Howard was receiving his late yellow card, so if you were watching the match and heard Darke explain a yellow card was leading to a suspension, you could think he was referring to Howard though he wasn’t. Howard did receive a late yellow card vs. Panama for time wasting, but that was his first in qualifying.

    • Kind of a soccer neophyte here, but can somebody help me understand the yellow card suspension rule? I can’t find documentation on it anywhere. I understand a player is suspended for the following match if he receives his second yellow card during a qualifying round (or is it during qualifying as a whole?). Do they start over after the suspension … in other words are 2 more yellow cards required for another suspension?

      I presume a player wouldn’t carry a card from qualifying into World Cup competition, correct?

      • in the qualifying rounds, once you collect two yellow cards, you have to sit out for the next game. this is separate from getting two yellows in the same game.

      • Thanks for the reply. So, after you sit out the game, do you have to collect 2 more to lose another game? s there any carryover after the suspension? Just thinking about strategy because I know players must play a bit more conservatively if they’re carrying a card. Say Dempsey is carrying a card and the next game is against a poor team that the US should be able to handle without their best player. Would there be any disadvantage to getting that second card, sitting out against the next inferior team in order to clear the slate for more challenging matches to come?

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