Pinto wants improvement from Honduras

Honduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto (pictured) yells out instructions during a Copa Centroamericana game against El Salvador on January 15, 2017, in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica)

PANAMA CITY, Panama – After rallying for wins in its opening two games, Honduras is the only team with a perfect record at the 2017 Copa Centroamericana, holding a two-point lead over two-time defending champion Costa Rica and host Panama.

With a headline match-up against the Panamanians slated for Tuesday, though, head coach Jorge Luis Pinto wants more from his troops. 

“We accept that we have not played well, but our attitude, our reaction and our quest for the match leaves us calm also,” Pinto after Sunday’s 2-1 win over nine-man El Salvador. “We hope to continue improving. Today, we put in players who had not been playing in order to rotate, rest and look at alternatives.

Rubio Castillo scored the Catrachos’ goals in the 62nd and 90th minutes, each one shortly after a Salvadoran had been ejected. It was the 25-year-old Motagua standout’s first two-goal game for Honduras.

While Pinto was pleased to have picked up a second consecutive victory, he did express concern about some of the miscues.

“We are content, satisfied, but not altogether happy,” finished the 64-year-old Colombian, who guided Costa Rica to the 2005 and 2013 Copa titles. “We committed some very simple errors and that cost us. We reacted in the second half, we got confidence. 

“I don’t know if some fear or insecurity appeared in some players and that’s concerning, but I have to acknowledge that we did not play well in the first half. At least we reacted and took the initiative in the second with sacrifice and order, so that leaves us calm.” 

In 11 all-time Copa meetings between them, Honduras holds a 5-3 advantage in wins over Panama.