The Honduras U23 team (pictured) poses for a photo prior to its CONCACAF Men's Olympic Championship final against Mexico on October 13, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Photo: Mexsport)
SANDY, Utah – The great news for the Honduras under-23 national team was that it reached both the final of the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship and earned an Olympic Games berth for the third straight time.
The unfortunate news was that after topping the United States in 2008, it has fallen to Mexico in the last two deciders.
A 2-0 loss on Tuesday left Honduras head coach Carlos Tabora lamenting his side’s fate that night, but also anticipating its bright future.
“It was a very intense game,” the former Platense manager said. “Maybe the second half was more open for both teams. They contributed to the spectacle. At the end of the first half, Mexico capitalized on a lack of communication in our zone and got a goal.
“In the second half, we went for the tie. We played with order and when Honduras was playing at its best, Mexico had that shot from distance that our goalkeeper unfortunately couldn’t save.”
Trailing 1-0, Honduras started to gain an offensive foothold after the break. The passing became more fluid and chances were being created. Oscar Salas hit the Mexican post in the 62nd minute, but six minutes later Victor Guzman struck for one the goals of the tournament to put the game out of reach.
“They were two teams in the second half that decided to bet on their game, to look for the opposing goal,” the 50-year-old continued. “Obviously, when the team was passing the ball at its best, the second goal was scored on us. It impacts you, but you have to say that we are two national teams with plenty of merit that achieved qualification.”
Regardless of the final score, Tabora was very pleased that the Catrachos advanced to the final and gained even more experience by succeeding in a high-level competition.
“Playing in a final is always good,” he commented. “We knew that the team had grown in its collective play and thank God that qualification was secured and we are in Rio with a lot of merit. Today’s result is the product of two opponents looking for the chance to win. Mexico had the better fortune of finishing.”
Tabora concluded by praising the team’s accomplishments and what they mean for the future, saying: “It is the third consecutive time that Honduras has qualified playing good football and with a generation that has us dreaming and -- under the guidance of coach Jorge Luis Pinto -- can revolutionize things.”