Honduras U23 head coach Carlos Tabora (left) speaks to his players after falling to Mexico in a CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship match on October 7, 2015, in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo: Mexsport)
COMMERCE CITY, Colorado – Allans Vargas’ second minute ejection in the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship’s Group B finale on Wednesday reduced Honduras to 10 men and was a factor in what proved to be a 2-1 loss to Mexico.
The Catrachos fell behind in the fourth minute only to level just short of the hour mark after Alberth Elis finished a high-speed counterattack. The tie was momentary as Erick Torres netted the game-winner in the 65th minute for the defending CONCACAF and Olympic champion.
“It was really a very intense match,” said Honduras head coach Carlos Tabora. “In the third minute, we had to erase everything that was planned. But you can bring out the attitude, character and personality of a team when playing 10 against 11. Without a doubt, if it is 10 against 11, the parameters are different. When it is equal, you can send out a planned strategy.
“Sadly, with 10 players everything changes. You have to be a little more careful, exert less. With a player down the field is longer, wider and against an opponent like Mexico who possesses the ball well, they make you run more. The most important thing, however, is that we had order with 10 players and the team had a response.”
Honduras’ spirited performance in defeat sent a strong message to the United States. The sides will meet in the semifinals on Saturday in Sandy, Utah, with an automatic direct berth to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro at stake.
“The United States is a national team very well positioned and very faithful to doing its job and that allows for football to be played with a lot of quality, a lot of order,” Tabora expressed, adding, “But they also have weaknesses. To some extent we know them and we will look to take advantage of them in the next match, which is very important. It’s a final.”
In eight previous CMOQ finals matches between them, the United States holds the advantage in wins, 5-2. Their last meeting came in the 2008 final, won 1-0 by the Hondurans after extra time.