BRADENTON, Florida – The Qualification Stage of the 2018 Concacaf Under-20 Championship gets underway on Tuesday and the opening game of Group G promises to be an interesting contrast of styles.
It will feature a battle of Central American rivals, with high-flying Honduras facing off against the immovable defensive force of Costa Rica.
The Catrachos soared to a perfect 5W-0D-0L record and first place finish in Group C on the strength of 30 goals scored and just five conceded.
Honduras is led by the three-headed scoring machine of Josue Villafranca (6 goals), Luis Palma (5 goals) and Carlos Mejia (5 goals).
Honduras also proved that it is a resilient side, evidenced by its two comeback wins in the group stage. The Catrachos were down 1-0 to Cuba and fought back for a 3-1 win, followed by a 3-1 deficit against Antigua and Barbuda which ended with a 4-3 victory.
Tuesday’s encounter will offer the intriguing match-up of a high-powered offense against a stingy defense.
Costa Rica achieved the remarkable feat of going the group stage without allowing a single goal in games against Bermuda, Barbados, Haiti and Saint Lucia on its way to an unblemished 4W-0D-0L record.
The experience of facing the physical and speedy forward line of Haiti (a 1-0 Costa Rica win) should prove valuable for the Ticos against a Honduras side that boasts many of the same characteristics as the Haitians.
It should make for a memorable battle between two fiercely competitive nations.