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Talking with the enemy

Know Your Opponent: An Insider Previews Honduras

ASN's Jon Arnold talks with Diario Diez’s Saúl Carranza ahead of the match to get the Honduran perspective on the Gold Cup semifinal. One key: the play of captain Osman Chavez.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
July 24, 2013
3:03 PM
As always, you know how the Americans are approaching Wednesday’s match. You’ve read American Soccer Now and all our friends at other tremendous media outlets, but what are the Central American journalists saying?

While the general consensus among the Honduran press is less optimistic than it was when we caught up with Carranza’s colleagues in Salt Lake City, there’s still some optimism.

ASN: What’s the general outlook of the Honduran press ahead of this match? Can Honduras win?
Saúl Carranza: Honduras has had a good tournament so far in the sense that that they bring a roster with experiential and unknown players. Right now, this Honduran team is very young and humble but has very good players which will benefit them in the future. It’s important to remember the team has had a good tournament, and it wouldn’t be outrageous to say Honduras can win Wednesday against the United States.

ASN: Which player that the Catrachos don’t have access to are they missing the most?
Carranza: David Suazo was a player who opened the doors of Honduran football. He played at Inter Milan during the Jose Mourinho era. He was a forward who scored many goals at Cagliari in Italy and later played for Benfica in Portugal. Suazo is a huge star, he’s a forward with an impressive ability. Today we don’t have a player of that breed with his ability, with his excellence. There’s isn’t this type of player in Honduras right now. There are young players who are growing, but these young players who are playing now aren’t going to Italy. For guys who are 20, 21, they’re worried about playing in another country. We miss David Suazo a lot, and also Carlos Pavon. Everybody knows about Carlos Pavon, the forward who scored a lot of goals and played here in America. Those two forwards are the most missed people right now.

ASN: Honduras has been the toughest team for the U.S. to face this year. Why?
Carranza: Today we’ve been thinking about what you mentioned. Honduras has played very well in the last two matches against the United States. They’ve had excellent performances and they have a higher mental level when they play an opponent like the U.S. The United States undoubtedly poses a threat in the area, but they’ve had to work hard against Honduras. The stadium will be global Wednesday, but I think we’ll see a stadium perhaps full of Hondurans motivating their team to show their best face here in Cowboys Stadium with the hope of achieving their dream of reaching the final.

ASN: What’s the one thing that Americans don’t know about this team but should?
Carranza: Right now, Honduras is playing with a very young team. The only players with much experience are the goalkeeper, who is named Donis Escober, and the captain Osman Chavez. The rest of the players aren’t well known. Therefore, the Honduran team will tactically define itself very defensively. It’s not like before when they had Amado Guevara, Carlos Pavon, who took good touches and were dangerous getting forward. On this occasion, they defend well and try to make the most of any opportunities they have to score.

Jon Arnold is an ASN contributing editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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