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Know your foe

Hounding Honduras: Crash Course in the Catrachos

Jon Arnold chats with two Honduran journalists who offer up what the United States men's national team can expect when it takes the field Tuesday night in Rio Tinto Stadium. One thing: mas Andy Najar.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
June 18, 2013
3:48 PM
You’re an American Soccer Now reader (or at least we hope you are). You know all the angles we’re talking about here. But what’s the buzz with the opposition?

We chatted with Hondurans Marco Aguilar of Diez and Marciel Torres from La Tribuna, which has a sports section called Más, to find out.

Aguilar also got an early scoop on the Honduran lineup: Noel Valladares; José Velásquez Colón, Juan Pablo Montes, Emilio Izaguirre, Arnold Peralta; Roger Espinoza, Jorge Claros, Andy Najar, Wilson Palacios, Mario Martínez; Carlo Costly

ASN: What does the Honduran press think about Tuesday night’s match?
Marco Aguilar: Well, it’s a complicated game because of the fact that Honduras has to come here somewhat patched up with players who are hurt. There are two suspended, we have three injured and the picture painted is that a victory here in the United States would be very difficult. But at the same time, you don’t forget hope because Honduras has many players who are experienced in Europe and here. There’s the hope that if the Honduran players have a very good afternoon, they can win in Salt Lake City.

Marciel Torres: Well, I believe that it’s going to be difficult game here. Honduras hasn’t gotten points away from home. We went to Costa Rica, and we lost. We went to Panama, and we lost. I believe it’s time for Honduras to scrape together a point and get a good result.

ASN: Honduras has so many players missing. How is that going to affect the match?
Torres: I believe that it’s going to be a factor. They’re missing Victor Bernardez, they might not have Osman Chavez, Oscar Boniek Garcia. Bengston isn’t here, so he won’t partner with Carlo Costly. But I think the team has to come out and cope with it. That’s why they called 23 players, every one of them has a replacement, and the majority of starters are available for this match.

Aguilar: Honduras has several injured players who haven’t yet recovered. After the practice (Monday) they’re going to determine who is and who isn’t in condition to play. In the past few practices, the injured players have been working, but they’re not at 100% physically.

ASN: There seems to be a lot of MLS influence on the Honduran national team. How important is our domestic league to the national team?
Aguilar: MLS players would pretty much form the base of the team if there weren’t injured players or suspensions like Victor Bernadez. Marvin Chavez could play Tuesday. Boniek Garcia is a player who is key in Luis Suarez’s scheme and Jerry Bengston is a good scorer in MLS and a scorer for Honduras.

ASN: What’s something American fans should know about the Honduran team that they don’t know yet?
Torres: They’re called the “Garra Catracha” (Editor’s Note: This essentially means the Honduran claw and is one of the team’s many nicknames..) It’s when you’re losing like they happened to be the sixth of February in San Pedro Sula, losing 1-0. They bring out the Honduran spirit and lift the player, the public. They’re the people’s team.

Aguilar: About the team, basically what they don’t know about is the defender Juan Pablo Montes, who is going to start. He’s a player who will be starting his second Hex match. Andy Najar, who fans here know very well, could start. Boniek, you know. Costly, you know. So Montes is a player who isn’t well known because he’s only making his second start.

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

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