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Honduran mood dampened by setbacks
by Paul Kennedy, February 5th, 2009 7AM



[HEXAGONAL PREVIEW] Coming off a strong semifinal round, where it won its group ahead of Mexico, Jamaica and Canada, Honduras certainly has demonstrated it has the talent to claim one of the three automatic berths from Concacaf to next year's World Cup finals in South Africa, but the Catrachos, hit hard by injuries and suspensions, open the Hexagonal Wednesday with a tricky match at Costa Rica on Saprissa Stadium's artificial turf

A poor showing as host of the Digicel Uncaf Cup, where it finished third behind Panama and Costa Rica, has damped the mood in the Honduran camp on the eve of the opening Hexagonal game.

Coach Reinaldo Rueda took his players to train on artificial surface in Bogota, the capital of his native Colombia.

Three MLS players -- Roger Espinoza (Kansas City), Amado Guevara (Toronto FC) and Ivan Guerrero (D.C. United) -- were among the players with the national team in Bogota to prepare for the match against the Ticos.

Dallas youth product Ramon Nunez, now with Mexican club Pueblo, was also among the 21 players called up Rueda.

European-based stars Maynor Figueroa of English club Wigan and David Suazo of Portugal's Benfica also got callups.

On the other hand, veterans Carlos Pavon, Dani Turcios and Julio Cesar "Rambo" de Leon were dropped because of injuries, and Wilson Palacios and Carlos Costly, who both play in England, are suspended.

Goalkeepers: Noel Valladares (Olimpia), John Bodden (Victoria).
Defenders: Mario Beata (Marathon), Osman Chavez (Motagua), Oscar Boniek Garcia (Olimpia), Ivan Guerrero (D.C. United, MLS), Emilio Izaguirre (Motagua), Marvin Chavez (Marathon), Victor Bernardez (Anderlecht, Belgium).
Midfielders: Mariano Acevedo (Marathon), Mario Cesar Rodriguez (Real Espana), Amado Guevara (Toronto FC, MLS), Hendry Thomas (Olimpia), Ramon Nunez (Puebla, Mexico), Emil Martinez (Shanghai Shenhua, China), Maynor Figueroa (Wigan, England), Roger Espinoza (Kansas City Wizards, MLS).
Forwards: Saul Martinez (Marathon), Walter Martinez (Alaves, Spain), Carlos Will Mejia (Marathon), David Suazo (Benfica, Portugal).

The USA and Honduras have only met in two qualifying competitions. The Americans won and tied in a pair of meaningless games in Honduras in 1965, and the USA and Honduras split in 2001 -- the Americans winning in San Pedro Sula and the Catrachos prevailing before a pro-Honduras crowd at Washington's RFK Stadium.


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