[HONDURAS-USA] It might be coached by a German blond, but the one thing you wouldn't call the U.S. national team is a team of blonds. But that's how Honduran forward Roger Rojascharacterized Jurgen Klinsmann's gringos, whom he hopes to run out of San Pedro Sula's Estadio Olimpico when the Catrachos host the USA in Wednesday's Hexagonal opener (TV: BeIN Sport, BeIN Sport en Espanol, 4 p.m. ET).
As the Catrachos began to gather in San Pedro Sula, Ro-Ro, as he's called in Honduras, gave the local press a few choice words to latch on it:
Confidence in the Honduran camp is high. The Catrachos qualified for the 2010 World Cup, reached the quarterfinals at the 2012 London Olympics men's soccer competition and won their semifinal group in World Cup 2014 qualifying with an 8-1 win over Canada in the final game.
That game was played in the afternoon like Wednesday's game will be. Temperatures are expected to reach 89 degrees with a chance of rain in San Pedro Sula, so the humidity will high.
Nothing is going to keep the Estadio Olimpico from being packed for the 3 p.m. kickoff local time. The Honduran government declared the afternoon a national holiday so workers can get to the game.
By late Monday afternoon, all the Catrachos had arrived for training exceptCarlo Costly and Jorge Claros, who were flying in from Greece and Scotland, respectively.
One of the late arrivals was Roger Espinoza, whom the Honduran media call "Kung Fu." No player knows the USA better than Espinoza, who attended high school in Denver, played college ball at Yavapai JC and Ohio State and spent the last five years in MLS with Sporting Kansas City before joining English club Wigan in January.
Espinoza, for one, wasn't about to underestimate the USA.
"Tactically, physically, emotionally and mentally, they are very gifted," he told Honduran journalists. "We played against them many times, but the important thing is that we worry about ourselves, not them."
Honduras Starting XI
√ Noel Valladares (Olimpia)
√ Arnold Peralta (Vida)
√ Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes)
√ Maynor Figueroa (Wigan/England)
√ Juan Carlos Garcia (Olimpia)
√ Luis Garrido (Red Star/Serbia)
√ Roger Espinoza (Wigan/England)
√ Oscar Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo)
√ Mario Martinez (Seattle Sounders)
√ Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution)
√ Carlo Costly (Veria/Greece)