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Hexagonal: Honduran star Costly ready with 'knife between his teeth'
by Paul Kennedy, February 5th, 2013 7:15PM

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TAGS:  men's national team, mls, world cup 2014


Carlo Costly knows what it's like to play the United States. The 30-year-old forward is one of only three starters left from the Honduras team that played the USA in the 2009 Hexagonal.

The Catrachos lost both games -- the first after Costly put them ahead at Chicago's Soldier Field in the 5th minute -- and the sting of those losses was only tempered when Honduras later qualified for the 2010 World Cup -- thanks to American Jonathan Bornstein and his stoppage-time goal that earned the USA a 2-2 tie with Costa Rica and dropped the Ticos into fourth place in the final Hexagonal standings.

Costly, who arrived in San Pedro Sula Monday night after playing in Greece on Sunday, has put those losses behind him.

"We know the ability of the United States," he says, "but every game is different."

Costly says Honduras is ready to go to war and get a result with the advantage of playing at home and -- this time -- in the afternoon heat.

"You have to go with a knife between your teeth," he says, "and battle them one on one to get a result."

Costly had the longest journey, arriving Monday night after practice from Greece, the sixth country he has played in the last six years after stints in leagues in Poland, England, Romania and Mexico and MLS.

Despite his late arrival, Costly, who spent the second half of the 2011 season in MLS with the Houston Dynamo, will be playing on Wednesday.

Unlike his counterpart Jurgen Klinsmann, who is keeping details of the U.S. lineup secret, Honduran coach Luis Suarez announced his starting lineup early on Tuesday.

WHY THE USA SHOULD BE CONFIDENT. The USA swept the two-game Hexagonal series in 2009, winning in Chicago, 2-1, and in San Pedro Sula, 3-2, to clinch a berth at the 2010 World Cup with a game to go. The USA also won in San Pedro Sula, 2-1, in 2001 en route to a berth in the 2002 World Cup finals.

WHY THE USA SHOULD BE WORRIED. As Costly noted, Wednesday's game is different. It will be played in the afternoon, and the USA has always struggled in afternoon qualifiers in Central America. The last afternoon game Honduras played in San Pedro Sula was against Canada on the final day of the semifinal round of qualifying in October 2012, and the Catrachos ran Canada off the field, 8-1. Circumstances dictated that that game be played in the afternoon. The Cuba-Panama game had to be played simultaneously in Havana, where there were no lights. Wednesday's game will be played in the afternoon by design, and the Honduran government has ordered an afternoon national holiday so fans can watch the match.

WHO YOU ALREADY KNOW. Victor Bernardez, Jerry Bengtson, Oscar Boniek Garcia and Mario Martinez are the four MLS players in the Honduras squad, and they are all in Suarez's starting lineup. Colorado youth product Roger Espinoza, who recently left Sporting Kansas City for English club Wigan, will run the midfield. Goalie Noel Valladares and Maynor Figueroa, who plays with Espinoza at Wigan, join Costly as the three holdovers from 2009.

WHO YOU'LL SOON KNOW. Celtic defender Emilio Izaguirre was scratched because of an injury, meaning that Juan Carlos Garcia will start at left back. Right back Arnold Peralta, holding midfielder Luis Garrido and Garcia are three most inexperienced players in the Honduran lineup and the players the USA will look to exploit.

SCHEDULE.
Day 1: Feb. 6 vs. USA (TV: beIN Sport, beIn Sport en Espanol, 4 p.m. ET).
U.S. Series:
Day 6: June 17 -- USA vs. Honduras at site TBD.

HONDURAS ROSTER (USA game):
Goalkeepers: Noel Valladares (Olimpia), Donis Escober (Olimpia), Jose Mendoza (Marathon).
Defenders: Arnold Peralta (Vida), Bryan Beckeles (Olimpia), Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes), Osman Chavez (Wisla Krakow, Poland), Maynor Figueroa (Wigan, England), Juan Pablo Montes (Platense), Juan Carlos Garcia (Olimpia), Orlin Peralta (Vida).
Midfielders: Luis Garrido (Red Star, Serbia), Jorge Claros (Hibernian, Scotland), Roger Espinoza (Wigan, England), Alex Lopez (Olimpia), Oscar Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo), Mario Martinez (Seattle Sounders), Aldo Oviedo (Real Espana).
Forwards: Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution), Roger Rojas (Olimpia), Carlo Costly (Veria, Greece), Georgie Welcome (Motagua), Christian Altamirano (Marathon).
Note: Altamirano and Orlin Peralta and replaced the injured Andy Najar and Emilio Izaguirre.

Previously: Mexico | Jamaica | Panama | Costa Rica
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