[USA-HONDURAS: Reaction] Despite their elimination from the Concacaf Under-17 Championship that will deprive them of participation at the 2013 Under-17 World Cup -- the first time the USA will not take part in 15 tournaments -- U.S. under-17 national team coach Richie Williams said he was proud of his players.
“Obviously we’re extremely disappointed," he said in remarks after Sunday's 3-1 loss to Honduras in Panama City. "The players have put so much into this preparation over the last 16 months with us and our goal was to get to the World Cup, and that’s not going to happen now. The game itself, I thought we came out and did a pretty good job in the first half. We had some opportunities that we did not take. Honduras was playing very direct, which gave us a little bit of problems here and there with their strength. For the most part, I thought we did OK. They had the goal and then we came back with another goal to go even at halftime. We made a couple mistakes in the second half, and at the end of the day we couldn’t take our chances. That’s soccer at times.”
Williams added that his players have great futures ahead of them.
"One game is not going to define their career," he added. "You could see over the last 16 months working with them how they’ve developed, how they’ve become better soccer players and better people. They have great futures ahead of them. It’s unfortunate sometimes when it comes down to one game. People want to be critical. They’ve won a lot of games over the last 16 months against a lot of good teams. Coming down to one game, we can’t sit there and say that’s affected their development. We’re very disappointed. We tried our hardest. They tried their hardest to try to qualify for the World Cup. For whatever reason tonight it just didn’t work out. Honduras was the better team on the night and got the result they needed, and we didn’t, and that’s just the way it is sometimes.”
He said Honduras did what it needed to do to win.
"At the end of the day," he said, "it’s winning or losing. I thought their approach to play the game was very direct, which is fine. That’s the way they want to play. At times it was a handful for us during the game. It was effective for them. They had a couple chances from it and scored. They took their free kick well. I give them all the credit in the world for doing what they needed to do for qualifying for the World Cup, so good luck to them.”