Gold Cup: Clinical Honduras tops impressive, but wasteful Haiti

HondurasHaiti (Getty)

By IVES GALARCEP

HARRISON, N.J.– The Honduran Men’s National Soccer Team came into the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup expected to walk through Group B, even with what was largely a B team, but the reality of this Gold Cup is that easy games will be tough to come by.

The Catrachos found that out in their opener vs. Haiti on Monday night. They notched an early goal, but soon found themselves being dominated by a Haitian side with quality play in midfield. Unfortunately for the Haitians, awful finishing doomed them to a scoreless 90 minutes, and a Marvin Chavez insurance goal in the 77th minute helped Honduras secure a 2-0 victory in the Group B opener in a sold-out Red Bull Arena. The match was the Group B opener for both sides.

Honduras can secure a place in the Gold Cup quarterfinals with a win in their next Group B match, on Friday against El Salvador at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

Spurred on by a heavily pro-Honduras crowd, the Catrachos jumped on Haiti from the opening minutes, breaking through in the fourth minute when Rony Martinez ran onto a Mario Martinez pass to open the scoring with a 12-yard blast.

Rather than crumble early, Haiti shook off the early goal and proceeded to take control of the match. Knocking the ball around the middle third with relative ease against a Honduras team that seemed content to sit back and protect the lead.

Haiti’s inept finishing bordered on comical at times, with the underdogs managing nine shots from relatively close range. Conversely, Honduras only managed two shots inside the penalty area, and converted both shots into goals.

The midfield work of Jeff Louis, Peterson Joseph, Yves Desmarets and Jean-Marc Alexander helped the Haitians control the match for long stretches, but far too often their possession would end with a wayward shot or turnover.

Honduras’ defense, bolstered by the stellar play of midfielder Jorge Claros stationed in front of the back four, did well to thwart many of Haiti’s attacking forays, but the Caribbean squad still found themselves with good looks that went begging every time. Forward Leonel Saint Preaux was particularly wasteful, missing on three chances in the penalty area, including one wide-open look that drew a save from Honduran goalkeeper Donis Escobar in the 53rd minute.

Eventually, the chances stopped coming for Haiti, and Honduras regained control with the help of second-half substitutes Marvin Chavez and Alexander Lopez. Chavez sealed the victory in the 77th minute when he took a cross from Bryan Beckeles and placed a shot through the legs of a Haitian defender and past Haitian goalkeeper Frandy Montrevil.

Haiti will look to regroup on Friday with a match against Caribbean rival Trinidad & Tobago, which came back to earn a 2-2 draw vs. El Salvador in the early Group B match at Red Bull Arena.

Here are the match highlights:


What did you think of the match? Impressed with Haiti? Think Honduras can challenge for the Gold Cup title, or think they’re not quite good enough to seriously threaten the United States?

Share your thoughts below.

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33 Responses to Gold Cup: Clinical Honduras tops impressive, but wasteful Haiti

  1. Pace says:

    Interesting group. All quality sides.

  2. Socom 2 says:

    Its a joke you never see any of these “type of fans” at a Red bulls game and i bet all of them live in the US.

    • Cairo says:

      What is the joke? That RBNY hasn’t found a way to market and connect with a fan base that loves soccer? That’s not on the fans, that’s on RBNY and the Red Bulls.

      • Yevgeniy says:

        How are they supposed to “connect”? THey built an amazing stadium. They have pretty exciting players. They hired a coach who is a club legend. I am not sure what else they can do. It’s 90% on these “fans” at this point.

        • slowleftarm says:

          RBNY could certainly do a better job marketing. I’ve met big soccer fans from other countries who live here now and don’t even know the team exists.

          I also think there’s only so much you can do though. If you moved to a foreign city, would you immediately become a fan of one of the local teams and start going every week? Probably not.

          • NC Jeff says:

            Very true, but as we’ve seen, you most definitely be there if the MNT of the country of your birth was there for a Copa Oro Match.

          • Rabid RBNY says:

            Those fans would rather watch teams in the countries they are from. NY2 is going to have a tough time getting fans in Queens when clubs like Boca Juniors have such a strong hold on people their. The local politicians there that are pushing for the stadium have also publicly stated that they would not support the team because they watch clubs like Barcelona etc.

            • Hogatroge says:

              It’s pretty dammn hard to watch Barca or Boca Juniors live in NYC with any sort of regularity.

              MLS also doesn’t compete with La Liga or the Argentine Primera, so it’s silly to assume you can’t be a fan of both.

              Plus, how the hell are people in Queens watching Boca Juniors play? Online streams?

          • Yevgeniy says:

            Hmmmm, I did move to a foreign city and I did start supporting my local team – RBNY

      • Josh D says:

        This is something MLS still struggles with: there is a difference between a fan of the game and a fan of a team. Central and South American fans tend to be fanatical about their home team, and fanatical about one other European super team (Barca, Real, United, Bayern, etc.).

        They are not the kind of fans of soccer who will go to any soccer game. Which is what MLS thought. “If we build a soccer team, they will come.” Nope. You have to convince them that the MLS team (NYRB in this case) is THEIR team and represents them.

        The marketing of the NYRB does not in any way represent the common Central and South American “soccer fan.” It speaks more to the glitzy, middle and upper class.

        Soccer more so than any other sport is not a one-size fits all type of game. It transcends itself. That’s why you don’t see that kind of support, and that’s why Garber is so hopeful for City being stuffed in the middle of Queens where it can become a representation of the population.

        Don’t blame the fans. And don’t blame NY. They can’t be every team to every person. It’s like Chivas: I have a white friend who lives in California who supports Chivas just because they are opposite of LA’s Hollywood team.

    • hklife says:

      a lot of them probably travelled pretty far…

    • BrianK says:

      I was thinking the same thing,…but to be fair,…it is a case of apples and oranges. Club team vs. national teams. As someone pointed out,…many probably traveled some distance to see Haiti and Honduras. Who would travel any length to watch the Redbulls on a regular basis?

      Also,…their is the economic aspect. At the risk of generalizing,…I would guess that many in attendance last night just don’t have the disposable income to spend on season tickets to the Redbulls. Splashing out some $$ every so often to see your national team is one thing,…but making a financial commitment for a full season is a bit different.

      Nevertheless,…the Redbulls (and Metrostars) have not put a good product on the field. Constant changes in the organization (GMs, coaches, players) has made it difficult to really connect with the team. I am a season ticket holder for many years and have a hard time connecting with the team. I went down to PPL a few weeks ago and came away REALLY impressed by the whole vibe around the stadium and Union squad,…something the Redbulls lack.

      The sad thing about the Redbulls is that they have an awesome stadium,….I have been to a number of MLS stadiums and RB Arena is the best and a beautiful practice facility. Yet they just can’t make it happen. The trophy case is empty,….good players move on, crap players stick around and they drop coin on re-treads like Juninho over and over again.

      Linking all of this together,…why couldn’t they have made a play for Roger Espinoza when he was at KC? Anyone who watched the league recognized his talent. Why not throw some bucks KC’s way and offer him a nice contract. He was a known quantity. Instead he goes off to Wigan where he was a part player on a team that got relegated.

      Why can’t they go after the best player on Haiti (name someone)? Instead they drop coin on Juninho and embarrass themselves (again!) when he can’t compete and moves on.

      Folks,…this is not difficult. Any JD/MBA who grew up in this country playing soccer could figure it out in a heart beat,…instead the league hires clowns from the NBA and MLB and ownership hands the teams over to cronies who are ntohing but soccer gypsies who have no clue how soccer teams in MLS should be run.

      Take a look at Sporting KC. Any coincidence that the team is owned by Americans and run by Americans and is the class of the league?

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        The Espinoza argument verges on contradictory because he in fact left KC, he didn’t just elude NY in the abstract. Both he and Kamara went abroad in the winter. Only reason KC has one of them is Norwich balked.

        I actually take the Juninho release as a good sign. Teams like LAG and Houston may be pretty good at team building but they make mistakes too. One of the key factors to me is how quick do you fix the mistake. For example, a certain Mexican player adorned the Red Bull roster for years, weighing down a pretty good team and arguably closing its window. What’s worse? Making an expensive mistake or keeping them and letting them mess up the team? I think Marquez hurt the Henry team, and the questions now are whether Henry has enough gas in the tank or whether postseason success will require another reboot.

        Far as fans are concerned, I think NY has a snobbery element, and it’s also an expensive ticket. Quite a few MLS venues you can’t get two people into the stadium anywhere for less than $50. Combine that with a snobbery quotient and people will save their money for better teams/players.

        • slowleftarm says:

          It isn’t an expensive ticket. It’s far lower than pretty much any professional ticket in the NYC area. You can get good seats in the upper bowl for $20-$25. Some of the premium seats are probably overpriced but there really isn’t a bad seat at RBA.

        • BrianK says:

          The point on Espinoza is that teams like the Redbulls should compete for his services. Granted the allure of playing abroad exists,…but teams can compensate. Pay a transfer fee for the player (of which he may get a portion), pay a competitive salary, the attraction of playing in NY Metro area,…on a team that has no risk of getting relegated, and playing in the same hemisphere as your home country…

          He fits the bill,…young, talented, CONCACAF player who cut his teath in MLS.

          The point is,…the Redbulls should make moves for young talented players who are a known quantity in MLS and who respect the league as a opposed to burn-out re-treads like Juninho. Juninho was not putting fannies in the seats. Winning might.

  3. Pingback: Honduras vs. Haiti, 2013 Gold Cup: Final score 2-0, Haitians can’t finish … – SB Nation «

  4. Jay in Florida says:

    The only reason Honduras regained control of the midfiled is because the Haitian coach made the terrible decision of taking off Haiit’s best midfielder Ligue 1 Midfielder Jeff Louis. He would obviously upset when being sub off even the commentators made mention of it. He dominated Honduras with skill creatitivity and precise passing. Good win for Honduras but they got lucky lucky Haiti doesn’t have a quaility finisher because Honduras was completely outplayed and will defiantly need to step up if they want to complete with the like of USA, Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica.

    • Brett says:

      Yeah, that was a head-scratcher for sure.

      Haiti has always been a team that struggles to finish their chances, but honestly, they look like they could be the 2nd best team in the region when they have possession. Very attractive football.

    • Andy in Atlanta says:

      100% correct analysis… The moment I saw #7 coming off on the sub board I was in utter shock… Louis was quality and absolutely running the attacking show. Best player on the park by a margin (with Saint Preaux also doing well)… I think he has a bright bright future if he can find the right situation in Ligue 1.

  5. V-8 says:

    RBA have the ugliest looking sellout crowds I have ever seen. Watching matches from other leagues, there is no need to tell you the game is sold out: you can see it yourself. But it’s a good thing they do this at RBA.

    My only explain action for this is the concessions are so bad there the vacant seats are of those waiting for a horrible pizza.

    • slowleftarm says:

      The concessions at RBA are so incredibly slow. I could go on about how bad they are for a long, long time … as long as you typically have to wait on line.

    • Brett says:

      Yeah, it’s tough to ask people used to 24/7 entertainment to sit down for 45 minutes and watch something that can be slow-developing. Attention spans are short and we need to eat constantly to fill the boredom.

      Up in the northwest there’s no problem with that.

      • Rector & Carlisle says:

        But it’s even a mess grabbing something at the beginning of the match and at half time.

        At half time the lines can be so long you end up jogging up and down stairs trying to find shorter lines on other levels: but they’re all miserable.

        You then cut your losses and join one line then have to make a decision if, after waiting for ten minutes and hardly moving, you bail as the second half is kicking off.

      • slowleftarm says:

        I’m with you. Having been to many grounds in England, you pretty much never see anyone out of their seats during the game. I’ve noticed the same thing when I watch some of the better MLS grounds, of which Seattle is obviously an example.

        This isn’t a baseball game or NFL games where it’s going to be three and a half hours. It’s two 45 minute periods and I think people should be able to be in their seats for that time.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      IMO this has to do with the recent upsurge in second hand ticket sales, eg, Stubhub. Tickets have become more commoditized and people are buying some of the first hand tickets knowing their intent is to sell. Then maybe the price is greedy and they don’t lower it or find a buyer in time. No one says you have to scalp at face value and they often don’t. I think that’s the reason at many events these days the sell out doesn’t look it. Not every STH shows every game, nor does every scalped ticket get sold, even if the walkups by definition show.

      You could do attendance by people through the gate but then the teams would complain I sold 500-1000 more tickets that didn’t show, aren’t we measuring how many people buy tickets?

    • ... says:

      The stadium was packed last night. At least 23,000 of the announced 25,000 were there. It was full. And loud.

      Part of the issue on the video could be that the seats are all blue… and both the Honduras and El Salvador fans were in blue.

      By the end of the Honduras/Haiti game a lot of people had left, but it was after 11:30 PM and some people have to get up early for work.

  6. Yevgeniy says:

    Does anyone know if they tried to promote RBNY games last night at the stadium?

    • ... says:

      Yes, Saturday’s game vs Montreal and a couple more upcoming games–RSL was one I remember–were advertised on the big screens during both halftimes and the break in between the two games.

  7. Beto says:

    Haiti was so fustrating to watch! I believe it was 12-4 shots in the first half! Just imagine if they had someone who could finish! … someone like Jozy Altidore.

    • Ross says:

      I honestly dont know why he chose to play for US. He wouldve been a hero for Haiti’s national team and we would probably do well in every tournament and possible made the wold cup. Its mind blowing these Haitian-American kids dont know where they come from.

  8. JayD says:

    We do have a better striker in Kervens Belfort, but he is hurt. He got hurt during the game against Spain. He is our number one guy, when he is hurt St-Preux gets to start. St-Preux is known to all of us (Haitian fans) as a guy that causes a lot of trouble to defenses, but can’t finish. We call him the guy that can’t shoot.