HOUSTON — Amidst a roar of cheers from their fans, Honduras trained on the pitch of Robertson Stadium on Monday in advance of their big Gold Cup semifinal Wednesday against mighty Mexico, a huge favorite to reach the tournament's final.
Despite the daunting task that lies ahead, a confident Catrachos squad was all smiles as they trained under the Houston sun. But among the hubbub was the dour demeanor of head coach Luis Fernando Suárez, who's a little annoyed with CONCACAF's decision to allow Mexico to replace the five players suspended for doping.
"There are established rules and I think that to change them during the course of the tournament doesn't look good," Suárez said following Monday's training session. "[CONCACAF's decision] to change the rules shouldn't have been done."
The tactician argued that if Mexico were allowed to bring in reinforcements, then so should Honduras, who could use a little help to strengthen a team hit by injuries.
"We, for example, using a specific case like Maynor Figueroa — he was injured," said Suárez. "We registered him and he's no longer here. Therefore, we should have been able to change the rules and asked to bring in another player. [But], as the rules state, we couldn't bring one in."
Honduras could use some fresh legs. Los Catrachos have been dealing with multiple injuries to key figures Figueroa, Wilson Palacios and Mauricio Sabillón, all three of whom are on the mend.
But with the vital Wednesday night match quickly approaching, Honduras would rather now focus on the game than on whether or not the rules were bent for their opponents.
"We're not thinking about that," said dangerous striker Jerry Bengston. "I didn't know anything about that. "We're just working hard and we're ready. [Mexico] are a strong team but we've got our own stuff."
Added Sabillón, "We just have to focus on ourselves, in what we've done in this Gold Cup."