SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – With more than 40,000 vocal Hondurans likely on Tuesday at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, Julian de Guzman has a pretty good idea of what his team will be facing.
“I expect hell,” the Canadian national team midfielder told reporters on Monday after their only training session ahead of Tuesday’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Honduras (4 pm ET, Sportsnet). “That’s all you can expect coming into these games and these guys are going to come out with their lives.
“It’s come down to the stage where it comes down to the most important game not just for ourselves, but for the entire country.”
Since arriving this past weekend, the Canadian team has experienced both types of weather that are possible for Tuesday. When the sun is beaming down, the heat is simply oppressive. And when it's not, the temperature is completely comfortable.
Regardless, while the Canadians will be hoping for some clouds to dot the sky on Tuesday, de Guzman’s experience this season in Dallas will come in handy.
“I’ve gotten used to [the heat] being in Dallas, so it’s something you know how to pace yourself through,” he said. “I think that a couple of the guys who play in climates that compare to Honduras will be able to adapt easily and let the other guys know what to expect.”
Faced with tough odds in hostile territory, de Guzman points to the chemistry as the group as something that will help them come together in a venue where it will be essentially them against an entire country.
Tuesday could be the final time some of the players are together for the national team and it's something they want to avoid. De Guzman is one of a number of Canadian internationals who have played together since the youth levels and, with this being potentially the end of the line internationally for some, now is the time for that team chemistry to help extend the team's run.
“This is where this team is special in remaining together,” he said. “We’ve proven that over the course of these qualifiers. We’ve been a tough unit mentally, physically and it’s about time we showed this on the road how complete of a team we are.”