HOUSTON – As Boniek García watches his Honduran national team make its way through the CONCACAF Gold Cup, he can’t help but notice this is not the team he is used to seeing.
He's well aware this isn't quite the full "A" team, as his own absence attests. But according to the Houston Dynamo midfielder, there is a certain attacking quality missing. With Honduras facing Costa Rica in Baltimore on Sunday in the most intriguing matchup of the quarterfinals (7 pm ET, Fox Soccer/Univision), the Catrachos would do well to find that bit of magic.
“It hasn’t been the flashiest style of football,” García told MLSsoccer.com through a translator. “It hasn’t been the style of football that we necessarily like to practice. The attitude of the players and the fact that they’ve been willing to fight for 90 minutes is good. It’s just not what our head coach [Luis Fernando Suárez] would like to see, but from the outside, things are OK.”
The stats back up García’s claims. Honduras scored just three goals in three group-stage games. Compare that with 11 scored by the US and six by Mexico – the region’s standard-bearers – and it’s easy to see where his concern comes from.
Honduras’ attacking struggles extend beyond the Gold Cup. While the play with the full team – of which García is a major contributor – is flowing and attractive, the team has yearned for a consistent goalscorer.
One player who has caught García’s eye is his former Olimpia teammate Alex López. The 21-year-old is a creative force for his club and has shown flashes with the national team during the tournament. López was linked with MLS in January and García believes his game would thrive stateside.
“Out of everyone, I think he’s the one that’s done the best job,” García said. “He knows how to manage the flow of the game. I think he’s a very dynamic player and would enjoy and do well playing in MLS.”
While the style has been different, García has confidence that his countrymen can get the job done in the Gold Cup. Against Costa Rica, he believes that history will continue with his team holding serve over its rivals.
“It’ll be a difficult game. It’s a Central American derby and you can’t expect anything less from a game like that,” García said. “I know they’ve beat us last two times around, but Honduras has historically had the edge in the Gold Cup. Hopefully that continues for us.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.