Honduras head coach Luis Fernando Suarez said qualifying for a second consecutive World Cup was a big step forward for the small Central American country.
But after bowing out of the tournament after three straight losses in Group E, following their 3-0 defeat Wednesday against Switzerland on Wednesday, Suarez is stepping aside to allow someone else to take Los Catrachos to the next level.
The Colombian, who was out of contract after the World Cup, confirmed he would not seek a return after three years guiding Honduras.
“For my sake and Honduras’ sake, I think we need a change now,” Suarez told the media through a translator in his postgame comments.
Honduras finished third in CONCACAF qualifying to earn a World Cup berth after a rough Hexagonal. But in three tournament appearances, they have yet to win a match. Despite that, they did have a moment to cheer about, when Carlo Costly’s goal in their 2-1 loss to Ecuador in their second match was Honduras’ first since the 1982 tournament and ended a 511-minute scoring drought.
“Another person can take this position and do better things,” Suarez said. “We have young people who are very, very good, and a new coach will definitely realize that they have a very good material. And I’m very happy with the work so far. …
"I am sad that I didn’t … get to the mission they entrusted me with. It was a dream to get a victory, but I’m going to go on with my career.”
Suarez took over in 2011 after a career coaching South American clubs and leading Ecuador to the 2006 World Cup.
He also built his team around a handful of MLS players. New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengtson and San Jose Earthquakes center back Victor Bernardez started all three games of the tournament, while Houston Dynamo midfielder Boniek Garcia started the final two games. Also on the roster was Chivas USA midfielder Marvin Chavez and former MLSers Roger Espinoza and Andy Najar.
“They have a fantastic capacity,” Suarez said of his player pool. “They are incredible. They have great potential. They also have heart on the pitch. The attitude they had in seeking qualification when things were difficult when we had to face such difficult matches in CONCACAF they always had very good character and attitude.”
Bengtson played a big role in the action, especially in a second half that Suarez called “very good” when he had two near goals. Honduras controlled possession but were left vulnerable on the counterattack, which Switzerland exploited to the tune of a Xherdan Shaqiri hat trick.
“We had more control of the ball than they did, but that didn’t lead to a result,” Suarez said. “This was our attempt to impose our rhythm, and that is why I think unfortunately we didn’t manage to reverse the result. … We had to play very risky.”