HARRISON, N.J. – Losing to Costa Rica for the first time in CONCACAF Gold Cup play was frustrating for Honduras. Losing in the fashion that they did was even more so.
Honduras are behind the eight ball in Group A after suffering a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica in their tense tournament opener at Red Bull Arena on Friday night. Los Catrachos fell victim to Marco Ureña's goal in the 39th minute of the tense match, and were never able to find an equalizer.
Not that they did not have their chances.
The Hondurans finished the match with three shots on target, one more than Los Ticos, but had 15 in total on the night. Several did not miss the frame by much, but nonetheless proved costly.
“It’s good to have chances, but it certainly is worrisome that we don’t finish them off,” said Honduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto. “We were missing that tonight.”
Houston Dynamo duo Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis were at the front and center of most of Honduras’ best opportunities. Quioto had a glorious look in the 38th minute when he got on the end of a deep cross, but shanked his effort. A minute later, Ureña scored.
Elis, meanwhile, was very active after coming off the bench at halftime. He came within inches of putting the Hondurans on even terms on a couple of occasions, including on a headed attempt that saw him narrowly miss the ball. He never found that final bit of quality in the final third.
“I think we showed over the course of 90 minutes that we were better than Costa Rica, but they had their chance on goal and took advantage of it,” said Quioto. “That was enough for us to lose the game.”
Added Elis: “We lacked clinical finishing and I think that decided that game. We need to get better at that, and do a better job in the next game.”
Honduras know they cannot dwell on the stinging defeat and need to find their finishing boots to better position themselves in Group A. Currently, the Hondurans are in third behind Costa Rica and leaders Canada.
A match against massive underdog French Guiana looms for Los Catrachos, who will be heavily favored despite Friday’s wastefulness.
Still, Honduras know that they have plenty to work on, particularly in the final third, to advance out of the group and make serious noise in this tournament.
“We have to demonstrate that we came to this tournament to be protagonists and not just to travel for fun,” said Quioto.