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USA vs. Honduras, 2018 World Cup qualifying: Honduras Scouting Report

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Honduras, led by several MLS players, looking to upset desperate USMNT

United States v Honduras: Group A - 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Honduras will hope to upset a desperate United States Men’s National Team when the two sides meet on Friday.

Los Catrachos typically struggle against the USMNT, with a 4-15-4 all-time record. Honduras looks to improve on its 4th place ranking (1-1-0 record) in the CONCACAF Hex and faces significantly less pressure than the last place U.S.

The Honduran team is full of veterans with vast CONCACAF experience.

Honduras Roster

Goalkeepers (3): Ricardo Canales (Vida), Donis Escober (Olimpia), Luis Lopez (Real España)

Defenders (8): Ever Alvarado (Olimpia), Brayan Beckeles (Necaxa/MEX), Felix Crisianto (Motagua), Henry Figueroa (Motagua), Maynor Figueroa (FC Dallas/USA), Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic/SCO), Cesar Oseguera (Real España), Allans Vargas (Real España),

Midfielders (10): Brayan Acosta (Real España), Erick Andino (Motagua), Jorge Claros (Real España), Carlos Disuca (Motagua), Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kansas City/USA), Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo/USA), Mario Martinez (Enppi; EGY), Oliver Morazan (Juticalpa FC), Andy Najar (Anderlecht/BEL), Romell Quioto (Houston Dynamo/USA)

Forwards (5): Rubilio Castillo (Motagua), Michael Chirinos (Olimpia/HON), Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo/USA), Eddie Hernandez (Tolima/COL), Anthony Lozano (Tenerife/ESP)

Honduras will lineup in either a 4-5-1 or 4-4-2. The team will be anchored by 37 year-old goalkeeper Donis Escober.

The defense is led by veteran captain Maynor Figueroa. Figueroa excels at intercepting passes and provides important leadership.

Figueroa’s partner in central defense is likely to be the backline’s weak link. Look for that partner to be Allans Vargas. Vargas was a starter for Honduras in January’s Copa Centroamericana and is a star for Honduran side Real Espana. Vargas is solid in the air, but is overly aggressive and only has six caps.

Celtic leftback Emilio Izaguirre is one of the top defenders in the Scottish Premier League (SPL) and should start at his normal position or centerback. Izaguirre is very quick and a good tackler, but doesn’t offer much going forward.

Projected Lineup:

Sporting KC defensive midfielder Roger Espinoza will play a key role in midfield. His hard tackling, tight marking, and impressive stamina result in him frequently disrupting opposition attacks.

Attacking midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia is one of Honduras’ best playmakers and will need to create several scoring chances in order for his team to win. Garcia has been a disappointment playing for the Houston Dynamo the past five seasons and has only appeared as a substitute this season. The battle between Garcia and Michael Bradley will be key.

Andy Najar seems likely to get the nod at right midfield. Najar typically plays rightback for Anderlecht, but has experience playing right midfield. His dribbling skill and high motor make him a handful for defenders.

Honduras has several options at left midfield, but with 64 caps Mario Martinez seems the most likely to get the start. He is an excellent free-kick taker and has impressive passing range.

Up top, forwards Alberth Elis and Anthony Lozano could be a handful for the USMNT defense. Elis has been in excellent form for the Houston Dynamo with a goal and assist in three games.

Lozano has struggled for Spanish second division side Tenerife with just 4 goals in 20 league games. He typically plays better for the national team than his club team and has scored more goals for Honduras than anyone else on this roster.

In order for Honduras to win this game, it will have to be compact defensively and avoid losing focus. The USMNT will likely dominate the ball, forcing them to spend a lot of time defending. Honduras will need to counter quickly and if Graham Zusi is playing right back, look for Los Catrachos to attack him. Honduras has several talented players, but should be over-matched by the U.S.