It was no secret coming into the Gold Cup that Honduras wasn't the same team that finished third in World Cup qualifying two years ago. They were without a couple key players and several others were in poor form. When they got drawn into a weak Group B though, they were clear favorites to win the group and that road to winning the group began Monday night against Guatemala. Apparently Guatemala had not heard that the Catrachos were favorites and despite having to play two men down, Guatemala managed a shocking scoreless draw before 21,507 fans at the Home Depot Center.
The scoreline may not excite many, but the play sure did. With both teams were sloppy at the back and nieve tactically, the match turned into an attack-fest. It started just one minute into the match with Honduras getting in alone on goal, but sliding the shot just a foot wide of the post. It continued on the other end with Guatemala throwing cross after cross into the box, only to see them cleared away. Guatemala then tried carrying the ball into the box with deeper runs and it worked, but they couldn't manage to get a shot away that would challenge the keeper. Honduras came back on the other end with Oscar Garcia, whose shot from 20 yards rattled the crossbar, but couldn't make a dent in the scoreboard.
By the time the two teams went to halftime the teams had combined for 16 shots and had spent only a few minutes in the center of the pitch. All the action was in the attacking thirds as the defenses scrambled, the midfields lacked bite and the attackers had a field day.
That's a field day without the finishing though, something that would continue through the second half. The pace in the second 45 minutes didn't let up and the chances didn't go away. The teams combined for 11 more shots, but the goals never came.
The match was supposed to get its influx of goals when Guatemala was forced to 10 men. Gustavo Cabrera's high boot took a chunk out of a Hunduran and it was his second yellow card so he was show the door. The favored Hondurans got their break, up a man for the final 30 minutes and surely would score to get the win most expected. Then, Henry media was sent off in the 79th minute for his second yellow card and Guatemala was down to nine men. Surely the underdogs would falter.
Guatemala stood strong though, dropping deep in the midfield and forcing Honduras into searching crosses or shots from distance. None of that paid off and the noisy crowd that was split evenly between each team's supporters for most of the match began to sound distinctly Guatemalan. They felt their team on the verge of a great draw and that is what they got. The referee blew for the final whistle and Guatemala had themselves a shocking point, while the Hondurans' path to the top of Group B got much trickier.
With Jamaica's 4-0 win over Grenada earlier in the day, they take over first place in Group B with three points. They also have a huge advantage in goal difference at +4, while Honduras and Guatemala sit in front of Grenada with a point apiece. Group B action continues on Friday in Miami, FL with Jamaica taking on Guatemala and Honduras squaring off against Grenada.