The best way to describe the United States’ task on Tuesday lands somewhere around: not quite ideal, but appreciably manageable.
The bottom line in a home match against Guatemala is that Jurgen Klinsmann and his players have every right to be confident in their target of a draw or a win against a far smaller nation with lesser soccer chops – and subsequent advancement into final round qualifying that comes with that result.
Oh, that our northern neighbors could say the same.
The Canadians have a bridge to reach, and while it may ultimately not be too far, it is far less accessible than the American’s relatively easy crossing.
Canada needs a draw in one of the tougher places in this region to go get a result. Honduras has always had the intimidating atmosphere – some veterans even call it the most intimidating place they have ever played. Now the Hondurans have a pretty good team to go with it, so the points are even more difficult to pull out of Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano in the Honduran capital of San Pedro Sula.
The situation is more difficult still for the absence of Canada’s top attackers, injured playmaker Dwayne De Rosario and suspended target man Olivier Occean.
What veteran defender Andre Hainault said about playing in San Pedro Sula, where 40,000 fans will stack themselves into the country’s national soccer ground:
Probably the most hostile atmosphere I’ve ever played in. I can remember coming out for the game and there’s this caged tunnel and the people are climbing all over and shaking it.”