Pinto calls on Honduran fighting spirit to boost WCQ cause

Head coach Jorge Luis Pinto (pictured) has Honduras within striking distance of a third straight trip to the World Cup.

SAN PEDRO SULA, HondurasHonduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto was left to lament his team’s missed chances in a 1-1 draw Tuesday with the visiting United States (2W-3D-3L, 9 points) in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

With a 1-0 lead deep into the second half, the Catrachos had a number of chances to extend their advantage, but were unable to find the back of the net again.

In the 85th minute, substitute U.S. forward Bobby Wood struck for the equalizer.

“At 1-0, we should have finished the match 2-0 or 3-0 and it wasn’t accomplished,” said Pinto in his post-match press conference.  “With seven or eight minutes left, I thought it was the best way to seal the match, but a lapse brings us this draw.”

The draw, combined with Panama’s 3-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago, saw Honduras (2W-3D-3L, 9 points) drop into fifth place in the Hexagonal, level on points with the U.S. (2-3-3, 9), but behind on goal difference (+1 to -7).

Despite Tuesday’s disappointment, Pinto has faith the current Central American champion can rise up and get the results needed in the final two matchdays against second-place Costa Rica (4-3-1, 15) and first-place Mexico (5-3-0, 18) to reach a third consecutive FIFA World Cup.

“There is minimal hope.  There are two matches that we should win no matter how,” the 64-year-old Colombian finished.  “That dream can happen.  It’s difficult.  Today, we had an advantage.  We fought to secure that advantage and we did not achieve it.

“There are no impossibles.  Things can be done.  We are going to aspire to do things; to look for those matches and look for the Catracho fighting spirit in those matches.”


World Cup Qualifying - Men
Honduras expects lift from Figueroa, Elis
World Cup Qualifying - Men
Escober makes key saves; Honduras, Australia draw in WCQ playoff opener
World Cup Qualifying - Men
World Cup Qualifying: Intercontinental Playoffs at a Glance
World Cup Qualifying - Men
Honduras’ Lozano expects tight series with Australia
World Cup Qualifying - Men
Honduras’ Acosta targets win at home vs. Australia