02 April, 2012
Better get to know this guy. That is Jose Mendoza, Honduras U-23 goalkeeper and absolute stud. Mendoza stopped everything Mexico shot at him for the first 115 minutes of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament final, except one laser beam by Marco Fabian that no one could have stopped. Honduras played the entire extra time period ten against eleven following the ejection of Luis Garrido for a vicious tackle on Marco Fabian (second yellow) and Mendoza was called upon to make about a million saves. But, in the 116th minute, just four minutes away from a penalty shootout, American-Mexican Miguel Ponce of Guadalajara Chivas found himself unmarked on the far left post and volleyed it into the open net. Mexico 2-1 over Honduras.
Honduras seized the lead over Mexico 1-0 in the 48th minute, when Rommel Quioto out-leaped everyone and solidly headed a Honduras corner into the net. But Marco Fabian, also with Guadalajara Chivas, became the tournament's leading goal scorer with his fifth goal in the 74th minute to tie the game and send it to overtime. Marco Fabian moved past the USA's Joe Corona, who had four goals in two fewer games. Marco Fabian scored in both the semifinal and final matches, as did Miguel Ponce.
Incidentally, there were quite a few Mexico fans wearing blue jerseys at Kansas City's LiveStrong Park, along with their traditional sombreros. Mexico were in green. Could they be wearing the other team's jersey? Nope. Closer inspection revealed that they were Kansas Jayhawks basketball jerseys, since the Jayhawks were playing against Kentucky in the NCAA final at the same time. Let's assume they DVR'ed the basketball game.
I'm going to come right out and say this: Honduras would have beaten us. They deserve the spot in the Olympics, and they are going to be a good team for years. Better than we are, at least for now. Good for the Catrachos, bad for us.
Photo: El Heraldo (Honduras)
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