Scouting Honduras: U.S. Assistant Curt Onalfo
U.S. Assistant Coach Curt Onalfo breaks down an experienced, organized, and dangerous Honduran side.
Whenever you go up against a Bora Milutinovic team, you need to be prepared for anything. The five-time world cup coach always seems to have something up his sleeve, and will be particularly interested in getting a result tonight since his team has not performed well during his tenure. Their record is 0-3-1, and Bora is still seeking his first win as a coach of this squad.
Having seen some of their recent friendlies, we anticipate they will play out of their traditional 4-4-2 formation in tonight’s game. Defensively, they really look to get numbers behind the ball, defending with a flat back four and another line of four midfielders. Their defensive organization and ability to slide and pressure the ball effectively makes them very hard to break down, as evidenced by the fact that they have conceded only four goals in their last four games. In order for our team to be successful, we will need to make the game as fast as possible. We will need to play and move the ball quickly when appropriate, look to switch the point of attack and have good player movement off the ball to penetrate their defensive shell.
The Honduras defensive posture, in turn, gives them an enormous amount of space in which to counterattack. Carlos Pavon, who plays for Mexican first division club Morelia, and Milton “Tyson” Nunez will be a constant threat by using their athleticism and exceptional speed to get behind our back line. These two Honduran attaching players are in excellent form, each with a goal in their last three appearances. They are two very different attacking players, but equally dangerous. Pavon is a tall, stocky striker that holds the ball well, has good pace and is excellent at getting his head on service in the box. Nunez is the complete opposite, standing a mere 5’4” tall but possessing breakaway speed and a nose for the goal. Our defensive unit will need to be on top of their game on Wednesday to keep these two forwards off the score sheet.
In the midfield, much of their play goes through their most skillful and talented player, the MetroStars Amado Guevara. He is an excellent passer of the ball, and is responsible for dictating the Honduran rhythm of play. Guevara, Nunez and Pavon have a real good understanding of each other, and the combination play among them proves it. When they opt not to play through Guevara, they simply look to pump the ball up to Pavon and employ a more direct mode of attack.
This game is an important one for our team. We’re excited to have our European-based players back into the mix, especially after the strong performance against Poland in March. More significantly, it’s our final look at the mix of players before World Cup qualifying starts against Grenada, and I’m sure that everyone one of our players will be looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunity.