There have been several reports the last 48 hours questioning the state of the American men’s soccer program and why the team failed to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. However, it is also time to praise the Honduras soccer program, and congratulate them on the fact they pulled off an impressive “upset” in a 2-1 win on Sunday from Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico. But was the Honduras win on Sunday, an upset at all? Remember, the United States lost to a country that finished a very respectable fourth place at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Ironically, Honduras got its first goal from an American native who is currently playing professional soccer in the United States. New York City native Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. put Honduras on the scoreboard with a goal in the fourth minute of extra time in the first half. Obregon Jr. also plays professionally in the United States as he is with Rio Grande Valley FC of the United States League Championship.
Then early in the second half, Honduras got its game-winning goal from Luis Enrique Palma Oseguera. The 21-year-old midfielder from La Ceiba put Honduras in complete control with the 2-0 lead. The Americans were able to bounce back with a goal from Jackson Yueill, but it was too little, too late.
Should we be that surprised that the United States is not going to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021? The answer is no. Remember, the United States also failed to send their men’s team to the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro too. For 2012, the United States failed to even get out of Group A and advance to the semifinals after a 2-0 loss to Canada, and for 2016, the United States was once again eliminated by Honduras in the semifinals in a 2-0 defeat. In this game, Alberth Elis of San Pedro Sula scored both goals.
Honduras meanwhile has qualified for the last three Olympic Games, and four of the last five Olympic Games. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Honduras finished in second place in Group D, ahead of soccer- power Argentina, before beating South Korea 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
We now know the 16 nations that will compete in men’s soccer at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Joining Honduras, will be Mexico, Japan, France, Germany, Romania, Spain, New Zealand, Egypt, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Argentina, and Brazil.