Two teams who squandered early leads in their previous match continue to search for their first victory in the final round of World Cup 2022 qualifying, as Honduras host Costa Rica on Thursday from Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.
The Hondurans conceded four second-half goals, losing 4-1 to the USA in their last game, while Los Ticos drew 1-1 at home to Jamaica.
They have gotten off to some solid starts, but in their first three games in this CONCACAF qualifying round, Los Catrachos have struggled to maintain that momentum for 90 minutes.
Fabian Coito has seen his side come out very determined, but they have not had an answer when they get that push from their opponents.
Since their second game at the Gold Cup this past summer, this group of veterans have struggled to keep pace with some of the more youthful sides in the region, conceding 12 goals in their last six games in all competitions.
There is a wealth of experience on this side, who know what it takes to make the finals, having qualified in 2010 and 2014, with over 300 caps between two players alone, however, their creativity on the field has been lacking to this point of the campaign.
For a group of players who have been together for so long at the international level, it is surprising to see them struggle to make the simple plays, clicking at a pass accuracy no higher than 76% in any one of their three matches thus far.
Last month, their defeat to the US was the first time that they had lost a match in their home stadium since falling to Panama 1-0 in a qualifying fixture in 2016.
If there is a side in CONCACAF at this competition who can rival Honduras in terms of experience, it would be Costa Rica, who have three players on their current roster with at least 100 appearances for the national team.
Luis Fernando Suarez, who led the Hondurans to the World Cup in 2014, has found it challenging to get his new team going offensively, as they have only scored once in their last five fixtures dating back to their Gold Cup quarter-final defeat to Canada.
They found the mark early versus the Reggae Boyz, scoring in the third minute, but rarely looked threatening after that, with most of their shots coming from outside the 18-yard box.
That goal ended a run of four straight games without one in all competitions, and a goal on Thursday would be their first as the visiting team since beating Suriname 2-1 in their second match at the Gold Cup.
They were only able to generate one shot on target in each of their opening two fixtures this round, though they have put at least one past Honduras in each of their last five matches against them, going back to 2017.
Los Ticos have never qualified for three consecutive World Cup finals, though they came close to accomplishing that feat in their 2010 campaign, losing out on goal difference in the final CONCACAF round, before eventually being eliminated by Uruguay in the inter-confederation playoffs 2-1 on aggregate.
Honduras World Cup Qualifying – North Central America form:
Honduras form (all competitions):
Costa Rica World Cup Qualifying – North Central America form:
Costa Rica form (all competitions):
We say: Honduras 1-1 Costa Rica
These may be the two most experienced sides remaining in CONCACAF qualifying, but it has not served either of them all that well as they both look rather ordinary and unable to find a lot of attacking solutions.