The semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League Finals (CNLF) were expected to be kicked off on Thursday at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado with the United States and Honduras set to play.
According to CONCACAF, the US punched their ticket to the CNLF by virtue of finishing first in Group A of League A of the CNL with a 3W-0D-1L record.
“While the US led all teams in League A in scoring with 15 goals and conceding just three, it was hardly an easy road to the CNLF,” CONCACAF said.
It said an opening 7-0 win over Cuba in the October 2019 window, thanks to a Weston McKennie hat trick, “gave the US a bright start, but things got a lot more difficult four days later in Toronto when the US lost to northern neighbors Canada 2-0, marking their first defeat to Canada since 1985.”
A month later, CONCACAF said the two North American rivals would meet on US soil in Orlando, Florida and a 4-1 win, thanks to a Gyasi Zardes brace and goals from Jordan Morris and Aaron Long, put the US in position to clinch first place in the group.
“Standing in the way was another date with Cuba, and Morris would deliver another excellent performance with two goals, to go along with Josh Sargent’s brace, sealing a place in the CNLF for the US,” CONCACAF said.
It said McKennie will be one to watch, as will dangerous attacker Christian Pulisic, who just won the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea.
“That dynamic duo, along with Sargent, give the US a fierce attacking trio,” CONCACAF said.
It said Honduras were clinical in their CNL campaign in Group C with a 3W-1D-0L record, the lone blemish being a 1-1 draw at Martinique.
Along the way, CONCACAF said the Catrachos scored eight goals while allowing just a single score.
“It started with an impressive 2-0 win at Trinidad and Tobago in the October 2019 window in which Brayan Moya and Douglas Martinez provide the goals,” CONCACAF said. “Days later a Martinique own goal propelled the Central Americans to a full three points at home in a 1-0 win over Les Matinino.
“Juan Ramon Mejia’s goal was enough to then earn a point in the 1-1 draw in Martinique to begin the November 2019 window, which Honduras then concluded in style with a 4-0 home win versus Trinidad and Tobago courtesy of goals from Moya, Jonathan Toro and an Alberth Elis brace,” it added.
CONCACAF said Elis and fellow FW Anthony Lozano will be two of the key players to watch in attack, but it said “a real threat to the US could come from midfield from 21-year-old Edwin Rodriguez.
“The Olimpia man not only was named to the Best XI of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, but he was also in the Best XI of the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, helping Honduras defeat the US 2-1 to clinch a berth in the Tokyo Olympics,” CONCACAF said.