Home Cookin' Denies Mexico

Most of us have been around CONCACAF qualifiers long enough to know that home crowds can affect a ref's decisions. Most of us have been watching soccer long enough to know that this phenomenon isn't exclusive to CONCACAF either.

Carlos Costly certainly knows it. He has been using the dark arts to score goals for years. Especially against Mexico. After scoring off a corner kick, it was he who caught Courtney Campbell's eye by taking a tumble and earning a penalty. Memo Ochoa stopped Jerry Bengston's shot, but not his rebound as Honduras erased their 2-goal deficit. It ended 2-2.

Normally, getting any kind of result in Honduras for Mexico would be big news. It had been 20 years since they had won in the country and another 50 since they left San Pedro Sula as victors. So a draw would normally be a good result.

Not when you lose a 2 goal lead, though.

There will be many, many people who will blame the ref for the result, but why? Is anyone really surprised that a penalty that was so soft, it could be used as a concept for an upcoming toilet paper campaign, was called at San Pedro Sula, with that raucous home crowd?

It happens. Just like it would happen at the Azteca, or the Cuscatlan, or the Nacional...

The ref did not hand Honduras the draw. Mexico gave it away. Javier Hernandez' double should have been enough, but it wasn't. Sloppy passing, defending and overall game management opened the door for the Catrachos. They gladly obliged, and by the time Mexico needed a goal for the win, their two best players had cramped up and been subbed off.

The rest of the players were beyond spent. It was hotter than Laredo in August out there!

In the end, though, Mexico did what it was supposed to do on the road. Get the point and prevent your opponent from getting 2 for themselves. They'll have back-to-back opportunities to get those elusive road points when qualifying heats up again in June. They need 'em after Jamaica denied them 2 points at home last month.

But before that, they have a game to play. I don't think I have to tell you against whom.

And the Azteca is sold out.