Honduras pulled off the biggest upset of the Olympic soccer tournament today, taking out one of the gold medal favorites, Spain 1-0 at St. James' Park in Newcastle. The loss eliminated the Spaniards from the tournament after their loss to Japan in their first group game. Meanwhile, the win by Honduras puts them in a very good position to advance to the next round.
Sporting KC midfielder, Roger Espinoza, had himself a great performance for Honduras, including assisting on the lone goal of the game. He ran himself ragged for 72 minutes before being subbed out looking exhausted. Espinoza picked up a yellow card early in the game that suspended him for Honduras' final group stage game against Japan. And he seemed to kick it up to a new level knowing that he'd be unable to play in the finale. Shortly after the yellow card Espinoza set up the one goal. Espinoza combined with DC United midfielder Andy Najar on the wing and Espinoza's cross found the head of Jerry Bengtson who beat David De Gea.
Honduras continued to play extremely well holding off but it took them a lot of luck to hold of Spain as well. The Spaniards hit the bar a few times and probably should have had at least 1 PK in the second half. On top of that, Jose Mendoza had a fantastic game. Espinoza should have doubled Honduras' lead himself in the 51st, but his open header hit the post and bounced back into play.
Honduras held on in the end, using some of the theatrics that US fans have grown to loath from many of the central American countries when leading, but Honduras got the result.
Honduras can guarantee themselves in the knock out phase with a draw against the Japanese, but could still go through with a loss if Morocco doesn't beat Spain. If Morocco does win while Honduras loses, things could get a little more complicated with all the tie breakers. Honduras finishing second would likely seem them meet Brazil in the quarterfinals. Should Honduras advance, the quarterfinals would be August 4th, four days before the US Open Cup final. Should Honduras fall there Espinoza could be back to play in the final against the Sounders, if Honduras make the semifinals, they're the day before the final.
The other aspect of the performance today is the fact that it's the second biggest window Espinoza's ever been in next to the World Cup in 2010. And Espinoza and Honduras are having a much better Olympics than their World Cup. Espinoza has himself in the shop window and is impressing well. I would not be surprised to see Sporting KC get some more offers for Espinoza's services.