Thanks to Andy Najar’s first goal in a Honduras shirt, los Catrachos are through to the Gold Cup semifinals for the fourth time in the last five tournaments. And for the third time over that stretch, their opponents will be the United States.
Four minutes out of halftime, the former D.C. United Academy product deposited a diving header into the net to give Honduras an eventual 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in a particularly physical battle between the old Central American foes at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
The 20-year-old Najar was Honduras’ danger man most of the evening with his speed that got behind Costa Rica’s defense relentlessly, and he nearly supplied Marvin Chávez with another Catrachos goal in the 55th minute, but his cross was just out of reach of the San Jose Earthquakes winger.
Álvaro Saborío started up top for Costa Rica, and it was another frustrating evening for the Real Salt Lake star, as he failed to find the next four a fourth straight match. He put a virtual tap-in just wide of the goal in just the second minute, headed a corner kick just wide on the hour mark and then had a one-on-one opportunity saved by Honduras ’keeper Donis Escober just two minutes later.
Columbus Crew striker Jairo Arrieta again started next to Saborío, but saw few opportunities before being subbed off in the 72nd minute. New York Red Bulls defender Roy Miller again got the start for Los Ticos, but Portland Timbers winger/defender Rodney Wallace didn’t get off the bench.
Honduras next face the US on Wednesday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas (7 pm ET, Fox Soccer), looking to advance past the Americans to the final for the first time in the Gold Cup.