- July, 23 2009 -
CHICAGO -They tried to avoid speaking about it.
Most didn't want to answer questions related to the topic and if they did the answers were short.
Honduras players tried to avoid the distraction that came with the political turmoil that has shaken the nation in recent weeks.
The situation involving deposed President Manuel Zelaya remained tense. There was no way to gauge how the protests and riots in Honduras were affecting Honduran players' families back home.
And perhaps it will never be known if the players were anxious for the Gold Cup to end so they could go home.
Honduras won't have to wait much longer.
Coach Reinaldo Rueda's team was eliminated from the tournament with a 2-0 loss to the United States Thursday in the first of two semifinals at Soldier Field.
It was the United States' second win against Honduras in the tournament. The Yanks beat the Catrachos 2-0 in group play.
Honduras didn't use the uproar back home as an excuse for both loses to the Americans.
"It's very complicated, this topic, it's not easy," Rueda said in Spanish. "The situation is only one motivation for us. We always wanted to do well in the tournament. The other situation is that everyone is thinking about their family, their parents, their sisters, their brothers so there's some worry there."
Players and coaches followed Honduran news via the internet and gathered information when calling home as the involved parties tried to find a resolution.
United States coach Bob Bradley complimented Rueda and his team for its performance despite the distractions.
"They also proved that they have a deep pool of players because we know the players from their team that are not here," Bradley said. "I think it shows that Reinaldo Rueda does a good job. As for as the political situation, I am sure it's on their minds. How could it not be? And the fact that they were successful in this tournament is a credit to the team and the way they've handled things."
There's more work ahead for team Honduras as the country awaits a political change.
The focus now chances to World Cup qualifying for Honduras. They have matches scheduled at home against Costa Rica (August 12) and Trinidad and Tobago (September 5).
Could going home help the players and coaching staff relax?
"I think the word relaxed doesn't exist," Ruedas said. "First of all let's ask God that we make it back safe. What is happening in the country calls for a better situation. Each player has to return to his club and they have to continue with their professional obligations and have to be ready. We hope the social situation improves."