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Bulls Abroad: Canada's Hexagonal hopes fall with loss to Honduras

Close, but not quite close enough for Canada and Karl Ouimette.

Brian Kersey/Getty Images

Canada's men's national team is currently locked into a quadrennial cycle of testing itself against Honduras. Back in 2012, the team went to San Pedro Sula and got spanked, 8-1. In 2016, it can be pleased to report that it did significantly better, losing only 2-1.

The Canadians shocked their hosts by taking the lead in the 35th minute through Manjrekar James. The defender towered over a thicket of players at a corner and headed past 'keeper Donis Escober.

Honduras had a lot of the ball and most of the chances throughout, but were made to wait until first-half stoppage time for the equalizer. Mario Martinez fired in from distance, beating not just the 'keeper but just about every player on the pitch, as most were still in the box having gathered for a corner.

In the second half, Los Catrachos didn't have to wait too long for the lead. In the 55th minute, Alberth Elis chased a long ball into the final third and played a perfect cross into the area for Romell Quioto - trailing most of Canada's defense behind him - to tap in.

That was enough for the win, but the fact Canada did not concede more than the two goals Honduras needed for three points gives Benito Floro's men some hope heading into their final game of this qualifying round.

Honduras is three points ahead of Canada in the standings, with one foot in the next and final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. But Los Catrachos play El Tri in Mexico next - a game they will be expected to lose. Canada plays El Salvador at home - a game it can win. If results go as expected, the second-placed team in the group will be decided by tiebreakers.

Canada holds the advantage in the head-to-head tiebreakers with Honduras: the two teams took the same number of points from the games between them (three each), scored the same number of goals (two each), but the Canadians have an away goal in the series and the Hondurans do not.

The head-to-head analysis, however, is secondary to overall group goal difference and goals scored. Canada don't just need to beat El Salvador and have Mexico beat Honduras, those results need to combine to let the Canadians make up an overall goal difference that is currently five goals worse than that of Los Catrachos.

And if overall goal difference and points are equal, Canada will need to have scored at least four against El Salvador to catch up with Honduras' current goals scored total.

It's a tall order for Canada to get to the next round of qualifying from here, but it's not impossible. A 3-0 win for Mexico over Honduras is a plausible result. So too is a 3-0 win for Canada over El Salvador. And that would send Canada to the Hex.

The New York Red Bulls' Karl Ouimette (currently on loan to Jacksonville Armada) didn't get off the bench in Honduras and likely won't see the field against El Salvador. But he is a regular in the national team squad that will be hoping to put enough goals past the Salvadorans on September 6 to make the Mexico-Honduras game that follows it significant.