SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — It wasn't the horror show Canada endured the last time it played in Honduras. But once again, the men's national team is leaving the Central American country empty-handed.
Romell Quioto's goal in the 50th minute was the difference as Honduras beat Canada 2-1 on Friday afternoon in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Defender Manjrekar James had given Canada a 1-0 lead before Mario Martinez tied the game right before halftime.
"If we go in (to halftime) one-nil up it's a different game," said David Edgar. "I thought everyone gave it their all today, we just fell short. Still all to play for now."
The result puts Canada's hopes of advancing to the final round of qualifying in the CONCACAF region almost out of reach. Honduras now has seven points and has a zero goal difference while Canada is on four points and has a minus-5 goal difference. Both teams trail group leaders Mexico, which has already qualified.
The Canadians return to Vancouver on Tuesday for a game against El Salvador at B.C. Place Stadium needing a victory and Honduras to lose in Mexico by enough goals for Canada to move ahead on goal difference.
"We came here to win the game and if you don't win it then try to draw but we were disappointed with that (result), but it was the best worst-case scenario for us," said midfielder Scott Arfield. "We're looking forward to Tuesday night and we'll have our fans behind us and anything can happen."
The last time Canada played in Honduras four years ago, its World Cup qualifying hopes were crushed with an infamous 8-1 loss.
Canada hasn't qualified for the final round of World Cup qualifying since the cycle for the 1998 World Cup.
James gave Canada a stunning lead when he headed in a corner kick delivered by Arfield in the 35th minute.
The goal came after Canada had absorbed a great deal of Honduran pressure which fit the Canadian tactics perfectly by frustrating the hosts, taking up space and generally making it difficult for them to create chances.
So often the victims of time-wasting tactics, the frenzied Honduran crowd grew restless in the first half when Canada turned the trick by taking every possible second afforded during stoppages.
"We had a good game plan and for the first 15 to 20 minutes we stuck to it," said midfielder Atiba Hutchinson. "We really didn't give up too much in the beginning and we got our chance and we took our chance and got our goal but as the game went on, we lost our shape."
Honduras had a number of opportunities to get things level but Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan made a number of stunning saves including two off Antony Lozano in the 26th and 45th minutes.
But Canada gave Honduras one too many chances after being unable to clear a corner kick and Martinez struck from long range through traffic to tie the game seconds before halftime.
As structured as Canada was in the first half, it was gone early in the second. Alberth Elis crossed in from the right hand side and Quioto was all alone with Canadian defender Doneil Henry a step behind and Quioto knocked it in from close range.
The next 2018 World Cup will take place in Russia.