Andy Najar, Honduras Open Olympics With 2-2 Draw Against Morocco


D.C. United's Andy Najar went the full 90 minutes for Honduras, who will be slightly disappointed to have only managed a 2-2 draw against a Morocco team that ended the game with 10 men. Najar started the match as the right winger in a 4231 alignment for Los Catrachos, but after 23 minutes was switched to the left as Honduras coach Luis Suarez sought the right combination to break down a defensive-minded Moroccan side. The switch was fortuitous for Najar, who was moved closer to left back Maynor Figueroa, who looked like the best player either team has. With Figueroa exerting about as much control on a match as a left back can, Najar came to life after being a bit stranded in the early going. Honduras conceded the opener - a lovely volley by Abdelaziz Barrada, the top Moroccan player - but Najar nearly equalized straight away. Mario Martinez forced a turnover in a dangerous spot, but his cutback was inexplicably a yard behind Najar, who could only scoop the ball over while reaching back behind himself to try and make contact. Najar's second half performance was better than the first 45, as he managed to dribble past various defenders several times to create chances. Unfortunately for Najar, his crosses either lacked an aggressive run from the target, or were deflected away by the packed Moroccan defense. United fans may have also recognized Honduran right back Arnold Peralta, who had been rumored as a DC target after the Olympic qualifying tournament. Other familiar faces for Honduras included New England Revolution striker Jerry Bengtson (scorer of both Honduran goals) and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza. Najar's next chance to shine will be a huge challenge against Spain, who were upset 1-0 by Japan in their opening game. That game should kick off around 2:45 EST on Sunday.