WASHINGTON -- Major League Soccer players past and present played a huge part in Honduras' 8-1 rout of Canada on Tuesday, a win that lifted Los Catrachos into the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying and eliminated Canada.
New England Revolution forward Jerry Bengtson and former Houston Dynamo forward Carlo Costly each netted hat tricks, and Seattle Sounders winger Mario Martinez scored two goals to account for all of Honduras' tallies. In the nation's capital, one of Honduras' other representatives in MLS watched from afar with great interest, as 19-year-old D.C. United rising star Andy Najar saw his dream of potentially playing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup continue. With Honduras still alive in the qualifying process after being on the brink of elimination, Najar is hoping for a role in next year's hexagonal to try and help Honduras get back to the world's biggest stage.
"I'm very happy for the team that they're going to have the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup, and in my particular case, if I get called up and can contribute to that cause, it would be an honor for me," Najar told Goal.com through a translator.
Najar was a big part of Honduras' Olympic success this past summer, starring for Los Catrachos in the United Kingdom and assisting on the goal that eventually took down Spain's favored team in group play. Although he was not called in for this last round of World Cup qualifiers, that hardly prevented him from being heavily invested in the outcome of Tuesday's do-or-die match in San Pedro Sula.
"Obviously I'm very happy for the team," Najar said. "It was a great day. They needed to win the game to make it to the next round, and I salute the team.
"Everyone knew it was important to get that first goal, and after they got that first goal they got three mroe to go up 4-0 at halftime, then four more in the second half. It was an unexpected result. No one expected that, but I was obviously very happy."
The result carried some extra weight in the D.C. United locker room, where Najar shares space with Canadian internationals Dwayne De Rosario and Dejan Jakovic. Neither player participated in Tuesday's debacle, with De Rosario unavailable with a knee injury and Jakovic being an unused substitute on coach Stephen Hart's bench.
"I saw Dwayne, and he congratulated me on the win," Najar said. "I'm sure for him the loss hurts, because they were looking forward to qualifying as well, but that's just the nature of the game."
Before Najar can turn his attention to a potential place in Honduras' squad for the hexagonal, all of the focus remains on D.C. United's quest to make the playoffs. Najar, who has become a full-time right back for coach Ben Olsen after spending the majority of his almost three professional seasons as a winger, has not had the chance to participate in the playoffs in his time in MLS, with D.C. failing to qualify for the postseason in every year since 2007. The club can cement a playoff berth with a draw or win against the Columbus Crew on Saturday at RFK Stadium.
"It would be a great experience to make the playoffs," Najar said. "The team hasn't made the playoffs for a few years. Saturday's game is the most important game of the season, so all of us, as a team, are looking forward to getting the victory and securing passage to the playoffs."
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- Andy Najar