Barring some sort of miracle, a trip down to San Pedro Sula will once again be where Canada's chances of qualifying for a FIFA World Cup went to die. Today's 2-1 loss to Honduras has Canada's qualification campaign on thin ice, and it may be all but a formality before it shatters underneath them.
Something about that stadium, perhaps the heat, the intimidating crowd, the terrible pitch conditions or a combination of all of these elements is kryptonite for the Canadian men's national team. They looked a shadow of themselves today, completely defeated the moment Honduras scored their second goal.
It was all made worse by the fact that Honduras really didn't look the giant they did four years ago, the team that made it all the way to the World Cup. They haven't since Canada beat them 1-0 in BC Place to kick off this round. There was an opportunity here for something special, but the team couldn't pull it off.
A brief glimmer of hope occurred in the 35th minute when Manjrekar James scored a brilliant header to put Canada up 1-0. Ultimately, however, it would only serve as a heartbreaking footnote for what would follow.
Honduras, with their backs against the wall, pushed forward and created a number of chances. If it wasn't for Milan Borjan, who was outstanding in the Canadian net today, things could have gotten ugly in a hurry. Instead, Canada held on until just before half.
Maybe, if Canada could have just taken that lead into halftime, everything would have been different. But after buzzing around the Canadian goal incessantly towards the end of the half, they found a breakthrough courtesy of a longshot from Mario Martinez.
The far greater crime, however, came on the second goal. Instead of sitting back and killing off the second half, as they have seemed programmed to do for most of the Benito Floro era, Canada stretched themselves going forward. They got caught on a counterattack in the 54th minute and allowed Romell Quioto to score the decisive goal.
After that, Canada looked like they lost all hope. Everything that has been wrong with the national team since they started to play Floro-ball came out in one big tangled mess.
Their only idea going forward seemed to be to lump the ball to Cyle Larin, who was instantly surrounded by Honduran defenders. If Larin is ever going to be effective for the men's national team they need to start putting him in better situations. Canada failed to string passes together for most of the second half, and the game turned into an ugly mess that favoured the home side.
Honduras didn't play particularly well, in fact whenever Canada got near their box they really seemed to struggle. But that rarely happened as Canada's lack of composure had them seemingly outnumbered everywhere on the field. Organization was supposed to be their strength, instead, they were often out-organized by the Hondurans.
Floro didn't do much to help, with his usual puzzling substitutions. Tosaint Ricketts did what little he could up front coming on for Tesho Akindele, but Canada was rarely able to get the ball that far up the field. He then subbed on two defensive players on in place on Larin, instead of adding more to the attack. Canada could have used Simeon Jackson or Marcus Haber on the field.
What was particularly disconcerting goes beyond this game: if Canada wants a chance of qualifying for the next round they will need to score a lot of goals. Nothing about today's performance indicated that Canada will be able to do that on Tuesday.
The loss means they head into their final game of the group at home against El Salvador needing a win and to make up the difference of five goals. It's not impossible, but it would likely require a lot of help from Mexico, who have already booked their ticket to the final round of qualification.
Today certainly wasn't 8-1. It won't have a profound impact on the direction of the program. This scoreline probably won't get much play in the mainstream, in fact, many will see it as an improvement. But it was another missed opportunity for the national team to make some noise, and for at least a little bit that is going to hurt.