A group of Mexican soccer greats from yesteryear defeated a team of mostly-retired Honduran football stars 2-1 in an exhibition match at Tad Gormley Stadium on Sunday evening.
Ramon Ramirez — who represented Mexico at the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups — scored both of the winning team’s goals just a few minutes apart in the latter part of the second half, when he pushed up to center forward after playing in the midfield and on defense.
Both of Ramirez’s goals came off crosses from the left side of the pitch from Rodrigo “El Pony” Ruiz, a native of Chile who spent most of his 21 years as a pro playing in Mexico’s first division and in 2001 helped Santos Laguna win a Mexican league title.
Forward Wilmer Velasquez — who scored 35 goals in 47 appearances for Honduras’ national team from 1994 to 2007 — put the Honduran side up 1-0 about midway through the first half. He pushed in a loose ball from close range after goalkeeper Adolfo Rios — who represented Mexico 36 times from 1988 to 2003 — parried an acrobatic bicycle kick from attacking midfielder Julio Cesar “El Rambo” de Leon, who is still active and has scored 14 goals in 83 appearances for Honduras.
Most of the 5,000 or so spectators at Gormley on Sunday were supporting Honduras, whose side included retired forward Carlos Pavon, best remembered as the Honduran national team’s all-time leading scorer with 57 goals. The roar caused by Velasquez’s goal would’ve made any crowd packing the Estadio Nacional in Tegucigalpa proud.
But most of the stadium was silenced after both a first-touch strike as well as a delicately-placed header by Ramirez defeated Honduran keeper Victor Coello. At the end of the match, many Honduran supporters filed out quietly as Mexican fans leapt onto the field and swarmed around Ramirez and Ruiz for pictures and autographs.
Others on the Mexican side included defender Claudio Suarez, who played for Mexico at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups; and Gabriel Caballero, who participated in the 2002 World Cup for “El Tri.”
Mexico and Honduras share an intense footballing rivalry. Mexico owns most of the victories in the all-time series. But Honduras has inflicted some painful defeats on Mexico, such as in September 2013, when Honduras defeated Mexico in the historic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City for the first time ever.