SAN PEDRO SULA, HONDURAS - In the back of his mind, Canadian head coach Stephen Hart knew it was coming -- he just didn't think it would be pathetic.
During the buildup to Canada's 8-1 embarrassment at the Estadio Olimpico on Tuesday, a loss that put Canada out of 2014 World Cup qualifying, Hart told a small group of media that Canada's failure to qualify could come back to failing to beat Honduras in Toronto.
Had Canada collected the three points it deserved that night, it would have progressed ahead of Honduras before Tuesday's match -- one that turned into a nightmare during a seemingly endless first half that Hart described as "disturbing."
"You want desperately for Canada to do well," Hart said. "All I can do is ask the fans' forgiveness on behalf of the players. I know they'll never forgive me."
Needing just a draw to secure passage to CONCACAF's final round for the first time since 1997, Tosaint Ricketts squandered a sitter and Simeon Jackson struck the post during the opening moments here Tuesday.
Despite stressing organization and composure coming into Tuesday, a normally rock-steady back four became children among men -- overmatched amateurs who couldn't keep it together with some 40,000 Hondurans pouring it on, at times, uncontrollably.
Los Catrachos opened the scoring six minutes in when Carlo Costly skied over Kevin McKenna to flick on to Jerry Bengston, who exploited the space behind Canada's captain before slotting past Lars Hirschfeld.
The Blue and White capitalized on a Julian de Guzman turnover 10 minutes later when Bengston followed up a Mario Martinez shot to double Honduras' advantage.
With Hart struggling to bark out commands due to the cement-shaking energy the local supporters produced, Bengston had a hand in Honduras' third when he headed a cross to a wide-open Costly, whose diving header at the back post made it 3-0.
"The first three goals were basically given to them and it was over," Hart said.
Although the Reds were without left back Ante Jazic, who was ill, the disorganization across Canada's back four was exposed once again in the 37th minute when on the home side's fourth goal, Martinez undressed McKenna at the penalty spot before cooly slotting past Hirschfeld, who likely aged a decade in an unbelievably poor first half.
"What can you say at halftime? We (knew) it was over," McKenna said.
Canada, as somewhat expected, came out flat in the second half, allowing the home side to add a fifth in the 48th minute when a Martinez cross connected with Costly, who headed home another easy finish at the back post.
"You're supposed to go down all guns blazing," Hart said of what was the second biggest loss in Canadian soccer history. "We were horrible."
It was cruel, especially after Canada had performed so well to give itself a chance to advance. But as it was a month earlier in Panama, the energy and composure simply wasn't there. The effort was absent, too -- likely the most disappointing aspect.
Putting on a clinic of epic proportions, Martinez made it 6-0 on the hour mark. The Seattle Sounder struck a left-footed curler from outside the area that dipped over Hirschfeld and into the back corner.
The hostile crowd turned sympathetic 15 minutes from time when Canada's Iain Hume curled home a restart to make it 6-1. A faint clap went up around the stadium in somewhat laughable fashion.
"You have to play to the plan," Hart said of Canada's disorganization. "You have to play tactically to what you're supposed to do."
With both sides resigned to the result, Bengston tacked on another in the 82nd. Costly added an eighth late from a corner.
With Honduras and Panama securing progression ahead of Canada, the most disturbing part was watching Canadian players bark at one another. No one was willing to accept blame during a match there was an excess of blame to give.
One of the most shocking results in the history of CONCACAF's third round, it could set Canadian soccer back for quite some time -- and cost Hart his job.
"I have to really sit down and think about this," Hart said. "I don't think Canadian fans will forgive me."
YOUNGER DE GUZMAN COMING ABOARD?
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- Hours before Canada kicked off its most important match since the 1986 World Cup, Jonathan de Guzman, the younger brother of Canada's Julian, was said to be keeping a close eye on the result here in Central America.
The Swansea City midfielder likely turned the match off before the break.
Jonathan, who gave up his Canadian citizenship in an effort to play for the Netherlands, hasn't been called into the full Dutch side yet, and is said to be having a change of heart -- an addition that would have instantly improved Canada's offensive third.
"Nothing is really happening for him in Holland," Julian told Sportsnet before the match. "He watches these (Canada) games ... His heart is still here."
It might not be anymore, especially since Canada is set to miss out on another final round of CONCACAF qualifying.
"If we make it to the next round ... he will be here," de Guzman said.
After losing its pride Tuesday in Honduras, Canada likely lost a special player.