Editorial (October 9, 2017) – Just one matchday remains in the CONCACAF Hexagonal for World Cup Qualification 2018. One automatic World Cup bid as well as the playoff bid are still on the line. Let’s break down what the United States Men’s National Team needs to make it to Russia 2018.
Matchday 10: CONCACAF Hexagonal World Cup Bid Clinching Scenarios
After the results from the weekend, here’s where we stand:
— Matt Pollard (@LWOSMattPollard) October 9, 2017
Mexico and Costa Rica have already punched their tickets for next summer. They will finish first and second, respectively regardless of what happen tomorrow. Trinidad & Tobago have already been eliminated. Third place (an automatic bid) and fourth place (a playoff with the fifth place Asia team) are both up for grabs.
With that, here’s the remaining schedule. All matches are scheduled for October 10th (tomorrow) at 6 PM EST.
Trinidad & Tobago vs. United States
Panama vs. Costa Rica
Honduras vs. Mexico
United States clinch third if:
They win at Trinidad & Tobago
OR if they draw AND Panama does not beat Costa Rica by at least eight goals AND Honduras does not beat Mexico by at least twelve goals
OR if they lose AND Panama does not win AND Honduras does not win.
United States clinch fourth if:
They draw at Trinidad & Tobago AND one of Panama and Honduras win their games by the aforementioned goal difference
OR they lose to Trinidad & Tobago AND one of Panama or Honduras win their game (scoreline/goad differential does not matter).
United States miss out on World Cup entirely if:
They draw at Trinidad & Tobago AND Panama beats Costa Rica by at least eight goals AND Honduras beats Mexico by at least twelve goals
OR they lose at Trinidad & Tobago AND Panama beats Costa Rica (by any scoreline) AND Honduras beats Mexico (by any scoreline).
The USMNT are in a great position, given their massive 4-0 win on Friday over Panama. They control their own destiny and might have the most favorable of the matches. Playing on the road in CONCACAF is tough, but Trinidad is by far the weakest of these six teams. Panama and Honduras both get to play at home, but against stiffer competition.
Mexico and Costa Rica won’t want to do the Yanks any favors, but many of their players are still competing for a spot on next summer’s roster. Even if the team’s consciously decide to throw the game to hurt the United States’ chances, the loss would have to have an embarrassing scoreline.
I think the Americans take care of business with a 2-1 win at Ato Bolden Stadium. That will give them third place outright no matter what else happens. As for fourth place, I think Panama will be able to regroup and get a result against nonchalant Costa Rica.
Honduras doesn’t have a reliable or consistent attack and I don’t think they’ll be able to beat Mexico by enough to catch up in goal differential. Panama will get a 1-0 win and head to the playoff against one of Syria or Australia.