The Battle for CONCACAF: Work Left For The US To Do


With two relatively straight forward fixtures this week, the United States National Team is almost guaranteed to be leading the Hexagonal after this international break. But this will guarantee nothing, as the one time magic 15 point mark for World Cup qualification from CONCACAF is almost sure to be exceeded by four nations this cycle.

Here is how the Hex is likely to stack up after this upcoming week’s fixtures:

USA             16

Costa Rica   15

Honduras      13

Mexico          12

(home teams all win with the exception of US vs T&T)

It is possible though the Hex could also look like this……

USA    16

Honduras 13

Costa Rica 13

Mexico 13

(Mexico and Costa Rica draw at Saprissa)

Or like this…….

USA 16

Costa Rica 16

Honduras 14

Mexico 10

(Mexico draws Honduras at Azteca, Ticos get a point in San Salvador)

This final scenario is the only one where the US will be virtually home free going into a tough final round of fixtures.

Right now, Honduras boasts several footballers hitting their stride aboard. Wilson Palacios has been one of the players of the season thus far in the Premier League, while Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figeroua have both looked solid as well.

Mexico, without Carlos Vela for this upcoming fixture round can virtually guarantee avoiding the 4th spot if they can get something at Saprissa this weekend. A draw would leave Mexico likely to finish the Hex with 19 points, since they have two more games at Azteca as well as a fairly easy trip to Port of Spain in the set of qualifiers.

With this in mind, it will be very difficult to see the US getting anything in Honduras, especially given the US’ poor road performances against the likes of Cuba, Guatemala and El Salvador over the last thirteen months.

So here is the likely scenario after nine fixtures:

Costa Rica   18

USA             16

Honduras      16

Mexico          15

This would particularly tasty for writers, as Honduras final qualifying fixture is at El Salvador. These two nations fought a war over World Cup qualifying forty years ago. Mexico would likely get win over T&T and would qualify with 18 points.

It would also require the US at a minimum to get a draw and possibly a full three point win against a side that also may need a result to assure qualification.

In other words, two victories this week do move the US towards automatic qualification, but do not guarantee it as has been written elsewhere. With the number of draws down in CONCACAF this year, and Central American football improving, the US unfortunately is still a long way off from guaranteeing passage to South Africa.

Ultimately, the US should get there, but qualifying has not been the easy ride some thought it would. This has less to do with the US, but more to do with the improving standard of football in CONCACAF.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

15 Responses to The Battle for CONCACAF: Work Left For The US To Do

  1. eplnfl says:

    Thank you Kartik. Your last paragraph tells the story. Concacaf is no push over. Maybe the rest of the world will one day admit as much.

  2. Seybold says:

    Great analysis, although I’m not convinced about that the T&T match given the USA’s road form. A draw there would make a result away to Honduras critical. Otherwise, it’s 4th place going in to round 10.

  3. Tom says:

    Great breakdown. Alhough I think Costa Rica will win in El Savador.

  4. Rex says:

    Thanks for the article. Some exciting stuff. CONCACAF qualifying along with the the MLS playoff push that includes most of the big hitters… its going to be a fun next few months.

    This puts in perspective how but the win vs USA was for Mexico. If they had lost that… they would be in bad shape. We will know by the end of next week Mexicos situation.

  5. Tim says:

    I am pretty sure the people writing that the usa can secure qualification are refering to the possibility of mexico losing both their games, which is more than unlikely.

  6. Marcos says:

    Good piece Kartik. It seems you are the only one out there who understands CONCACAF and the real state of the US team. Keep up the good work!

  7. Joe says:

    Our fans as usual are asleep and underestimating the competition in CONCACAF. Nothing new, and yes I am scared to death of these upcoming games and that we may not make it.

  8. Fernando says:

    i am surprised to see that “it is a fact” that the US team will win both games to get 16 points…

  9. Seybold says:

    We’re about to find out how tough this bunch truly is.

    Even if things go according to this plan over the next three matches (namely getting a road win at T&T after getting only 1 point from 3 road matches), there’s a more than decent chance that Mexico and Honduras will win their final matches and guarantee qualification.

    That means the USA has to beat Costa Rica in the final match against a Tico side that would need a draw to avoid 4th.

    Get a draw in Honduras and the 10th game gets much easier, because both the USA and CR both advance with a draw. Hello 0-0.

    Draw against T&T and we’d have to draw Honduras, or we’re in 4th for match 10, with the Ticos 4 points ahead, with no control over our own destiny, hoping T&T or El Salvador come through. Fat chance. Book that flight to Montevideo, Buenos Aires or Quito.

  10. robert s says:

    Great article Kartik. With Mexico slide, and the U.S. troubles of late there are no automatic points. It might go down to the final round to determine the order of finish.
    Honduras will be without Carlo Costly, Wilson Palacios and Osman Chavez for the T&T match. I hope they do not look past this game. How will David Suazo perform after a long absence. What U.S. squad will show up? Is Mexico for real or past their prime? What looked like a walk in the park for the U.S. and Costa Rica might see one of them out of the automatic three.

  11. soccer goals says:

    The upcoming matches are must win games. Lets hope that Honduras and Mexico drops points this weekend.

  12. Bolacuadrada says:

    The US needs to win three out of the four remaining games to qualify with 19 points. Mexico has asured 18 points already since they will beat Honduras and El Salvados at Azteca stadium and the last game Mexico against Trinidad Tobago was set up by the currupts of CONCACAF as a fix for the team that needs those points. Since It appears that Trinidad and Tobago will be eliminated, Mexico will be given that game by convenience of the CONCACAF president (perosnal businesses) who is from T&T. That guys likes money big time and has already said that Mexico will be in the World Cup. If you do not believe me, I am the same guy that has said for the last four years that the last qualifying game for Germany 2006 between Mex and T&T was fixed (in that case in favor of T&T). The former Mexican coach Ricardo Lavolpe admitted that was the case last week. I also know the reasons why the game was fixed. So, since Costa Rica will easily get to 18 points by beating El Salvador and T&T, a draw with Mexico will put them at 19 points also. That draw would give Mexico 19 points also. Honduras could get to 19 points at the most. There is no way Honduras will get anything from Azteca Stadium. So it looks to me that 19 points is the magic number. There is a slight chance of a four way tie at 19 points but it is very unlikely. If I have to bet my money I pick the USA, Costa Rica and Mexico to be in the Wold Cup.

  13. marklee says:

    Thanks for the mentioning, This clearly shows that you put a great deal of care to your work. Thanks for all this informative stuff. Sometime a timely debt help can fix many worries.

  14. deep_tongue says:

    I can’t see the USA not stumbling once in these next two qualifiers. They will take fourth and lose the playoff with CONMEBOL.

  15. Frank says:

    Mexico have now qualified haven’t they? And you assumed they wouldn’t?
    Frank @ Debt Help

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *