This international break could hardly have gone worse for the United States men’s national team.
A home loss to Costa Rica was met Tuesday by an anything-but-encouraging 1-1 draw at Honduras, and CONCACAF’s other results put the U.S. outside the automatic qualifying places ahead of its final two matches of qualifying (home to Panama and away to Trinidad and Tobago).
Now a loss at home to Panama would limit the Americans hopes of qualifying for the World Cup to a playoff versus Australia or Syria at best, and that loss would need to be coupled by outdueling Honduras on points and goal differential during the final round.
Even a draw against Panama is problematic thanks to Los Canaleros moving past the USMNT on goal differential.
Costa Rica 1-1 Mexico
Los Ticos are not quite joining their visitors in the World Cup, but are a point away thanks to Marco Urena’s 83rd minute bullet equalizer. A Cristian Gamboa own goal has CRC waiting until October to punch its ticket to Russia.
Panama 3-0 Trinidad and Tobago
Gabriel Torres and Abdiel Arroyo goals joined a T&T own goal in moving Panama into third place with 10 points ahead of Los Canaleros‘ October 6 visit to Orlando.
Mexico — 17 pts, +8 GD
Costa Rica — 15 pts, +7 GD
Panama — 10 pts, +2 GD (three automatic WC spots)
USMNT — 9 pts, +1 GD (playoff vs. Syria/Australia winner)
Honduras — 9 pts, -7 GD
Trinidad and Tobago — 3 pts, -11 GD
The Yanks can pull two points ahead of Panama with a win in Orlando to kick off the next round of qualifying, and would be three points and a healthy amount of goal differential clear of Honduras should it win and see Costa Rica win at home vs. Honduras.
If the U.S. loses to Panama, it cannot finish in an automatic qualifying spot.
USMNT vs. Panama
Costa Rica vs. Honduras
Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago vs. USMNT
Panama vs. Costa Rica
Honduras vs. Mexico