Canada's Adam Straith, top center, is sent flying after colliding with El Salvador's Roberto Dominguez during the first half of a CONCACAF World Cup soccer qualifying match Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP

Honduras draws Mexico to make Hex despite Canada’s win vs El Salvador

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Canada got the win, but it wasn’t enough to book a slot in the Hex.

The Canadians topped El Salvador 3-1 in Vancouver, but Honduras played five at the back and drew Mexico 0-0 at Estadio Azteca to snare the sixth slot in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

[ USMNT: Hex schedule ]

Mexico misfired all night at home in a bid to go a perfect six-for-six in the semifinal round of qualifying, and Honduras fought tooth and nail to keep El Tri at bay.

Hirving Lozano missed a sitter, and Miguel Layun swept several shots over or around the frame at the Azteca. Hector Moreno flashed an in-close header wide in stoppage time.

[ USMNT-T&T: Recap | 3 things | Player ratings ]

Meanwhile in Canada, the Canucks did most of their job. Cyle Larin scored early and Nikolas Ledgerwood added a 53rd minute goal before El Salvador’s Darwin Ceren took his second yellow card of the night to give Canada an even better chance to pile up goals.

Instead, it allowed a goal to El Salvador forward Nelson Bonilla with 12 minutes to play. David Edgar scored in stoppage time to restore the two goal advantage.

Why Canada has a legit shot at overtaking Honduras for the final Hex spot

Canada's Manjrekar James, second left, celebrate with teammates after scoring against Honduras during a 2018 World Cup Russia qualifier soccer match in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco
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The last Hex match between the United States and Canada came in November 1997, and darn it we’d like to see another one.

With all due respect to Honduras, which seems fairly likely to join the United States as the fifth and sixth teams in the final round of World Cup qualifying, our neighbors to the North present the potential for rivalry that would make your ordinary qualifier qualify as exceptional.

Got all that?

[ MORE: USMNT-Trinidad and Tobago preview ]

While the U.S. looks to wrap up the top seed in Group C with a win over already-advanced Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday in Jacksonville, Canada needs a win over El Salvador in Vancouver and some help to advance to the Hex.

Canada has been to one World Cup in its history, a rock bottom finish at the 1986 tournament in Mexico. Benito Floro’s stab at 2018 qualifying began with a home win over Honduras, but the Canucks merely drew in El Salvador before dropping a pair against Mexico.

Friday’s loss in Honduras cost Canada its chance to control its destiny on the final match day of the fourth round. The Canucks are three points and five goals worth of differential behind Honduras, and making up the ground is not absurd.

Honduras faces Mexico, which will be ready to go despite running roughshod through the group. El Tri have scored 13 goals and conceded just once in winning Group A, and the side is out to prove that the Copa America embarrassment against Chile was just an embarrassing bump in the road.

[ MORE: Pulisic shines in win over SVG ]

Not only that but — sorry Canada — Mexico will certainly have interest in keeping Honduras from the Hex.

With the Mexico-Honduras match coming at the Hex, and knowing Mexico won the reverse fixture 2-0, a blowout is far from unreasonable. And El Salvador’s road trips in this cycle have both been multi-goal losses (3-0 to Mexico and 2-0 to Honduras).

Can you find six goals between the two results there? We think so, and it’s possible five goals can do the trick if Honduras is shutout (Total goals scored is the third tiebreaker).

Additionally, the Yanks should want Canada to advance as well regardless of rivalry potential. The trip to Canada will be less of a problem than the trek to San Pedro Sula, and Canada’s inexperience in the Hex is almost the polar opposite to plucky Honduras’ resume.

It’d be dynamite it Floro would open up his offense instead of opting for using Cyle Larin as a lone striker, something I know a significant amount of Canucks supporters don’t like all that much.

And as we saw at the Olympics, Honduras will have a lot to say here. Young forwards Alberth Elis and Anthony Lozano are just beginning to tap into their potential, adding more attacking threat to a stingy, resilient, and veteran unit. For numerous reasons, vote Canada on Tuesday (or something like that).

Reports: Former Houston Dynamo Academy player killed by 10 men in Honduras


Former Houston Dynamo Academy member and Plantense reserve player Sergio Mejia was brutally attacked and killed this week in Honduras.

The 18-year-old midfielder was reportedly walking near the stadium when a group of 10 jumped him (Spanish language link).

[ MORE: Holiday diagnosed with brain tumor ]

Former Dynamo Academy teammate Sergio Quintanilla sent out the following message and photo of the pair playing together.

Out of 218 ranked nations, Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world at 84.6. By comparison, the United States is tied for 107th (Iran) with 3.9.

The Hex: Four nations through, USMNT close, Canada needs Mexico’s help

Honduras' Romell Quioto, front, and Canada's Doneil Henry, fight for the ball during a 2018 World Cup Russia qualifier soccer match in San Pedro Sula, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco
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Only two spots remain in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, and those are close to locked up, too.

Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, and Costa Rica will definitely vie for the three automatic bid to Russia 2018, while the United States and Honduras are knocking on the door.

We’ve outlined the complete and utter American failure it would take for the USMNT to miss out on the fifth round of qualifying, the Hex. To sum it up, they’d need to lose to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday (alliteration!), see Guatemala win, and have a 12-goal margin of differential disappear.

The bigger question is whether the U.S. or T&T would really want to win the group. Of course no one wants to lose a qualifier, but the winner opens play with a relatively brutal pairing of Mexico at home and Costa Rica away.

[ USMNT-SVG: Match recap | Player ratings ]

As for Honduras, its group is a little less steady even after coming back from a 1-0 deficit to beat Canada 2-1 on Friday. Honduras has a three-point lead on Canada with five goals better of differential, but a tougher Tuesday.

Los Catrachos have to visit Azteca to face group powers Mexico, which won the reverse fixture 2-0 in Honduras. Goal-starved Canada hosts El Salvador, who concedes goals regularly but drew the Canucks 0-0 in San Salvador.

Mexico has scored two or more goals in each of its World Cup qualifiers, while Canada has been blanked in four of five. Still, the Canucks can hope on a miracle advancement if Mexico keeps scoring and Cyle Larin, Scott Arfield and company can find three goals from Benito Florio’s formation.

CONCACAF WCQ preview: Hex places on the line for USA, Panama; revenge for Canada

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 29:  Bobby Wood #7 of the United States Men's National Team controls the ball against Guatemala during the FIFA 2018  World Cup qualifier on March 29, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The United States defeated Guatemala 4-0.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The penultimate matchday of CONCACAF’s fourth round of 2018 World Cup qualifying is upon us. By the end of Friday, five of the six places in the Hexagonal could be secured.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

St. Vincent and the Grenadines vs. USA — 3:30 p.m. ET, Watch live on NBCDeportes.com

The path to the Hex can be very simple for the U.S. national team: if they win their final two games, away to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and home to Trinidad and Tobago; if they lose to or draw with either the Group C cellar-dwellers or leaders, respectively, it leaves the door wide open for Guatemala to slide into second place.

It’ll be far from a first-choice squad when Jurgen Klinsmann’s side takes the field on Friday: none of Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones or John Brooks will be in Kingstown, St. Vincent through injuries, personal health reasons or suspension. Thus, massive opportunities for Bobby Wood, Sacha Kljestan (one can only hope) and Omar Gonzalez (again, we can hope) to further solidify their places in Klinsmann’s setup. The last time the USMNT played away to a tiny island nation in the fourth round of qualifying, they needed a 90th-minute goal from Eddie Johnson to top Antigua and Barbuda.

[ MORE: UEFA int’l roundup ]

Honduras vs. Canada — 5 p.m. ET, Watch live on NBCDeportes.com

The last World Cup qualifier played between Honduras and Canada in San Pedro Sula? You remember it every day of your life, if you’re Canadian. That’s because it finished 8-1 on that fateful day in October 2012. On Friday, Benito Floro’s men go for revenge, and their first Hex appearance since qualification for the 1998 World Cup (the Canucks finished last with six points from 10 games, and a -15 goal differential).

The fourth round started off well for Canada, with a win over Honduras in Vancouver on the opening day, but a scoreless draw away to El Salvador and back-to-back losses to Mexico in March (by a combined score of 5-0) means everything is still to play for in these final two fourth-round fixtures, particularly Friday’s, with both Honduras and Canada on four points. Canada’s big advantage? Honduras still have to play Mexico once more, while they face El Salvador in Vancouver on Tuesday.

[ MORE: CONMEBOL WCQ roundup ]

Panama vs. Jamaica — 9:30 p.m. ET, Watch live on NBCDeportes.com

Panama’s path to the Hex is far simpler than that of the USMNT: if they beat Jamaica on Friday, they’re through with a game to spare. It’s something they’ve already done in the fourth round, winning in Kingston back in November. Given their runners-up finish at the 2015 Gold Cup, so much more was expected of Jamaica this qualifying cycle, but they followed up that strong showing with a 0-for-3 finish at the 2016 Copa America and have proceeded to fall flat on their faces in WCQ.

Elsewhere in CONCACAF WCQ

Group A

El Salvador vs. Mexico — 10 p.m. ET

Group B

Haiti vs. Costa Rica — 8 p.m. ET

Group C

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Guatemala — 7 p.m. ET