The United States national team’s important week ahead

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A dozen days from now, we’ll know whether the United States is safely through to final round World Cup qualifying, or …

Well let’s not even entertain such unpleasant thoughts if we do not absolutely have to.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side travels to Antiqua and Barbuda for an Oct. 12 match, then meets Guatemala on Oct. 16 in Kansas City. The Americans are one of three-teams tied atop CONCACAF Group A (along with Jamaica and Guatemala), so there’s no margin for error. The top two teams advance.

Here’s the basic outline of how the next week and a half looks:

U.S. Soccer will release its latest roster at 3 p.m. (ET) Monday. Klinsmann, possibly the most accessible national team coach in the history of the world, as well as perhaps the most candid, will join a 3:30 p.m. conference call to talk about his choices.

(By the way, I have a feeling there will be at least one fairly significant surprise on the roster, perhaps a new man wading out of the shallow end of the player pool and into a more prominent spot.)

Most of the players will arrive Monday into Miami, where the team will train on Tuesday and Wednesday. The plane pulls out of Miami on Thursday bound for Antigua, where Klinsmann will guide his team through an evening workout.

(MORE: Klinsmann asks for more focus from his team)

The match is set for 7 p.m. ET at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

The team travels Saturday to Kansas City, has a public training on Sunday and then a Monday evening workout before Tuesday’s big match. The contest Tuesday night at Livestrong Sporting Park closes out semifinal-round qualifying.

By the way, CONCACAF officials will closely coordinate the kickoff times in Kansas City and in Jamaica, site of the night’s other semi-final round closer (Jamaica vs. Antigua). Officials want simultaneous kickoffs to prevent any side from having an unfair tactical advantage in advance knowledge of the other group result.

The group standings at the moment:

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