A glance at the U.S. schedule leaves no doubt about why winning (or drawing, at very least) Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier in Honduras is imperative.
It’s not just for the available points per se as the final push for Brazil 2014 commences. It’s for early momentum, and because the U.S. final round World Cup qualifying schedule is so vulnerable to a confidence-rattling early spiral if Jurgen Klinsmann’s men can’t get it right.
Three of the United States’ first four matches in this final round are on the road. One of those is in Mexico, a place where points are dreadfully hard to collect for all opposition, including that country’s rival northern neighbor, the United States.
Realistically, Klinsmann team cannot expect to pick up a point there.
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Thus: between Wednesday’s contest in San Pedro Sula and a June 7 match in Jamaica, Klinsmann’s men can do themselves a real solid by picking up three points. Otherwise, they face the prospect of merging into the summer with fan and media pressure at full boil, and with a rapidly diminishing margin for error.
At very least, the United States must get one point (from a tie).
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Just listen to U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, certainly one of the group leaders and among the main men in this final push toward a seventh consecutive World Cup appearance.
First game of the group, we’ve got to get points. We’ve got to pick up points because there’s no easy games and the first one is so important just to kind of get yourself on the board. Because basically, there’s six teams and after this game, there’s going to be a few on zero [points], and that puts you all the way down on the bottom.