Concacaf world cup qualifing – U.S. needs to take care of business

concacafThere are currently four teams (Costa Rica, Honduras, USA, Mexico) vying for three automatic spots with the fourth team being forced to play the 5th placed south American side – a very scary proposition. The question over the coming week is will one or two teams create some separation from the other two or will it stay a jumbled mess.

The upcoming games for the U.S. are very important and the U.S. needs to take care of business. The game against El Salvador in Utah is pretty close to a must win. A draw or defeat would put immense pressure in the teams next fixtures – Trinidad away, Honduras away, and Costa Rica at home. In short, Bob Bradley needs to go out and put the hurt on El Salvador. Forget Brian Ching there is no need for a guy to hold up he ball, Altidore must start and the U.S. must attack aggressively from the start. Another thing to consider is goal differential. We currently sit behind Honduras in third place on goal differential. This game is our best chance to achieve some separation.

I think the game in Trinidad next week is a lot more tricky. While Trinidad looked horrible when they came stateside, this team is dangerous. They have added Bobby Zamora of Fulham and Bolton defender Jlloyd Samuel and have Kenwyne Jones and the speedy Carlos Rogers. Their back line and midfield are more shaky but at home this team can’t be taken lightly, especially in what is a must win game for them. While a draw would not be a catastrophe, it would mean we have to go into the next two games – away at Honduras and Costa Rica at home needing results – possibly even a win in one of those two. The last thing we want is a must win game against Costa Rica.

In the other games the best hope is probably to root for draws so that we can create some separation between us and the pack. These next two games are big for Mexico – at Costa Rico and Honduras at home. A loss and a draw would put them in really tough shape. Honduras will be tough – with Wilson Palacios and Amado Guevara in the midfield, and David Suazo of Inter Milan back, this is a strong team that has already beaten Mexico twice in qualifying. Yet Mexico’s final two games are against El Salvador and Trinidad – games which they should win, especially with their backs against the wall.

Update: Looking at this again at the CONCACAF simulator – the U.S. to assure qualifying we have to win at least 2 games game and at least draw one of the other two. Even then with 17 points there is a possibility we could finish fourth. The key question comes down to El Salvador and Trinidad. Do they simply lie down or do they take some points off the big boys (lets just hope its not us).

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