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CONCACAF qualifying race tightens

DosSantosCostaRica (Reuters)

Saturday's World Cup qualifiers in the CONCACAF region were supposed to help clear things up in the race to make the 2010 World Cup, but the results have only served to make it even tougher to tell which teams will qualify and which will struggle.

Mexico's 3-0 romp in Costa Rica, coupled with Honduras' 4-1 thrashing of Trinidad & Tobago means four teams are within a point of each other atop the CONCACAF standings.

Honduras leads the way with 13 points and a +7 goal differential, while the United States also has 13 points, but with a +4 differential. Mexico, the hottest team in the region, has 12 points and a +2 differential, while Costa Rica, the group leader before Saturday, now sits in fourth place on 12 points and a -3 differential.

The tight standings make Wednesday's matches even more important, as Honduras travels to Mexico, the United States heads to Trinidad and Costa Rica visits El Salvador.

What does look clear is that it will take more than 16 points to earn a top three qualifying berth. It is looking more like 18 points will be needed to secure a top-three place, especially if El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago start dropping home matches now that qualifying is extremely unlikely for either of them.

The Americans still have their fate in their own hands, but the remaining schedules certainly favor Honduras and Mexico, which finish out their campaigns with games against El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago after they meet on Wednesday. Costa Rica's next two matches are against those same bottom-feeders.

This means the United States need to go to Trinidad and record a win in order to avoid heading to Honduras needing a result. The results of Saturday also mean that the USA-Costa Rica match in RFK Stadium on Oct. 14th will absolutely have ramifications on the qualifying campaigns for both teams.

What do you think of the CONCACAF qualifying race? Think the Americans can record two wins in their final three? Which team do you think is most likely to finish fourth and face South American's fifth-place team for a spot in the World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. By my calculations (and predictions), Mexico will take 9 of 9 points and finish first with 21, Costa Rica will take 7 of 9 points and finish with 19, and Honduras will take 4 points to finish with 17. That means that assuming the US beats TnT to take 16 points into October, a draw at Honduras and a draw at RFK against Costa Rica will give us the 18 to finish third and automatically qualify…our best friend now is El Salvador and after Wednesday TnT who could take points off some top teams and make it easier on us…

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  2. madmax-

    I’m sorry but I don’t agree with you!

    Efrain Juarez secured his place with the first team with an outstanding performance, Blanco was nothing short of astonishing, creating the plays for the first two goals! And Mexico’s backline was superb!
    The Ticos wanted to play rough, and a couple players could have gotten red cards, and would have, with a different ref. Osorio’s case was most evident when not once, but twice was elbowed in the face causing a bad swell. Blanco was rammed to the ground twice!
    On the Mexican side only Salcido made two rough challenges, and who else… Torrado made one that cost him a yellow, and the game against Honduras! Other than that only Franco was a little feisty! The rest of the team from Ochoa through Guardado to Giovani played soccer!
    If you saw the match you had to have noticed that once Gio’s goal broke the stalemate, Los Ticos played clean, because they knew that would be their best bet, and with half their team on yellow cards, their only one!!!

    Look out for Juan Carlos Cacho stepping in for Franco against los Catrachos!

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  3. For those who didn’t watch the Mexico/ Ticos match don’t take the scoreline as gospel. Both teams preferred to street fight rather than play football. Without Dos a scoreline of zero/zero was looking like a sure bet along with some serious injuries. Dos Santos could easily have scored all three goals, but chose to pass up the last two. Quite fitting that the only one on the pitch playing football turned the brawl into a sporting event.

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  4. I’ll tell you what’s sad!

    I’m an assistant coach to a U-12 travelling team in South Florida. I also happen to be Mexican. And i also happen to be 6’4, green eyed, and with dirty blond hair. I speak English without any discernible accent. As far as you look like I do, no one will ever be racist to you. How do I know? Because in 3 1/2 decades it has NEVER happened to me! Not here, not there, not anywhere!
    Anyway…Taking advantage of the long weekend, we scheduled practice this morning. The team is multicultural, with kids from the US, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, and Spain. After practice today, I noticed that one of the balls was missing. Far on the other end of the practice field, there was another game going on, between working class Latin Players! I asked if anyone had seen the ball, and one of the kids (American) without batting an eye said, ‘I saw that FAT MEXICAN that’s playing over there take it!’, and then he left! Well I don’t have to tell you that my blood was boiling! I mean, doesn’t this kid know I’m Mexican? Anyway I went over to the “fat Mexican” who was no more overweight than the kid on the team, and who was not Mexican at all but Peruvian, to ask about the ball, and after showing me that that ball was his, he sheepishly pointed about 20 yards away to THE BALL I was looking for and told me, one of the kids in your team kicked it there, the one with the white jersey! The kid with the white jersey (the boys are allowed to wear any jersey they like on practice day, this kid was wearing a Real Madrid one) was the same kid that told me that “the fat Mexican had taken it”!

    I mean… Where do they learn this sad s#it???

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  5. while i agree that some take it too far, you haven’t seen too far until you’ve seen mexico fans, go to the azteca sometime wearing a US jersey draped in a US flag and you will quickly find that out

    Posted by: froboy

    ———-

    No scarfing your first born as is far and you can take it, some of you people here are sick.

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  6. froboy-

    Only a BIG FOOL would go to the Azteca on a do or die qualifier for Mexico, wearing an American jersey, draped in an American flag! Sorry! Especially after the media had done a very thorough job in reporting for two straight weeks prior to the match, on how the Mexican win during the Gold Cup final was a complete and unequivocal fluke! Totally downplaying the fact that it was a 5-0 complete, and unequivocal fluke! And also “warning” Mexico, that the real deal, nuke ’em all, no impostors, fresh from the Confederations all-mighty conquering “real” American team, was going down south, to (add any and all kinds of expletives here), destroy the “little green men”, in “the game that really matters”! No if, and, or but’s about it!!!
    Well, we all know how that turned out!
    That’s like if a Pumas fan decked out in all Pumas garb goes to the Azteca, and walks straight into Club America’s porra during a soccer final between both teams! Same, exact thing, same venue, different colors! Maybe you get it, maybe you don’t! Nothing personal! But put a couple tens of thousand people together, give ’em beer and a common cause, and chances are, if you give them opposition, TROUBLE WILL START!
    I just happened to watch two Mexican Apertura matches this weekend…Chivas/Puebla, and Santos/ Tecos. Just so happened that both matches ended in major brawls, both on the pitch, and in the stands. Liquids flying as copiously as the punches, and with more gusto than anything I saw in the Mexico vs. US match! So there you go!
    It wasn’t the Mexicans who invented Soccer Moms and the Soccer Mom mentality. It creates an ambiance, very American, which I definitely think permeates the sport in the US! It is a feeling that is completely alien to Latin America. It’s simply grittier down there, and when going to matches with your family, especially at high stakes games, you take your chances. It certainly makes the whole experience MUCH MORE exciting!
    But even though Americans want the rest of the world to march to the beat of their drum, imposing your soccer “culture” on countries that have had matches dating back almost a century, is not going to be easy!

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  7. while i agree that some take it too far, you haven’t seen too far until you’ve seen mexico fans, go to the azteca sometime wearing a US jersey draped in a US flag and you will quickly find that out

    Posted by: froboy

    ———-

    I’ve been to Azteca, la Bombenera, el Olimpico, el Tec, and I’ve seen worse things in Argentina than I have in Mexico.

    Donovan was never hit by any piss or vomit, he would’ve surely said something if that was case. People were throwing stuff at Mexico down in Costa Rica on saturday and nobody was crying about it.

    Again, you guys love to generalize and hate Mexico but the tables are turning and Mexico looks to be going up.

    That alone peeves some of you.

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  8. I believe in form and right now Mexico is by far the best team in CONCACAF based on form and we are third behind Honduras. Coasta rica seems to have finally found it’s real level.

    The best thing about form is it hard to maintain and maybe Mexico is peaking too early and we will be able to peak going into WC 10 assuming we make it that far because our current form makes the propostion iffy if we don’t get a clear 3 pts in T&T.

    And I think will leave Port of Spain with only one the way we are currently playing combined with our road form in all 2010 qualifiers dating back to a 1-0 victory over mighty Barbados.

    Mark my words!

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  9. I agree with notsweet81 — your argument reflects the realities of qualifying and our circumstance.

    That said, I believe that four points in the last three games will give us a top three finish and auto qualification.

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  10. What can of joke is it to have refs from a country still in contention? Its pathetic, I can’t believe this kind of stuff happens, absolutely makes no sense and is completely unethical. Might have to starting hanging their countries funding checks from the US over the refs heads before the game…. Bad call, there goes that orphanage, they are now living at your house…

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  11. I think expecting/predicting a result from the Honduras match is a mistake. So far in away games we needed a big comeback to tie ES, were totally dominated by CR, and outplayed by Mexico (a late goal, but it cannot be denied Mexico was dominating possession and the game). As mentioned here Honduras has some high level talent (Palacios, Costly, Suazo, Figueroa…even Pavon, though old, keeps scoring goals). In a highly hostile environment when they need points just as bad as we do I think a tie would be a GREAT result and a win is not going to happen.

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  12. You guys do realize that honduras played an a team in the gold cup missing only GUEVARA right? that chad marshall completly owned costly? These are pshycological advantages, we win this game, the fans aren’t that close to the field, theres no altitude problems, and every goal we score severly dents there goal diffrence, we win this game, we have to, this game is for the top spot and the regional supremecy.

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  13. Agreed-when you’re hit by batteries, puke bombs, and urine bombs, it’s okay to talk s—. Banter in sports is fun, there is a fine line of hate. Mexicans make damn good food, and the Mexicans I’ve met have all been classy.

    BTW, watching Sportscenter yesterday, the female anchor called the CONCACAF teams “clubs”. ESPN does it again. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  14. Ives’ fanboys are taking his hate anything Mexican a bit to0 far, some of these guys are nuts.

    Posted by: Portugal!
    ————–

    true.

    Posted by: christian

    while i agree that some take it too far, you haven’t seen too far until you’ve seen mexico fans, go to the azteca sometime wearing a US jersey draped in a US flag and you will quickly find that out

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  15. a few things:

    while the US would be wise to avoid a home-away playoff with the 5th place CONMEBOL team, it seems unlikely that it would be against argentina. they are currently in 4th place with 22 points while colombia and ecuador are tied for 5th at 20 points. you have to think that argentina will find a way to pull it together and qualify safely.

    regardless of the US’s results in their next 2 matches, it seems it will be vital to beat costa rica at RFK in the final qualifier. can any DC residents comment on what that atmosphere will be like? will it feel like a home game or an away game? i would feel more comfortable for a game of this magnitude to be in US-friendly columbus, nashville, or such.

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  16. Ives’ fanboys are taking his hate anything Mexican a bit to0 far, some of these guys are nuts.

    Posted by: Portugal!
    ————–

    true.

    Reply
  17. Watching the Mexico CR game was lots of fun. CR threw everything at the Mex. After a couple of lousy coaches Mexico seems to be back to its potential. Right now it truly pains me to say that I wish our guys played as well.

    On another note I would like to begin a sucessionist movement out of CONCACRAP.

    If that reffing crew was not bought they certainly reffed like they were biased. Maybe we can join New Zealand as a replacement for Australia that moved to Asia, anything has to be better than the sleezy corrupt Concacrap.

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  18. By the way, much as I hate the way the Mexicans approach our games (bad sportsmanship), I respect their skills greatly and enjoy watching them play OTHER teams. I hope they do get to the WC.

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  19. Yeah, I’d really like some comment from Ives and other news outlets about the disallowed Jozy goal, too. My immediate reaction was that the Honduran refs were well aware that their country needed to keep the goal differential the way it was and were banging the US in every way they could. The impunity allowed to refs in football, as opposed to other sports, just flabbergasts me.

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  20. i dont think we are gonna qualify to the final game

    Posted by: brian

    Yes…I think we’re looking at 4 points from the last three games, which will make for very insecure US Nat fans. Reminds me of 97 when we needed a win against Costa Rica to put us back on track. Luckily Tab Ramos hooked us up.

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  21. I am absolutely confounded by the sudden prevalence of weird recurring trolls on SBI.

    Posted by: chg

    I chalk it up to Labor Day boredom. The guy who keeps asking about the size of US Nat’s…uh…members is very insistent.

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  22. It seems to be consensus that Honduras has no chance against Mexico. I realize that Mexico has put itself back together, but let’s not forget that Honduras played them close in Mexico in the last round and Honduras has scored 4 goals in each of their last two games.

    I’m hoping for a draw. But I’d be just fine with a Honduras win.

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  23. It will be interesting to see if ESPN grasps that likely every remaining game for the USA in WCQ is a “must-result” (Win @ T&T, Draw @ HON, Win CR?) and to play that up in the promos leading up to each match.

    Posted by: Raoul Duke | September 07, 2009 at 12:29 AM
    It is going to be hard to win against Honduras now. Especially since David Souzo, Costly, and Palencia are back. The Costa Rica game is going to be so important now.

    Reply
  24. It will be interesting to see if ESPN grasps that likely every remaining game for the USA in WCQ is a “must-result” (Win @ T&T, Draw @ HON, Win CR?) and to play that up in the promos leading up to each match.

    Reply
  25. lammetro-

    You are delirious and need medical help immediately!

    No really RUN TO THE NEAREST HOSPITAL!

    Posted by: Martin | September 06, 2009 at 08:37 PM

    Why am I delirious? Everything I said is backed by facts. Honduras is a better attacking team than Mexico and they got the goals to prove it. Mexico won against the US cause of all the circumstances I pointed out which are true. El Salvador hasn’t lost at home and has only lost by 1 goal when they have lost away. That is not a weak team, its a scrappy fighting team. El Sal plays better when they move the ball with their fast wingers. And Mexico just need a lose to the US or Costa Rica for it to be really holding indefinite to that 4th place. While they had to look forward to Honduras, El Sal and TNT.

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  26. lammetro-

    You are delirious and need medical help immediately!

    No really RUN TO THE NEAREST HOSPITAL!

    Posted by: Martin | September 06, 2009 at 08:37 PM

    I might be delirious like you say. But even crazy people are right sometime.

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  27. I’d sacrifice my first born for Mexico to not qualify for SA2010.

    Posted by: kpugs
    ————–

    Ives’ fanboys are taking his hate anything Mexican a bit to0 far, some of these guys are nuts.

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  28. Why do so many think beating Honduras away and T&T away is a done deal? Yes, we should roll over a sinking CR at home, but the T&T and Honduras games will be tough. T&T because of the usually horrible field we play on there, and Honduras…well, because Honduras is a good side. Not to mention the crowd will be strongly behind their boys.

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  29. Overall, you’ve got to be disappointed in the effort. ES at home is the type of matchup you’d expect the US to dominate. I didn’t see the fire you’d expect to see in a do or die game. In other such games, I’ve seen LD, MB, and Deuce dashing all over the field, winning balls like crazy, but that was not the case last night. I’m happy with the offensive options, which are as good as we’ve ever seen on the USMNT. Altidore, Davies, MB, Benny, Deuce, Lando, Holden, and Torres are all legitimate threats to score or create a dangerous chance. The overall fire and intensity, however, is much less consistent than with some past outfits, however. They have to bring it much harder against T&T, Honduras and CR

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  30. Any of the top 4 teams can win this group. It seems like Costa Rica is running on empty, though. The U.S. should have at least 19 points at the end. Of course, the U.S. will take any kind of help it can get and I think they will.

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  31. B. Bradley is driving me nuts. Bornstein, Beckerman, Holden? Plus, we played with the passion of a training match. I wish we had los testiculos of El Tri to go on the road and hand out a must-needed beatdown. The US needs to grow some of those and run the table because we are capable.

    Reply

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