Saturday, October 13, 2012

Early Look at Tuesday

Now that we've all had a chance to settle down from what was a fairly drab performance from the US men's national team last night in Antigua, it's now time to look towards Tuesday and the game at Livestrong Sporting Park against Guatemala.  Along with the USA's 2-1 win, Guatemala defeated Jamaica at home 2-1.  Here is how the groups look right now.

Team GP W L D Points GF GA GD
USA 5 3 1 1 10 8 5 3
Guatemala 5 3 1 1 10 8 5 3
Jamaica 5 2 2 1 7 5 5 0
Antigua & Barbuda 5 0 4 1 1 3 9 -6

So after last night, Guatemala and the US are tied at the top of the group on 10 points.  The US is currently ahead of Guatemala on the 7th tie breaker, goals scored away from home between the two teams (US has one, Guatemala zero because the return leg hasn't been played).

For the US, things are fairly simple as a whole, if you don't lose at home you're through to the Hex.  That's a simple enough task for the US, as they haven't lost a World Cup qualifier on home soil since 2001 when they lost 2-1 to Honduras at RFK Stadium.  Only one player on the current roster, Steve Cherundolo, was on that team that lost that day (Landon Donovan was on the team as well, but he's no longer in camp due to injury).

A loss would be devastating for Guatemala though as Jamaica is hosting Antigua & Barbuda the same night, and with Antigua having failed to win a game yet, Jamaica would seem primed to finish play on 10 points.  The US and Guatemala though could play to a draw and both teams would advance with 11 points as that would put them out of reach of Jamaica.  With that said, I'd expect Guatemala to come in and immediately sit back, playing for the draw as they'd know that would see them through.  Could make for a frustrating night for the United States unless they score early.  An early goal would force Guatemala to come out and attack looking to get back level.

The worst thing that could happen for the US is a loss, but it wouldn't eliminate them from qualifying, but things become more difficult.  One way that the US could still advance is if Jamaica fails to beat their Caribbean rival in Kingston, that would leave Jamaica on 7 or 8 points, below the US.  If the US loses and Jamaica wins, the goal difference in the 2 matches can be 2 (US lose 1-0, Jamaica win 1-0) and the US would still advance on goal difference, +2 to +1.  If the goal difference in the 2 games is 3, Jamaica cannot outscore the US by 4 goals, or else they'll pass the US in the goals scored category, putting the US out. 

So there's a quick look for you at what can happen on Tuesday at Livestrong Sporting Park.  To make it easy, how about we just win?

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