So the dust has settled from the U.S.’s tough 2-1 loss in Mexico on Wednesday. The question now is what does the loss do the U.S.’s World Cup qualifying chances?
After 6 matches, here are the current CONCACAF standings
Standings P W D L F A Pts
1 Costa Rica 6 4 0 2 9 9 12
2 Honduras 6 3 1 2 10 6 10
3 United States 6 3 1 2 11 8 10
4 Mexico 6 3 0 3 8 9 9
5 El Salvador 6 1 2 3 6 8 5
6 Trinidad & Tobago 6 1 2 3 7 11 5
The top three teams in the group qualify automatically for the 2010 World Cup while the fourth-place team faces the fifth-place team from CONMEBOL (South America) in playoff.
I wrote a couple of months ago that if the U.S. gets 15 points that they will qualify automatically and I still stand by that point total.
The U.S. has a huge game at home on September 5th against El Salvador that should result in an U.S. win and 3 more points. Then the U.S. has tough road games to Trinidad and Tobago (Sept. 9) and Honduras (Oct. 10). T&T has not played well in this campaign and I can see the U.S. getting at least a point from that game. Getting anything from the Honduras trip would be a bonus.
That leaves the big game October 14 at home with Costa Rica to see who tops the group. Both teams should have sewn up qualification buy then, so with the pressure off, I expect a U.S. home win.
So 7 more points from the next four games gives us 17 in total and a place in South Africa. Loss at home to El Salvador in a couple of weeks and all that changes as it means the U.S will have to get at least three points from its two away games and that will not be easy.