CONCACAF World Cup qualifying: Honduras faces Canada challenge & more

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Honduras is considered one of the teams expected to be heavily in the mix to secure one of CONCACAF's three automatic berths into the 2014 FIFA World Cup, or at the very least one that will compete for a spot in the playoff against the Oceania regional winner. After Tuesday night, though, Los Catrachos might be left wondering if there will be a place for them in the CONCACAF hexagonal altogether with the next set of qualifiers three months down the line.

Honduras travels to Canada (7:45 p.m.) for an early qualifying match with massive implications following a home loss to Panama to open the qualifying round on Friday. With a Canada victory and Panama expected to take care of business against Cuba at home, Honduras could be six points out of a spot in the next round with four matches to go in Group C play.

Honduras could receive a boost for the match with the potential return of striker David Suazo, who sat out the loss to Panama with an injury. Canada, meanwhile, looks to add three more points to its total after winning at Cuba on the strength of an Olivier Occean goal to open the round.

That is just one of the storylines heading into Tuesday's non-U.S. national team CONCACAF qualifiers. Here is a closer look at the night's other matches:

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA vs. JAMAICA (7 p.m.)

While the U.S. men's national team will look to make it six points in two Group A games, so too will Jamaica, which heads to Antigua and Barbuda after defending home turf with a victory over Guatemala on Friday. The Reggae Boyz will be without goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who suffered a leg injury that is not considered to be serious, according to comments made by Montreal Impact coach Jesse Marsch.

EL SALVADOR vs. MEXICO (9:30 p.m., Telemundo)

El Salvador battled back from a two-goal hole to salvage a draw against Costa Rica, but allowing Mexico to jump out to an early lead woud figure to amount to a death sentence considering El Tri's quality from front to back. Like the United States, Group B leader Mexico will be venturing into hostile territory against a physical, technical opponent after a 3-1 victory over a major underdog in Friday's opening game.

GUYANA vs. COSTA RICA (8 p.m.)

Costa Rica settled for a home draw with El Salvador after early goals from Alvaro Saborio and Joel Campbell looked to have Los Ticos on track for a three-point haul, but they'll need to put together a complete 90 minutes to fend off an upstart Guyana side that frustrated Mexico at times during its loss to open Group B play. 

PANAMA vs. CUBA (9 p.m., ESPN3.com)

After Blas Perez' two goals guided Panama to a road win at Honduras — arguably the toughest match Los Canaleros will have in this round — Panama returns home to face a Cuba side that hung with Canada in their opener but could not take advantage of being up a man for nearly 30 minutes at home. Panama can take an early stranglehold on Group C with a convincing victory at home and a Honduras result in Canada.

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How do you see Tuesday night's qualifiers playing out? Do you think Honduras will ultimately qualify for the hex? Do you foresee any surprises going down?

Share your thoughts below.

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7 Responses to CONCACAF World Cup qualifying: Honduras faces Canada challenge & more

  1. Hoosier Royal says:

    Is Hoilett committed to the Canadian National Team?

  2. Soro says:

    No. As ever, he is waiting for his club situation to be settled. He was in attendance at the CAN – USA friendly in Toronto, sparking hope amongst Canadian fans. This hope was quickly dashed by news that he was heading to Jamaica on vacation, prompting speculation that he was going to watch Jamaica’s match against ES. The current thinking (among Canadian fans at least) is that he is going to wait until the Hex and then jump on with either Canada or Jamaica at that stage (assuming only one of the two make it through). If both make it through, who knows, a coin flip perhaps?

  3. bryan says:

    it really bugs me that the Panama/Cuba game is on ESPN3 but i can’t watch the USA. and trust me, i am not blaming ESPN. but seeing that makes me so mad at the situation all over again.

    also, did NOT realize the playoff this time around is against Oceania. CONCACAF should have no problem getting 4 teams to the WC.

  4. Eric120 says:

    Yes–the playoff will likely be against New Zealand, which isn’t a cakewalk, but probably easier than Australia, which plays in the Asian confederation since 2006.

  5. bryan says:

    i figure New Zealand will finish in 1st though. so it would be some obscure Oceania team.

  6. JG13 says:

    Oceania has .5 spots, not 1.5.

  7. Deuce says:

    Oceania gets 0.5 World Cup spots.