A look at the CONCACAF Final Six

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Coming into the final day of the third round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, five spots were on the line. Group B was already locked up, thanks to Mexico’s undefeated record through group play. But in Group A and C, both spots were up for grabs.

By the end of Tuesday, all six places in the Hex were locked up, giving us a strong field of contenders for what promises to be a brutal final round of CONCACAF qualifying in 2013.

In Group A, the United States went up against Guatemala, knowing that at least a draw would be enough to move on to the next round. Despite a scary start, they advanced comfortably with a win over Guatemala. Jamaica proved too strong for Antigua & Barbuda to take the other spot.

Meanwhile, Canada came into the day on top of Group C, and left dejected after an embarrassing 8-1 loss to Honduras. With the win, Honduras ended up even with Panama atop the group, as Panama was able to pull out a draw against Cuba. Both ended up with 11 points, eliminating Canada and Cuba from the 2014 World Cup.

Mexico coasted to a win in Group B, already knowing their outlook well before they took the field Tuesday night. Meanwhile, Costa Rica held a two-point advantage over El Salvador for the final spot in the Hexagonal round. Costa Rica knocked in two early goals against Guyana to all but eliminate El Salvador early, who already held a slim chance of advancing going up against Mexico. After sustaining that lead, Costa Rica advanced as the final country to make their way into the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Here are the six nations who advanced to the fourth round, which will take place from February to October 2013. The format for the round has all six nations playing each other once, both home and away. The top three teams will advance to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth-place nation will advance to a playoff against the winner of the Oceania qualifiers.

Mexico:
14 World Cup appearances
Last World Cup: 2010

El Tri comfortably advanced, as they had no troubles with the other representatives in Group B. They will look to continue their momentum over the past year, having won the gold medal at the Olympics over the summer. In 2010 qualifying, Mexico finished 2nd.

United States:
9 World Cup appearances
Last World Cup: 2010

The Americans certainly did not make it easy on themselves, having to at least tie Guatemala in the final match of the round. However, they were able to overpower the Guatemalans, coasting to a 3-1 victory, to win Group A. In 2010 qualifying, United States finished 1st.

Honduras:
2 World Cup appearances
Last World Cup: 2010

Much like Mexico, Los Catrachos have enjoyed themselves a successful 2012, with a strong showing in the Olympics, including a win over Spain. Going into the final day in a showdown with Canada, Honduras went on to an 8-1 drubbing to not only eliminate the Canadians, but also win the group thanks to goal differential.  In 2010 qualifying, Honduras finished 3rd.

Panama:
0 World Cup appearances

Thanks to a Nelson Barahona goal to tie it up with Cuba, the one point result was enough to move Panama to 11 points, enough for second place in Group C. They will be looking to qualify for their first ever World Cup, with a second place finish in the 2005 Gold Cup their most successful run during their history.

Jamaica:
1 World Cup appearance
Last World Cup: 1998

The Reggae Boyz certainly mixed it up throughout group play, which included their first ever win over the United States. Despite that victory, the Jamaicans needed a convincing win over Antigua & Barbuda to advance. They did just that, with a 4-1 win, enough for second place in the group thanks to goal differential.

Costa Rica:
3 World Cup appearances
Last World Cup: 2006

With the last spot up for grabs, all Costa Rica had to do to guarantee a spot in the next round was defeat Guyana. They did just that, easily advancing with a 7-0 win. They will be looking to avenge the disappointment of 2010, having finished fourth in qualifying, and failing to advance to the World Cup after a loss to Uruguay in the playoff.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF, Featured, World Cup 2014, World Cup Qualifying. Bookmark the permalink.

85 Responses to A look at the CONCACAF Final Six

  1. Monty says:

    US and Mexico will probably be first and second in the group. And Honduras and Costa Rica will battle it out for third and fourth. Well that is just my prediction.

  2. Landon says:

    Wait… where’s those canadian guys?? Oh, yeah…hehehe

  3. mikeandike says:

    U.S. has lost and struggled with each team except Honduras in recent history, so the performance clearly needs to improve…

    Jamaica-lost to in this year’s qualifying, Panama-lost to in last Gold Cup, Mexico-lost to in last Gold Cup, Costa Rica-lost to last WCQ and tied on a last second Bornstein header….

    I see 3 wins, 2 ties at home
    1 win, 2 ties, 2 losses on the road

    4 wins, 4 ties, 2 losses- 16pts good enough for 2nd or 3rd and gets USMNT through without a playoff

    • F says:

      I agree. Costa Rica is always a boogeyman for the US, them and Mexico are almost guaranteed road losses, and between them and Panama I could a home draw. Aside from those fixtures, the US shouldn’t have a problem with winning at home and drawing away, 16 pts seems a realistic target, although I think the US should aim higher, Costa Rica missed last world cup with 16 pts, 18 is probably a good safety net.

    • JRP says:

      Wow. You have a crystal ball. Amazing. What stocks should I buy? And who wins the election in Nov?

      • what what says:

        Thanks JRP for bringing something to the conversation

      • mikeandike says:

        can’t answer the first, since i do that for a living and not allowed to disseminate that info to the public.

        The second is much easier: it’ll be the middle-aged, wealthy guy who went to Harvard Law…

      • Dave from charlotte says:

        It’s actually not a bad evaluation of potential results.

        To be honest, the way we are playing right now, it will easily get us a date against the Kiwi’s for a place in Brazil.

        At best, we are playing like the 3rd best team in the region.

      • Mark says:

        Apple. Obama.

  4. Mike R says:

    Canada sucks the more things change…

    Worried about second round, US backline is scary, I like Cameron…BUTT he doesn’t play it at Stoke city and it shows. Hoping Stoke puts Edu at CB and that he nails down a spot there otherwise it’s going to get ugly

    • For Real says:

      Cameron has started every game since he moved to Stoke. Think before you type stupid stuff that makes you sound ignorant. The guy is doing better than anyone else on the backline anyway.

      • JustinV says:

        Read before you respond and easy with the insults. Mike R was referring to the fact that Cameron has been playing RB at Stoke lately and not CB. He didn’t say he hasn’t been playing just playing a different position than he plays for the US.

    • Heft says:

      I think that Cameron is a good CB. His performance at Azteca was brilliant. The fullbacks and keeper just need to start communicating and working together better.

  5. downintexas says:

    Well it’s now a fresh start. Here is to hoping Klinsmann and the boys pull it together which they will and that the injury bug leaves us alone!

  6. John.q says:

    Dane Richards is the boss. Dane mutha fukin Richards.

  7. JC says:

    I would predict Mex finishing first, we (US), taking 2nd, Panama taking third , and Honduras beating New Zealand in the playoff series to book their ticket to Brazil. Panama has been playing very good football under Dely Valdes.

  8. The Imperative Voice says:

    That is a pretty nasty hex. Jamaica and Panama are the low hanging fruit you can push aside to ensure a chance at the Finals, but then both have beat us this cycle. This just feels like a long slog of grinding out result after result, and the level of defensive quality is going to have to go up.

    • Lost in Space says:

      If we can stay healthy we can field one of the strongest squads the US has ever seen. The biggest question with this team will be who will step in to fill the roles held by some of the aging vets. As much as I appreciate the job Boca, Dolo, Donovan, and Dempsey have done for us, we need to find options/depth for their positions.
      At center back we are as thin today as we were in 2010. Gooch is all but gone, Boca is aging, Goodson has not shown well since Italy….Can Cameron, Gonzalez, Hines, Ream, John, and Beasler step up their game enough to solidify the CB position?
      Wing Backs…Johnson and Dolo are locks for now, and if Chandler agrees to join, and once Lichaj gets a chance under JK we should be OK…but would still like to see a couple others step up their games (Castillo, Loyd, etc…) to provide depth.
      Wing Midfield is my greatest consern. Can Corona, Gatt, Shea, Bedoya, and Gyau stay healthy and provide real support to Donovan and Dempsey?
      CM is our deepest position….Williams and Bradley seem to have started a nice partnership. Add Zuzi into the mix along with Torres, Edu, and Jones…and if Holden ever recovers we’ll be stacked at the #6 & #8 CM spots. There are young options as well if they continue to develop. We’re still thin at AM’s…but if Mix, Adu, ever complete their development we may yet be OK.
      Strikers…with the current crop (Dempsey, Jozy, Boyd, Gomez and maybe Johnson) we should be OK….but still hope that Agudelo, Wooten, Sapong, Bunbury or one of the other young guns will step up in time to push/replace some of the older cast.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Hines?

        • Bobb says:

          Seb Hines. US eligible, but would have to file a one time switch.

        • broadsthooligans says:

          CB Seb Hines, Age 24,Plays for Middlesborough in the Championship. Dual National (US-Eng) who hasn’t played for England since U-19

          link to en.wikipedia.org
          link to soccernet.espn.go.com

        • William the Terror says:

          Duncan Hines. Currently playing in the German (Chocolate) League. Don’t know if we can get him, but it would certainly be frosting on the cake.

          • WK says:

            snort- he means Sebastian Hines, an english player who’s represented ENGLAND at every youth level i think, but because he was born in the US he could play for the US. we’ll have more luck converting Edu, or that George John, and Omar Gonzalez finally get/take their chances next year. I’d put Seb Hines behind Gale Agbossoumonde turning into the next US stud on that wish list…

            • William the Terror says:

              I was aware of that. It was just that his question was nicely juxtaposed with the comment below from Dimidri about “cupcake” games. Figured I’d try to work cake master Duncan Hines into the mix.

      • joe k says:

        zusi is more of a wing than a CM — and he’s been playing great, for both club and country.
        he has kind of taken the understudy role to donovan, and i think shown himself to be a good option.

  9. Dimidri says:

    How many non-camp cupcake games between now and the hex? Just Russia?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      As I understand it the 4th round games will run from February/March to October 2013. The official FIFA calendar has two official friendly match days between now and then, one at the time of Russia and the other at the beginning of February. There may or may not be additional games for Camp Cupcake outside the calendar. Historically there have been January games but I think we’re out of any period where Bradley scheduling or the transition might have impacted Klinsi’s thought process. So we’ll see what he wants.

      • lassidawg says:

        The January games haven’t been on FIFA dates, and are usually for the MLS guys and those playing in the Scandinavian countries.
        I would guess they will have those games.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          I think what I am getting at is Bradley seemed more into scheduling multiple friendlies around January off the calendar. I didn’t get the same impression from Klinsi. He may very well have a camp as a bridge for the winter breakers but I wonder how many off-calendar friendlies he’ll have…..I don’t know how much of January 2012 was set by Bradley before he got fired……

  10. dan says:

    I really hope Jamaica makes it through. CONCACAF needs some freaking diversity other than latin countries and the usa. Caribbean needs to step up.

    I’m gonna predict:
    1. USA
    2. Mexico
    3. Honduras
    4. Jamaica
    5. Costa Rica
    6. Panama

    with Jamaica comfortably getting the 4th world cup spot beating Oceania (prob NZ)

  11. Eric120 says:

    I think given the recent history (i.e., winning Olympic gold, plus all of their group B matches), it is realistic to assume that Mexico will win the hexagonal. My prediction is that the other two straight through to Brazil 2014 will be USA and Honduras, with Costa Rica in fourth place to fight it out against the South Americans.

    A conservative prediction, I know, but realistic.

  12. jb says:

    The best teams seem to have made it thru to the hex. All of them are capable of beating the US if alot of things go wrong for us, but really, aside from the game against Mexico in Azteca, we should be favored in every other match we play. And if we can get a healthy Donovan to contribute in 2013, you have to like our chances to win the hex.

  13. Tony in Quakeland says:

    To a certain extent, the Hex is more forgiving for us, since it is hard to imagine us not finishing in the top four – but this won’t be easy. Panama is always a handful for us and Jamaica – well, I don’t think we’ll deploy three d mids again…. But we clearly need to get better. Obviously, we need to get and stay healthy and:

    - we need to see some consistency on tactics. You know what, I’m fine playing counter attacking football. It’s good enough for teams like Germany and Italy, so why should I complain? But whether we counter attack or pretend we are brazil, we need to let the team establish a system

    - JK needs to stop thinking he gets extra credit for unexpected selections. And we need to let guys play their natural positions. Moving Williams to the right, moving Edu to CB, etc., – that’s not what you do at the international level. If club form is important, than club form AT YOUR POSITION should be too.

    - We need to sort out the defense. Frankly, these two games showed little reason why Cameron should be anointed an automatic starter. That’s not to say he should be benched, but we need to reopen both CB positions. We need to look at Ream, Gonzales, John. And since Cameorn is playing right back at Stoke – why not try him there? I love Dolo – but he may be too old for 2014. And we need to make one last call to Chandler.

    That said, I think we finish second or third.

    • Soccerjohn says:

      Tony, I always enjoy your comments. I agree with all you said except about about player selection/deployment. I think JK has been pursuing a long-term plan and I think he’s been handcuffed to a large extent by issues of fitness and form.

      One of the things that has impressed me most about JK has been that he seems to have a plan, and to be taking the long view. I think he used this qualifying round as a way to explore his player pool and try things out, a wise tactic given that he won’t have the luxury of so much experimentation in the next round. I think next year we’ll see him arrive at a more stable starting XI and will identify the right situational/backup players on whom to rely. With that stability will come understanding that raises the level of play above the sum of the parts. And, given fitness of the best US players, I think the results will come.

      And I think his track record is pretty good in terms of player selection. He’s looked at lots of different guys, conveyed clear expectations for how to get his attention, and gotten results when he needed them. If someone had told you a year ago that the US was going to trot out the lineup that played last night vs Guatemala in a crucial game, wouldn’t you have been nervous? Worked out pretty well, though, and now guys like Johnson, Zusi, and even Gordon feel like they can contribute and guys like Altidore understand what it’s going to take to get minutes.

      I think the MNT’s fortunes in the hex will be determined to a substantial degree by individual players’ form and fitness. If Donovan and Holden regain both, that’ll cure a lot of ills. If Shea regains his form of 2011, that’ll also help immensely. Same thing if Altidore figures out how to carry over his club form to the MNT. Fabian Johnson and maybe Chandler would help shore up the defense. That really brings things down to central defense and we can at least hope that’ll come together over the next year.

      Call me an optimist, but I see the US fielding the best-ever WC team in 2014. I foresee a team that will expect to win a game after group play and be competitive in the next.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        A good, considered response that deserves a fuller reply than I can manage at the moment. Briefly, I think JKs selections have been a weak point. I think his criteria floats all over the place to suit his whims. Club form matters…except when he wants to pick a guy anyway. I think he picks certain favorites and then shoehorns into the line up to accomodate them (example using Williams on the right, which had most people ready to kick the guy off the team; playing three d-mids in the first Jamica was also probably due to this.). I think he picked a poor time to “send a message” to Jozy – one that contradicted his previous comments about how hard Jozy was working in the summer. (I cannot get over the feeling that Jozy wasn’t picked because Klinsmann felt insulted.) I also think blasting Jozy in the press feels self-justifying and betrays a failure to understand American players.

        Finally, this round I think it was inexcusable to bring in guys who were already injuried and apparently have no back up plan for when they were predictably unable to play. When you condsider how comfortable Zuzi looked coming from MLS, you can’t argue that MLS would not have been a source of pootential replacements. I mean, you can probably name a handful of MLS guys who would have been good role chocies along the back line.

        • Soccerjohn says:

          Good stuff, Tony. I completely agree about the decision to retain such a small squad for these games. Seemed really odd to have such a limited roster. However, I wonder whether the imminent MLS playoffs and knowldge that he likely wouldn’t play any new guys who came in had anything to do with it?

          I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on Jozy and JK’s player selection when you get a chance. I won’t argue that his selections don’t always seems consistent with his proclamations. But I actually like the way he seems to be challenging players and setting the highest possible bar for inclusion.

          • PD says:

            Excellent observations, but to be honest I don’t see how Holden can merit any kind of serious consideration at this point. At the minimum we’re looking at a full year once he starts in matches again before he’s really at the same fitness that most of the other guys are currently at. Perhaps it’s ignorance, but I never saw such exceptional qualities in him that make me believe he’s the next Landon for this side, which is to say I don’t see hi innate talent trumping the fitness/being at match speed issues. I wish the guy well and I hope he can play at the top level for USMNT because Lord knows we need players will his skill set, but spending two years out of things due to injury is something that takes a long time to come back from, and until he demonstrates that he’d done that I think including him in any USMNT plans is premature, putting him in the same bucket with players like Adu and Feilhaber (the “if only” bucket).

            • Soccerjohn says:

              Hard to argue, PD. Further support for your point is the fact that, at least for the foreseeable future, he’ll be playing League Championship soccer for a team that’s not looking likely to compete for promotion this season. Still, he’s got about 20 months. I can hope…

        • jb says:

          I find it interesting that so many fans feel this ‘outrage’ that JK would criticize Jozy publicly. It’s certainly a different tactic than Bradley, who felt all strife should be kept internally. However, some of the best AMERICAN coaches in the other major sports do this often. Phil Jackson is the one that comes to mind first, as he routinely called out players to the press who he felt weren’t performing the way he wanted.

          These players are professionals, who have faced criticism before. If they are really so mentally fragile that this affects their confidence, then they shouldnt be playing at the international level. To me, its a sign of progress that we have a manager willing to call out one of our most talented players when his effort isn’t good enough.

          • Tony in Quakeland says:

            I didn’t express outrage. I just believe in many (if not most) cases, it’s counterproductive.

            What’s the goal? So the coach can feel like a tough guy? Or to make a player better? We don’t have the depth of top level players that would allow us to cast guys aside based ob personality. More to the point, I think coaches who handle that face to face build loyalty. I know some people complain if I bring up Bradley, but he handled guys very well – and they played hard for him.

            My problem with Jozy/JK is that I don’t believe JK. He praised Jozy’s work and attitude at the last Nats camp – so when did he decide that it wasn’t what it should be? I can also see the evidence of my own eyes watching Jozy play for his club. I think when Jozy through his lack of production against Jamaica back on his coach (at least partially correctly if not intelligently), THAT’s when he decided to send a message. (By the way, having watched Eddie Johnson play for Seattle, I agreed with the call up – but I never thought it was one or the other.) Frankly, with qualifying on the line, that had no business in the selection decision. Jozy is our best pure striker right now, period. Maybe not for every game, but overall, he is. (I don’t consider Dempsey a striker – more an attacking mid.) Call him in (to meet the team’s need) tell him you’re pissed to his face and see how he responds. That’s how you handle men. Instead, JK invented a reason that contradicted his previous statements (about his work in the previous camp) and violated his statements about club form (in selecting Gomez, who is not starting or scoring)

            • Soccerjohn says:

              I oughta be more focused on work, but… Tony, I don’t know whether to trust JK or not. But I think you coach to the individual. And Altidore has a history of turning coaches off with poor attitude and insufficient effort. Don’t get me wrong; I think the guy’s fantastically talented and I’m hugely impressed with his growth as a player and professional. Still, I don’t see this as grandstanding by JK so much as delivering a very clear message: if you want to get on the field for the MNT, you’ve got to do more to contribute. It’s hard to argue that such a message was unwarranted. Who’s to say whether it got delivered in person before being escalated? Altidore’s had a lot handed to him due to a combination of his talent and the lack of good forwards in the US pool. Let’s see how he responds to this challenge before jumping on JK for handling it this way.

  14. TC says:

    Anyone who predicts us to finish first must be watching a different squad. As much as I hate to say it Mexico is miles better than us right now. I do realize we beat them in Azteca but wcq is a lot different than a friendly. We will be doing good to finish 2nd.

  15. CincyRed says:

    I think we may have lost Timmy Chandler to the German National Team yesterday, as the Germans coughed up a 4 goal lead to Sweden. Germany’s defense may be worse than ours.

    • Bobb says:

      Only is Low gets fired for blowing that 4-0 lead to Sweden at home, which shouldn’t happen because it would be crazy. Low and Klinsmann are buddies, and Germany has half a dozen fullbacks at Chandler’s level. No way they are calling up a player who has played half a dozen times for the US team.

    • Clover362 says:

      While I’m sure there is panic going on right now in the german press, Chandler is so far off the german national team radar it won’t impact him at all.

      The real issue for chandler is, once you waiver on your desire to be there it is very hard to bring some one like that back in because of the dynamic it creates on the team. Dempsey, one of the best US players ever still feels a huge burden to prove himself everytime he steps on the pitch. The other german born players ahev expressed the USMNT experience has been one of the best of their lives. How do these players feel about having someone in the locker room who loks at the oppertunity as a back up plan? How does some one like Gomez who fought tooth an nail to save his entire career feel about a player like that? I’d be skeptical about introducing that into the team.

      • Ceez says:

        Amen! I really like Chandler but he sees the USMNT as a back-up plan while Gomez, Dempsey, and EJ see it as The Promised Land. That would probably not sit well in the locker room.

  16. bryan says:

    well, if we can’t place in the top 4 in the Hex we shouldn’t be there. even in the 4th spot, there is no excuse for us to lose to an Oceania team. last time around it was South America which made it hard. but as far as i’m concerned, CONCACAF should have 4 teams in the 2014 World Cup.

  17. bryan says:

    As of right now, this would be my 23 for the Hex:

    Howard, Guzan

    Johnson, Lichaj, Chandler, Dolo, Cameron, Boca, Castillo, *CB

    Bradley, LD, Williams, Jones, Gatt, Corona, Zusi, Shea/Kljestan

    Altidore, Boyd, EJ, Gomez, Dempsey

    * – At this point, I’m not sure who that CB spot should go to. Edu, Goodson, Omar, Gooch?!

    No Holden because we just don’t know where he’ll be, but if he is healthy, he takes over the “Shea/Kljestan” spot. I hate listing three keepers, so I realize we’ll likely drop a striker to make room for Rimando. My guess is Boyd misses out if that is the case. Some might say I have too many fullbacks in this 23, and they would have a decent point. But given the lack of width in the midfield we have available, I think having Castillo, Lichaj, Johnson, and Chandler would help with that. Moan all you want about Chandler, we’ll just have to agree to disagree about him being there. And why Castillo over Parkhurst? Simply because Castillo is a little more versatile. But I would not mind Parkhurst being there. And he could very well take Chandler’s spot.

    • Ceez says:

      Lol. I can’t believe you even included Gooch. Wow.

      As for Gatt, he needs to make it into camp first. Then we’ll see.

      • bryan says:

        at this point, anyone is on the table. Gooch obviously has to start playing regularly for Malaga, but given the Hex starts in Feb/March, he has time.

        Gatt was called in but only out due to injury. i think it’s pretty much safe to say he’ll be there in November and January. if he plays well, he’ll get the call. but sure, maybe including him as a 100% in that 23 is a bit premature.

    • Hunt Daddy says:

      Not sure how you can say Castillo is more versatile than Parkhurst? Parkhurst can play all across the back line. And by then he will also have a CL group stage campaign under his belt.

      • bryan says:

        That’s true. I guess I was simply talking in regards to being able to play defense or midfield. But you’re right, Parkhurst can play anywhere in the back.

  18. Charles says:

    I was going to comment on Uruguay even before I read it on the last line. They finished 4th in 2010.
    And had to play in the playoff game, beating Costa Rica 2-1.

    I would rather the US do like Mexico did and not go to the last game, but whatever it takes to get to keep going, they did it. It is not easy anymore.

    JK should get a lot of credit for his player selection. He took a lot of heat from people on sites like this, but EJ, Zusi and Gordon were great and a huge reason why the US made it through.

    • kmac014 says:

      Uruguay came in 5th ahead of Colombia and Ecuador by a pt and Venezuela by 2 pts. Argentina came in 4th ahead of Uruguay by 4 pts. U r right it isn’t easy anymore when a team like Uruguay has to go to the playoff. France needed that Henry handball against Ireland to get through so you can never assume it’s gonna be easy.

      That said this round might be easier, even though the teams are better, because there’s more games and the more games you play the greater the sample size which leads to a better representation of the best teams. Also there’s more spots going through, with 2/3s going through instead of 1/2 (assuming the 4th place team beats the Oceania)

    • bottlcaps says:

      It shows how strong the COMEBOL group was. Needless to say CR got jobbed that year. THIS YEAR, the fourth spot is a playoff with the OCEANIA federation, which means they will be playing the likes of New Zealand or Tahiti to go to the World Cup.
      New Zealand is the highest ranked team in that federation and is ranked below every Concacaf team in the Hexagonal.

      The US biggest weakness in the second round just concluded was, as this board has repeatedly pointed out is it’s defense and yeah I’m pointing at you …backline!!

      Is Onyewu healthy again. He has a tough nut to crack in for a position in the starting lineup of La Liga’s Malaga! What about Jay DeMerit, back to form for Vancouver after a long string of injuries. And then of, course there is Omar Gonzales, playing better than ever for the Galaxy after being almost crippled by the Germerican we all like to hate, Tim Chandler.

      Klinsmann also need to look at which players can play the best out of position. Goodman may be an OK centerback, but he can;t play out of position. JK should look at some “utility” players outside of Edu. How about Beasley who can play forward, winger and cornerback!!!

      The US seems to have found a flowing offense in the form of three strikers Herculez, Deuce and EJ, not as a three forward formation, but as winger,striker,withdrawn striker, etc, This make a 443 or 451 or 433 formations moot. Put all three of them in and you can play any formation you want!!!

      Klinsmann has one more chance to bring in players who have missed out because of injuries and NOT because they didn’t perform well. He should use some friendlies to bring in these players and then settle on your “base” players with others filling in as needed, and do this hopefully before the Hexagonal.

  19. Clover362 says:

    Glad to see the US go through but Klinsman needs to realize he need to seriously rework his call ups. If we go through the hex with the team he called in and being stubborn about replacing injured players we will not go through. Every team in the Hex is capable of beating the US, if the US is not playing their A game.

    What we need to do is understand we have exactly 1 position in the back covered (johnson at LB). Klinsmann needs to put serious work in filling out the rest. John, Gonzalez, Hedge, Ream, and others all need serious looks before the hex. Klinsman needs to have lichjai on this team, he not only could press dolo for the RB spot right now but I have serious reservations about a 35 year out on the wing come cup time. not to mention even if he doesn’t crack the starting 11, lichai gives you depth at both rb and lb, and gives you pace and crossing ability going forward into the attack.

    The other area is we need to address a complete lack of creative attacking midfielders on this team. this team struggles against organized concentrated defensive formations. Guatamala didn’t have a chance to settle into one last night but look at how hard it’s been for us to get goals in qualifying so far. This will get worse as we start playing better and better teams. Right now donavan is the only player in the mix I think has the ability to make tight passes on good lines to brake down a team through the middle. Donavan has been great but it’s scary to be dependant on a player his age and with so many miles on him. ADU needs to be a serious consideration. Every time he is on a team with the talent to take advantage of his skill set he is amazing. there is a reason he looks so much better playing for the U20, U23, and USMNT than he does in the rough and tumble MLS on a mediocre to poor team. The US can deploy 2 very good defensive midfielders (bradley, Williams, and jones and Edu for depth) who can handly the defensive responsibilities and cover for adu allowing him to attack attack attack. It’s time to Klinsman to address this.

    Here is what I want to see as our starting 11 assuming good health come WC time:

    Altidore

    Donavan ADU Dempesy

    Bradley Williams

    Johnson Cameron Gonzalez Lichjai

    Howard

    That line up will score goals and be fine defensively.

    The Bench would look something like this:
    Edu, Jones, Gomez, Zusi, Boyd, the Best available CB, and GK

    The 23, would have EJ, Shea, Torres, another CB, and another GK.

  20. bryan says:

    Michael Bradley, Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson, and Graham Zusi (and Goodson???) all carry yellow cards into the Hex. Here is a breakdown of the other teams with players on a yellow:

    Mexico: Rodriguez, Torres, Salcido
    CR: Umana, Miller, Oviedo, Gonzalez, Acosta, Barrantes, Cubero, Saborio, Campbell
    Honduras: Figueroa, Bernardez, Peralta, Costly
    Jamaica: Nosworthy, Palmer, Watson
    Panama: Barahona, Henriquez, Quintero, Cedeno, Perez

    • Soccerjohn says:

      Useful info, Bryan. Thanks.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Dempsey’s yellow was infuriating. A pointless obvious dive at the end of the game. (BASELESS CONJECTURE ALERT: Was he diving to get a hat trick opportunity? Only he would know, but it would raise a serious question about his priorities if he was.) I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt us.

      • bryan says:

        yeah, that was a ridiculous dive. luckily Dempsey doesn’t pick up many cards, but still. that was stupid.

  21. montana matt says:

    Swami says the hex will finish:

    1. Mexico
    2. Costa Rica
    3. USA
    4. Honduras
    5. Panama
    6. Jamaica

    • T-Sop says:

      I am very surprised that this Hex ended up looking like most of the others…US, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, an island nation (Jamaica this time), and one other Central American nation (Panama this time). I was excited to see El Salvador just had to take care of business at home to eliminate Costa Rica last Friday…and that Canada had a good chance to advance to the Hex for the first time since 1998 cycle. In the end, I guess the favorites went through. I can’t wait to see our order of games and home/road schedule. Last cycle, CONCACAF released the Hex schedule three days after the last semifinal match…Here’s hoping they turn it around that quickly again.

  22. Conrad says:

    Just out of curiosity, has JK ever been able to play Bradley, Donovan, and Dempsey at the same time since he took over?

    • Luetchy says:

      Yes, on 6/3/12 vs. Canada in Toronto. 0-0 draw.
      link to ussoccer.com

    • PD says:

      with the way Willams and Zusi played last night he may never need to.

    • Chris H says:

      Four times actually, twice in friendlies and twice in WCQ, all of them in the May-June camp. The first was the 4-1 loss to Brazil. Bradley and Donovan started, Clint came on as a sub in the 56′. Then in the 0-0 Canada friendly all of them started together, and Landon subbed off in the 73′. The first two games of qualifying, the 3-1 win over A&B and the tie against Guatemala also had all of them starting together. However, Deuce wasn’t himself in any of those games because of the Fulham issues…

  23. Bill says:

    Does anybody know when the schedule will be announced?

  24. JaBro says:

    I wonder if those ppl making predictions watched all the teams going into this round play. Wasn’t Jamaica the team that beat the US convincingly? Did you see them play their last game? Give them a better goal keeper and they are up to third.

  25. PD says:

    The Hex is going to provide some great soccer and probably some really ugly soccer as well.

    Honduras, Jamaica and Panama will all be playing with chips on their shoulder, eager to prove their ascendancies are legitimate. Mexico will be looking to solidify it’s claims of “the golden generation”, and the USA of course will have England-like expectations placed upon them by fans and media alike while trying to move the culture and quality of the game forward in a significant manner.

    I see
    1. Mexico
    2. USA
    3. Panama
    4/5. Jamaica/Honduras
    5. Costa Rica

    - Panama and USA will be a grudge match after the way the teams traded blows at the last Gold Cup; Ditto for Jamaica USA after this round of qualifying.
    - I think Panama will get two unexpected results early on in the Hex.
    - Mexico/USA should reach a new level of awesome.
    - Costa Rica might get caught out by some of the upstarts, so I’ll pick them as the surprise omission.

  26. Godfrey Ingram says:

    West Coast needs a qualifier!

  27. 2tone says:

    It will be a close finish between Mexico and the U.S. for first. Just like the last two WC Cycles. I predict:

    Mexico
    U.S.
    Honduras
    Costa Rica

    • kmac014 says:

      US finished first in the 2010 cycle and tied with mexico in the 2006 cycle but Mexico had a better goal differential

  28. lassidawg says:

    For the US and Mexico it will always be more difficult to get out of the most recently completed round. With less teams and and less games one bad game can put you on the edge. In the Hex there is more margin for error. If you win the US wins at least 4 home games and ties a couple on the road they will finish 3rd easily.

  29. SoB says:

    PPL Park needs a qualifier. Its a smaller venue (18,500+) But we would make sure that it would be hell on the visitors!

    Agree that Seattle would be a great venue for the Mexico qualifier.

  30. Llorona says:

    My predictions for this final round.
    1. Mexico
    2. Panama
    3. Costa Rica
    4. Honduras and winning the playoff spot.
    5. Jamaica
    6. United States