CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying: A look at the rest of the hexagonal schedule

By JOSE M. ROMERO

The CONCACAF World Cup qualifying final round, or hexagonal, will be here in February 2013, but it’s never too early to look at some key matches in the six-team double round-robin.

Three automatic qualifiers for Brazil 2014 will come from the six participants, plus a fourth team in a two-leg playoff with an Oceania representative for one more potential spot. Soccer by Ives examined the U.S. draw earlier; here’s a look at what the other teams in face in their respective home-and-away matchups.

The team to watch the most is undoubtedly Mexico, and no doubt El Tri has the U.S. already circled on its schedule for March 26. That will be the second of what could be challenging back-to-back games for Mexico, as they must travel to San Pedro Sula on March 22 to face Honduras, a team that should contend for a top-three spot.

The U.S. now has a win at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on its ledger, so beating the Americans won’t necessarily be a given for Mexico.

In early June, Mexico must play at Jamaica on the 4th, go to Panama for a match on the 7th and return home to face Costa Rica on the 11th. On paper, they probably won’t lose any of those games, but June might be brutal for Mexico because after the World Cup qualifiers, the team heads to Brazil for the Confederations Cup.

On Sept. 6, Mexico hosts Honduras before going to the U.S. for the Sept. 10 date. And Costa Rica could give them a run on the last qualifying date, Oct. 15. Costa Rica could be playing with a World Cup berth on the line that night, or at least a spot in the play-in series.

Aside from Mexico and the U.S., Honduras and Costa Rica appear to have the better shot at making it to Brazil or the play-in series than Panama and Jamaica.

Honduras gets to host Costa Rica on Oct. 11, with Los Ticos at home June 7 at Estadio Saprissa.

Bottom line — winning away from home soil probably won’t be easy for any team, the only exception being Mexico and not more than a couple of road games, at that. Home teams enjoy an advantage by keeping their matches at one central location, for example, Azteca in Mexico, the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica and Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City.

The U.S. must try to capture that home-field advantage with the federation’s selection of venues around the country.

The summertime matches in Central America and Jamaica also might give those countries an advantage over the U.S. because of the weather conditions. Those shouldn’t be an issue in games between teams south of the U.S.

What are your thoughts on the other games in the hexagonal? Where can Mexico be possibly tripped up in its pursuit of the top spot? Who will round out the top four? Share your thoughts below.

 

 

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11 Responses to CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying: A look at the rest of the hexagonal schedule

  1. THomas says:

    There are going to be some great games this round. Concacaf is getting more and more entertaining by the year.

  2. LoS says:

    no winter in Columbus for Mexico. US will be praying for snow in september

  3. Big Chil says:

    Time to go home & watch the MLS playoffs! :)

  4. Llorona says:

    My predictions
    1. USA will lose to Panama with a margin larger than the Panama Canal.
    2. Just like Jamaican sprinters smoke Americans on the track they will on the soccer field aswell.
    3. Costa Rica will continue to be the achilles tendon for American, and will win comfortably.
    4. Honduras will replicate the trashing of Canada with the USA in San Pedro Sula.
    5. Mexico will beat the USA easy, and break the record for biggest win with a 14-0.
    6 USA last on the HEX.

    • Lost in Space says:

      While all the remaining teams can and will represent challenges to any team….your comments are as uncalled for as they are unlikely. But if you wish to be a TROLL I’m sure any number of US Supporters can return the favor.

    • Lost in Space says:

      OK…couldn’t resist….
      1) Panama may be able to compete with the us physically, our greater skill level should be enough to dispach them (4 pts USA)
      2) Jamacia may be fast, but the likelyhood of 2 dream free-kicks goals happening again…not likely….esp w/out Beckerman near the field. US Redemption (6 pts USA)
      3) Costa Rica’s new stadium backfires on them by reducing the impact of the fans. (4 pts USA)
      4) Honduras….Over estimates themselves and brings Bornstein in as their Technical Director as a thank you for gifting them a WC birth last cycle. Bornstein trains their defense….(6 pts USA)
      5) Mexico….after a LONG Event filled summer…and with the help of 2 Rafa Red Cards…give points away (2 pts USA).
      6) USA 22 pts…Tie Mexico at the top of the Hex on pts…but take second due to GD.

    • Chris says:

      I wish you were my bookie… I see early retirement for me

    • Nate says:

      I smell a mexitroll

  5. Jermaine says:

    It should be a good bunch of matches, who has the TV rights?

    • WoodenShoe11 says:

      All of the home matches will be carried by ESPN networks, all the away matches except Mexico will be on Being Sports, and the Mexico match, unless I am mistaken, has not officially been announced for tv.