CONCACAF Qualifying Preview: Jamaica travels to Costa Rica, Honduras visits Panama

CarlosCostlyJerryBengtson2011 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

The third match day of the CONCACAF Hexagonal round sees a match between rivals (U.S. vs. Mexico), and two other matches between teams trying to create space between one another. Last-place Costa Rica take on Jamaica, who are right in the middle of the pack, while leaders Honduras visit Panama, with two points from two draws.

If there is anything to learn about the previous two match days, it’s that the unexpected can, and maybe will, happen. Normally Panama wouldn’t be given much of a chance to defeat Honduras, even at home, but after coming back to draw Jamaica on Friday the Panamanians will likely believe that they can record an improbable win.

Costa Rica is certainly stewing over the defeat in Denver to the United States, and could take out their revenge on Jamaica. Yet the Jamaican tie against Mexico in February and their defeat of the U.S. last fall shows that they are a strong side, and could give Costa Rica a good run for their money if the Latin American nation aren’t careful.

All six teams are still within one win of moving to the top of the group, but after Tuesday the standings could look a bit different.

Here is a closer look at tonight’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifying action:

COSTA RICA vs. JAMAICA

TV: 10pm, BeIN Sport

Last Time Out: Costa Rica dropped a 1-0 result to the United States last Friday in snowy Denver, while the Jamaicans drew at home 1-1 with Panama.

The Matchup: Costa Rica is not happy that they lost in the difficult conditions in the United States last week, but they are still a squad that won’t count themselves out of a chance of making it to the World Cup this early. Facing the Jamaicans at home won’t be easy either, and they’ll have to get the most out of their forward duo of Alvaro Saborio and Bryan Ruiz. The two scored a goal each in Los Ticos’ first match, coming back from a two goal deficit in Panama. Jamaica on the other hand will be disappointed they didn’t pick up three points at home after a Marvin Elliott header put them ahead. The Reggae Boyz are fast and fit, but haven’t performed well away from home. In fact, they haven’t won away away from home in a World Cup qualifier since a 6-0 win over the Bahamas in June of 2008.

PANAMA VS. HONDURAS

TV: 10pm, BeIN Sport 2

Last Time Out: Panama drew with Jamaica 1-1 in Kingston, while Honduras drew 2-2 with Mexico in San Pedro Sula.

The Matchup: Even on the road, Honduras will be the favorites going into this match. The win over the U.S. gave the Hondurans an incredible amount of momentum, and the comeback against Mexico won’t hurt that at all. Of course, those two results came at home, where they have a huge advantage in the Estadio Olimpico, but they also have an advantage over Panama on Tuesday when Carlo Costly walks on the field. His goal to cut the deficit on Friday against Mexico came precisely because of his 6-foot-four-inch frame, jumping over the shorter Mexican defenders. Panama’s Felipe Baloy will spend much of the game marking Costly, but at age 32, there are questions being asked if he can handle the challenge. On the other side, Panama will also need to find an answer for the midfield duo of Oscar Boniek Garcia and Roger Espinoza, high-level players capable of taking over a match at any time. Los Canaleros will have at least one thing going for them, as forwards Blas Perez and Luis Tejada have proved they can score goals at the international level. The two have combined to score 12 goals already for Panama during their path through CONCACAF World Cup qualification.

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What do you think of these matches? Who do you see winning tonight?

Share your thoughts below.

 

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19 Responses to CONCACAF Qualifying Preview: Jamaica travels to Costa Rica, Honduras visits Panama

  1. PD says:

    my money is on Jamaica (2-1) and Honduras (2-0)

  2. Hector Lavoe says:

    People are drastically overlooking Panamá. The ball movement, hard work, and cohesion is dangerous. Now that their own cockiness has shot them in the foot vs. Costa Rica, and a scare with Jamaica, I see them as all business throughout.

    Their current FIFA ranking is their highest EVER and they have NEVER qualified for a WC.

    Panamá 2 – 0 Honduras

    • PD says:

      I have mad respect for Panama and I believe they are going to be a spoiler before it’s all said and done, but Honduras is on a roll right now and I think that will prove to be too much for Panama to handle right now.

  3. Nick says:

    Not sure I agree with Honduras being a favorite away from home. Yes, Honduras is a better squad, but I don’t think Honduras will keep Blas Perez and Luis Tejada from scoring…especially in Panama. Add the fact that Panama are desperate for a home win, I think 2-1 Panama. If game was Honduras, I would say 3-0 Honduras.

  4. Hector Lavoe says:

    Of the *remaining* teams in all confederations trying to qualify for the 2014 WC in Brazil, Blas Pérez is the leading goal scorer with 9 (although he has recently been tied by Gonzalo Higuaín of Argentina).

    Super Ratón is due as he almost had two against Jamaica.

  5. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    I feel special for Panama, Jamaice and Honduras, and I wish Costa Rica and mexico the worst!

  6. 2tone says:

    Hopefully these teasm keep on tying eachother

    Jamaica and Costa Rica: 1-1

    Honduras V Panama: 1-1

  7. Raymon says:

    The monoboob picture is too much. I cant read the rest of this article.

    • jones says:

      Thank you!

      I normally stay away from comments like these, but the first time that picture was posted the other day the manboob was all I could think about. I mean, there’s something strange going on in the photo – it’s like he’s just flexing the one side and the light/shadow is hitting it just right so that it appears enormous…

      • Increase says:

        There is a soccer ball under his shirt….

        But I though of monoboob/alien chest explosion. Not sure which is more uncomfortable.

  8. USMNT Fan says:

    Klinsmann’s Starting Eleven:

    ——————Guzan
    Cameron-Gonzalez-Besler-Beasley
    —————-Edu-Bradley
    ————Zusi-Dempsey-Gomez
    ——————Altidore

    • BigBirdLenny says:

      There’s no way we see Gonzalez-Besler. I think we’re more likely to see Cameron-Gonzalez with Tony Beltran at right back (but we won’t see that either).

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        I’m hearing Besler for Goodson. Cannot reveal my source, but it’s a credible one. The source admits that this is unconfirmed…

  9. Zztoppppp says:

    Jamaica 2-1
    Honduras 3-0

  10. Dan says:

    The most pressing concern here is the alien about to burst from this poor Honduran player’s chest