I’m doing things differently for Weeks 9 and 10 because of three reasons: 1. It is easier and more simple due to complex scenarios 2. I can go into detail about the three games and lastly because I cannot say definitively qualification and elimination scenarios.
The Current Standings After Week 8
- Mexico (Qualified)
- Costa Rica
- Trinidad and Tobago (Out of automatic qualification but alive for Intercontinental Playoff although barely)
Race for 3rd and 4th Place
2. Costa Rica 15 points +7 Goal Differential
3. Panama 10 points +3 Goal Differential
4. US 8 points +1 Goal Differential
5. Honduras 8 points -7 Goal Differential
6. Trinidad and Tobago 3 points -11 Goal Differential
The Fourth Placed Team plays the winner of the Australia vs Syria playoff series from the Asian Football Conference or AFC
Matches for Week Nine:
Home team first, all games October 6th, all times are EDT
Mexico vs Trinidad and Tobago, Estadio Alfonso Lastras, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 9:30pm
United States vs Panama, Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, FL, 7:35pm
US and Panama are vying the 3rd or 4th place
Costa Rica vs Honduras, Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica, October 7th, 6pm
Honduras is the last team to be vying a spot in 3rd or 4th
Mexico vs Trinidad and Tobago
Not much to elaborate on as Mexico is in and Trinidad and Tobago is out for sure for automatic qualifying and barely have a chance in the Intercontinental Playoff.
United States vs Panama
This is a true do or die game because the US cannot lose anymore points. They face a Panamanian team that won against Trinidad and Tobago and they have the goal differential battle won (US +1 Panama +3), also in terms of points the only team that can topple Costa Rica is Panama because the max points Panama could do is 16 (US 15). Now as the favorite, believe it or not it’s Panama, simply because they are playing better soccer in Weeks 7 and 8, they lost by the minimum at the Azteca and they beat the living crap out of Trinidad and Tobago, as for the US they lost against Costa Rica at home which was a complete and utter meltdown and they tied against Honduras in Honduras. Not only that but the level of play for the US is dropping while the Panamanian level is rising, that’s why Panama would win this game even though this is a must-win for the US.
Costa Rica vs Honduras
Costa Rica just needs a point and they are in and Honduras made it almost impossible to go to the World Cup. By tying with the US, they doomed themselves because their next two games are @Costa Rica and vs Mexico, the two strongest nations in the Hexagonal. Not to mention that they failed to make the goal differential better they have a (-7) also the maximum amount of points is 15. Now for the intercontinental playoff ( the winner of the Syria vs Australia playoff series) Honduras has a chance in that if they don’t pick up the 3 points. It’s undeniable that Keylor Navas is one of the best or even the best goalies in the World and also Costa Rica doesn’t give points away at home like crazy. In fact the only point that they have given up was in Week 8 against Mexico and that’s after a full round and one game remaining in this round. Now for Honduras, they picked up the easy win against Trinidad and Tobago but they failed to finish the job and beat the US thereby making it worse off for them. That’s why Costa Rica would win, they play better soccer and the squad is in another level than Honduras’s.
2. Loss+Panama win
3. Draw in US/Panama
COSTA RICA is guaranteed a top-2 standing if:
1. Costa Rica tie+Panama/US tie
- Win AND Honduras loss/tie
Elimination from Intercontinental Playoff consideration:
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO:
- Wins by both US AND Honduras
And now my favorite part of these previews my picks of the week.
Mexico 3-Trinidad and Tobago 0
United States 1-Panama 2
Costa Rica 2-Honduras 0
(Costa Rica and Panama Qualify due to combination of results and points) (Panama to its first in their history)
(Featured image curtesy from https://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2017/06/12/concacaf-world-cup-qualifying-2018-hexagonal-standings-schedule-results)