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USA can theoretically clinch a World Cup berth in their next match

Jun 19, 2013, 1:24 PM EDT

Honduras v United States - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Getty Images

Although they’d need a lot of outside help, the United States could potentially have a World Cup berth wrapped up after the next round of CONCACAF qualifying fixtures.

Sitting atop the hexagonal standings, the United States holds a 2-point lead over Costa Rica and a 5-point advantage over 3rd-place Mexico.

The CONCACAF qualifying matches don’t resume until September 6, but it is mathematically possible for the U.S. to be officially headed to Brazil on that date.

According to ESPN soccer researcher Paul Carr, in order for that to happen:

  • The United States must win in Costa Rica
  • Mexico and Honduras must draw at Azteca, not a longshot by any means considering Mexico’s played to three consecutive 0-0 draws at home
  • The kicker result: Jamaica (with 2 total points thus far) must win at Honduras

Unfortunately, the odds of all that happening is about 1.6%, according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), which runs numerous simulations of each fixture.

The worst-case scenario in that round for the U.S. is a loss at Costa Rica coupled with Honduras and Panama wins.  That would see Costa Rica take over the top spot in the group, and the U.S. would be just 3 points clear of 4th place, and 4 points clear of 5th.

If they fail to seal the deal September 6, they could always do it four days later in the States against Mexico (insert evil grin here).

Don’t fret though, folks. In order for the squad to qualify, all they need is a combination of 7 points between those gained by the U.S. and those dropped by whoever holds the 4th spot over the final 4 matches. Given the way each team has beaten up on the next in hexagonal play, it’s not hard to envision that happening sooner rather than later.

And finally, SPI also predicts the USMNT’s chances of qualifying for Brazil at this juncture at a healthy 99.7%.

I’m going to tempt fate with this one: it’s pretty much a guarantee.

  1. charliej11 - Jun 19, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    If the US wins on Sept 6 then they have 16 points and the magic number is 4.

    They are also assured of 4th place.
    Any ties at all between Panama-Honduras-Mexico put them into 3rd minimum.

  2. soccer4good - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    I can see US team wins the rest of the games if they keep training hard and stay focus

  3. revansrevenant - Jun 19, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Don’t tempt fate. At one point in the third period of Game 7 of the
    Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, the Leafs had a 99.9 percent chance of winning the game and series. They are currently playing golf.

  4. talgrath - Jun 19, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Thirteen points is virtually a guarantee in the Hex, no team has bombed out of the World Cup in the history of CONCACAF after picking up 13 points by this point. I don’t think the US will beat Costa Rica away, but I think a tie is a healthy bet; that gives them 14 points, a single tie or win more means the US wouldn’t be last in the hex for sure. 16 points all but ensures qualifying, and 17 points is a guarantee. I think getting at least 4 more points in the next four games is very likely for the US given the remaining lineup of opponents and that two of those games are at home.

  5. footballer4ever - Jun 23, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    13 points is not any guarantee when there are 4 games left, 12 points in play and 4 teams (not including Jamaica) not so far away from the US at the top of the table. The US is in a much desired position to make it to the WC than if they had lost or tied to Honduras. There are 4 games left, but pretty much i have a feeling the WC spot winners will be determined in the next 2 games in September 2013.

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