CONCACAF June World Cup Qualifying Recap

Jozy Altidore is back in top form
Jozy Altidore is back in top form

 

Over the course of two weeks in CONCACAF, things went from virtually unknown to a little more defined.  We expected Jamaica to come up completely empty in this round and indeed they did.  The most disappointing team has to be Mexico.  Our predictor has consistently overrated them in 2013.  As of this post, in 2013 they have 1 win, 1 loss, and 8 draws.  It’s remarkable they’re still in decent position despite only 8 points through 6 matches.

It seems we had a pretty good feel for the June window, so let’s take a look at how we (and the teams) fared.

 

June 4

 

Mexico 1 – Jamaica 0 – Kingston, Jamaica

For a little while, it looked like Mexico was finally about to cure their qualifying blues.  Despite many opportunities, they yet again had difficulty scoring.  Only able to muster one goal, this was certainly an uninspiring performance heading into future matches.  Jamaica’s problem was exactly what we pointed out.  The level of competition is just too good, and despite inspiring results earlier, they still sat dead last.  Dropping points at home is a sure sign you’re not going to move forward.

Prediction: Mexico by 2
Result: Mexico by 1

 

June 7

 

USA 2 – Jamaica 1 – Kingston, Jamaica

Note to self: When your game kicks off at 10 PM local time, don’t already have been drinking for double digit hours.  What a dramatic finish this was.  Jermaine Beckford tied the game up in 89th, but the Americans were not to be denied.  Relative unknown Brad Evans scored the winner with a side volley in stoppage time that somehow was only believed to be the 5th best play of the day by ESPN.  Getting 3 points was absolutely huge for the USA.  Picking up 3 points on the road is going to set you apart from the competition.  Jamaica’s campaign was sealed with that goal as they could not afford yet another home match with 0 points.

Prediction: USA by 1
Result: USA by 1

 

Panama 0 – Mexico 0 – Panama City, Panama

Mexico is completely unwatchable.  With 2 goalless draws through 4 matches, they figured why not provide the viewers with another.  From Panama’s perspective, points against Mexico are still points, but at some point you need to gain some distance.  Panama started with an easy schedule, and the road will only get more difficult.  I’m glad I was blacked out for this one, because I wouldn’t want to remember this one.  As we’ve said before, drinking on the job here at WGF is not only permitted, it’s encouraged.  Apply within.  I really don’t know what Mexico is doing, but a change must be made at manager.  This is brutal, and they’re messing up our predictor.

Prediction: Mexico by 1
Result: Draw

 

Costa Rica 1 – Honduras 0 – San Jose, Costa Rica

Such a tough team at home, Costa Rica couldn’t let this one slip away.  You can be sure they still haven’t gotten over the March blizzard.  But they’re in great shape here.  With no other team really stepping up to the plate, Costa Rica could seize this opportunity to advance to Brazil.  Honduras looks like they’re in some trouble.  After surprisingly reaching South Africa and performing admirably, the Hex seems to be very harsh on them.  The schedule down the stretch is not too kind.  This was a huge 3 points.

Prediction: Costa Rica by 1
Result: Costa Rica by 1

 

June 11

 

Mexico 0 – Costa Rica 0 – Mexico City, Mexico

No, really.  Mexico is unwatchable.  If you’re counting at home, that’s now 4 goalless draws in 6 matches including all 3 in the Azteca.  Save their 2-2 draw with Honduras, Mexico Hexagonal matches have produced a total of 1 goal in 5 matches!  How many opportunities does this team need to do something?  The team has no confidence and it completely shows. Is it possible that they could miss out completely on Brazil?  They’re done with Jamaica and still go to USA and Costa Rica, who may be the top 2 teams in the group.  This is a massive result for Costa Rica.  After taking care of Honduras, to come away with another point at Mexico will go a long way.  They’ve certainly helped their cause.  Mexico needs to stop messing with our predictor.

Prediction: Mexico by 3
Result: Draw

 

Honduras 2 – Jamaica 0 – Tegucigalpa, Honduras

With results like this in Tegucigalpa, perhaps this is a better site than San Pedro Sula.  If Jamaica’s fate wasn’t sealed before, it certainly is now.  They got absolutely nothing in June and are just too far behind.  Honduras isn’t ready to lay down yet, and they’ve shown they’re not afraid of Mexico.  They’ll have the opportunity to play their way in.  One must wonder if the Jamaicans were just in over their heads here.  They barely got out of the previous round and needed the USA to defeat Guatemala while overcoming significant goal differential to advance.  It’s encouraging to reach the final round, but it’s probably worse to get there and get your ass whooped.

Prediction: Honduras by 2
Result: Honduras by 2

 

USA 2 – Panama 0 – Seattle, USA

I don’t know if the arduous travel we described had an effect on Panama, but they looked like they just had no gas at all.  Despite the scoreline, the United States thoroughly dominated this one from beginning to end.  Jozy Altidore has his form back which is very dangerous for opponents.  Despite not playing in Seattle for many years, it wouldn’t surprise me to see US Soccer bring a big match there again soon.  It was surprising how good USA looked and how Panama looked.  The Americans can smell Brazil.  What a chant this was.

Unfortunately, the Ol’ Dirty Bastard couldn’t make it today, but he sends his regards: “Dudadudaduda.”

Prediction: USA by 2
Result: USA by 2

 

June 18

 

USA 1 – Honduras 0 – Sandy, USA

This game certainly was tougher for USA than the Panama game was.  Honduras tried to hold on for a point, but ultimately it was Jozy Altidore again who struck for the United States.  Altidore scored in all 3 USA matches in June and appears to be in top form.  This win means the USA is virtually a lock for Brazil.  Fans chanting “we are going to Brazil” certainly feel confident.  All is not lost for Honduras here.  Despite their road woes, they have plenty of opportunities remaining to get into the top 3.  Surprisingly there were many Honduras fans despite the remote location.  Our predictor continues it’s torrid run through the CONCACAF fixtures.

Prediction: USA by 1
Result: USA by 1

 

Costa Rica 2 – Panama 0 – San Jose, Costa Rica

In messy San Jose conditions, things were relatively uneventful in the first half.  Costa Rica was unable to even manage a shot in the first half.  In the 2nd half, however, the flood gates opened.  Brian Ruiz scored off a free kick, and a superb strike from Celso Borges put the Costa Ricans in tremendous position.  This game just shows how important getting points on the road is.  Because Costa Rica took care of business at home and got a point at Mexico, they are in prime position.  Panama had a miserable June, and it was to be expected with their tough schedule.  They’re not done yet, but there’s work to be done.

Prediction: Costa Rica by 1
Result: Costa Rica by 2

 

The standings are actually very close to what we predicted, save Mexico.  We predicted the exact result in 5 of 9 games, and had the correct result in 7 of 9.  Without the Mexico games, we were perfect.  All of these teams are so close in not only the standings, but our rankings as well.  The 6 teams in the Hex are our top 6 ranked teams in CONCACAF, so everyone’s place was certainly earned.  USA is all but in and Costa Rica is not too far behind.  They helped their odds tremendously in June.  Jamaica is all but out.  As for the rest of the teams, it’s wide open, with an edge to Mexico.  Here are the standings and odds through June’s matches:

 

Team Points GD Games
USA 13 4 thru 6
Costa Rica 11 4 thru 6
Mexico 8 1 thru 6
Honduras 7 -1 thru 6
Panama 6 -2 thru 6
Jamaica 2 -6 thru 6

 

Percent of Total
Team Auto Play-Off Out
USA 99.8% 0.2% 0.%
Costa Rica 92.6% 6.8% 0.6%
Mexico 84.0% 13.6% 2.4%
Honduras 17.3% 51.0% 31.7%
Panama 6.3% 27.9% 65.8%
Jamaica 0.0% 0.5% 99.5%

 

As always, thanks for reading.  We’re glad that finally our predictor proved it’s worth and supplied a reliable preview.  Anyone can predict the games, but we also want to be held accountable.  We think we did pretty well here.  We’ll have previews for all of the action this summer as well as when the qualifiers resume in September.  Stay tuned on the website and on Twitter @We_Global.

CONCACAF Correspondent,
Cro

 

 

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