The first loss to Honduras hurt, but the ensuing media drama that came out afterwards and in the lead up to the USA vs. Costa Rica game had the potential to do far more damage. So it's with a huge amount of pride and happiness that I'm able to write this article right now.
In case you missed the last two World Cup Qualifying matches, the USMNT managed to come out with 4 of a possible 6 points. The first won at home in what looked to me like a blizzard against Costa Rica. Those three points briefly allowed the USMNT to take the second place spot in the Hexagonal standings. They then went down to Estadio Azteca in Mexico City to play Mexico where they were able to eke out a nil-nil draw. While that might not seem like a victory to some, for those that truly know the history between the USMNT and Estadio Azteca, that's a big win.
So with 4 points total across 3 games (1-1-1) here are the current Hexagonal standings:
While it pains me to see Ryan Johnson's and Donovan Ricketts' Jamaican team at the very bottom, I'm delighted that the USMNT seem to be right back in the thick of qualifying. Not that I was ever truly worried, but it's nice seeing them actively earning points once again.
Additionally, the previous two results should help do one thing: quell any more "reports" about a fractured team on the brink of collapse under Jurgen Klinsmann.
Looking ahead to the Hexagonal schedule shows that the team is not out of the woods yet by a long shot, though they did clear a significant hurdle against Mexico. Here's the remaining schedule:
|June 7||vs. Jamaica (away)||TBD|
|June 11||vs. Panama (home)||6:30 p.m. PT|
|June 18||vs. Honduras (home)||7 p.m. MT|
|Sept. 6||vs. Costa Rica (away)||TBD|
|Sept. 10||vs. Mexico (home)||8 p.m. ET|
|Oct. 11||vs. Jamaica (home)||TBD|
|Oct. 15||vs. Panama (away)||TBD|
The matches played in Central America are always tough games as far as the USA is concerned. I expect strong performances from them in both games against Jamaica, but for them to struggle while playing in Panama and Costa Rica.
One big game to watch out for is the return leg of the USA vs. Mexico series. Mexico will be looking to take all three points from the USMNT and, while their record isn't great in Columbus, it's nowhere near as grim as the USMNT's record heading into Estadio Azteca this past weekend. Don't expect them to come looking for a draw, they'll want all three points.
For now though, we can at least rest a little bit easier in knowing that team USA isn't quite as dire as we were once told. I don't know about you but that's a big weight off my shoulders.
What did you think of the USMNT's previous two games? What about their future WCQ games?