What Happens Next for the U.S. in World Cup Qualifying?

Last night’s 4-0 defeat to Costa Rica was a shock result for the U.S. men’s national team. The loss leaves them without a single point from the opening two matches of the CONCACAF Hexagonal qualifying round. In addition, this is the first time the U.S. have lost their opening two matches in the Hex format.

So, what does this mean moving forward? To start, the U.S. is definitely not down and out. Eight matches still remaining and a possible 24 points are up for grabs. Their next two opponents are Panama and Trinidad & Tobago. In 2014, the U.S. defeated Panama both times they met in the Hex round.

To be fair, both Costa Rica and Mexico are two of the best countries in the CONCACAF region, and they should be advancing to the World Cup Finals once again. The U.S. side had two of their toughest opponents back-to-back–and while they should have done better– they can look forward to the next round of matches.

A look at the 2014 qualifying round will also show that it is indeed possible to falter at the start of qualifying and come back. Mexico finished with just two wins and still managed to qualify via the playoff. However, this time around a member from the Asian qualifying zone will face the fourth place CONCACAF team, which will make for a tougher test.

The overarching theme here is that the Hex round is far from over. Not only could the U.S. still qualify, but the two sides they lost two in the past week could falter as well in their upcoming matches. The Hex can be full of surprises and should continue to be a fun watch as we continue to Russia 2018.

Written by: Dan Garza  

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