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CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
The Hex is dead, long live the Octagon!

CONCACAF changed qualifying this year. The Hexagonal is gone, replaced by an Octagon. The top 5 teams in the Federation; Mexico, US, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Honduras are automatically in the Oct. The other 3 spots will be determined by a qualifying tournament that starts in October. The 30 remaining teams were put into 6 groups and each team will play 2 home and 2 away matches in the October/November FIFA windows. The 6 group winners will play a 2 legged playoff in the March window for the last 3 spots. The Oct starts in June with 4 matches and then 2 matches each in the next 5 FIFA windows through March 2022.

This is the last 32 team World Cup, it increases to 48 teams in 2026. CONCACAF is still allocated 3.5 spots with the 4rh placed team playing a 2 legged playoff against either Oceania, CONMEBOL or Africa.
 
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jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Yeah ... front loaded schedule for sure, and the tail end of the thing is the stinger. Avoiding the usual slow to awaken garbage would be nice, but I'm still not convinced that Berhalter has a handle on his guys yet. And I'm fully aware of how long he's had the job.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
CONCACAF pushed back the start of qualifying to March 2021, missing 2 international windows. The round robin will be contested in March and June, with the group winners also meeting in June for the last 3 spots in the Octagonal. The Octagonal will now start after the Gold Cup, in the August-September 2021 window but will not be complete by the March 2022 window. The Intercontinental playoff May be delayed, or CONCACF May request an extra day in the international window so a 3rd match could be added.

 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
CONCACAF pushed back the start of qualifying to March 2021, missing 2 international windows. The round robin will be contested in March and June, with the group winners also meeting in June for the last 3 spots in the Octagonal. The Octagonal will now start after the Gold Cup, in the August-September 2021 window but will not be complete by the March 2022 window. The Intercontinental playoff May be delayed, or CONCACF May request an extra day in the international window so a 3rd match could be added.

People are bitching about this online but I'm not sure what choice they have but to ask to delay qualifying as much as possible.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
The US path to qualifying may have gotten a little easier. The Bahamas, 201st in the World according to FIFA rankings, 10th worst, eliminated Trinidad and Tobago last night.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
The Octagon is set. Canada makes their first appearance in the finals since 1998, Jamaica is the only Caribbean representative. There are 14 games over 5 windows with 3 games every window except November. The 3 game windows are Thursday/Sunday/Wednesday. The US opens at El Salvador on 9/2, home for Canada on 9/5 and at Honduras on 9/8. The home match with Mexico is in November with the date TBD. I can see a repeat of the Snow-Classico in Denver. As noted above, match 12 is at Mexico, match 14 is at Costa Rica, with a home match against Jamaica in between, so let’s not leave qualifying to the last window, mkay?
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Best Canadian group in a long while, with Alphonso Davies in full bloom supported by Jonathan David, Junior Hoillet and Cyle Larin. They aren't great in the back, but they bring the danger for sure. Probably the deepest group of quality attackers Canada has assembled in my adult life.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Berhalter named his roster for the first qualifiers. A blend of some of the Euros and the mostly MLS crew that won the Gold Cup. Pulisic is on the roster, so the expectation is that he’ll be cleared.

All 3 matches will be televised, although the match in Honduras is streaming only. 9/2 at El Salvador, 10 pm on CBSSN and Paramount +. 9/5 v. Canada from Nashville, 8 pm on FS1 and 9/8 at Honduras, 10 pm Paramount +.

 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
OK ... that streaming only game in Honduras will be the "fun" one to watch. Those are generally the ones where the feed is 100% from the local camera crews and a director in the US tries to puzzle out what's actually happening because the cameras are either in the parking lot or on Mars.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Pulisic cleared Covid protocols and practiced with the team today. Now it’s a question of how much his conditioning was affected and how he gets used.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Pulisic did not travel to El Salvador, he’s still recovering from Covid. Zach Steffen didn’t travel either, he had back spasms. Matt Turner will start in goal.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
First shots fired in the Octagon

The US played to a frustrating 0-0 draw at El Salvador. Still ... young team on the road in WCQ for the first time without their best outfield player, so ... fine. Road draws in CONCACAF are never really a bad thing. Got to get better in the offensive third though. They're supposedly playing all these kids because they have attacking skills. Now that they have a qualifier under the belts, time to see a little of that.

Elsewhere ... Canada clawed back a goal for a 1-1 draw in Toronto against Honduras. Honestly? That's a game they needed to win. Panama and Costa Rica also posted a 0-0 draw. Mexico offered the only decisive result with a 2-1 win over Jamaica. The next round of games is Sunday, with the US hosting Canada and Mexico getting an early test at Costa Rica.
 
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andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Dest and Yedlin were not good. And Tim Ream? Really? Offensively, they were wasteful in the box. Robinson should have scored early off the delicious free kick from Reyna. De La Fuente was a menace down the left side, Reyna was Reyna, but where was Aaronson?
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Disappointing draw for the US in Nashville yesterday and it puts the US in the unenviable position of having to win at their house of horrors in Honduras on Wednesday. Brendan Aaronson finally broke through in the 55th minute, finishing a sequence that he started in midfield. But Alohonso Davies embarrassed Yedlin and Brooks got caught ball watching and Canada equalized 7 minutes later. The US had some chances later but never really seemed to solve Canada’s back 5. Dest left with an injury just before halftime with Yedlin coming in for him, Reyna was out with a hamstring strain, McKennie was suspended for breaking Covid protocol, a completely brain dead move. Steffan had back spasms again but also tested positive. I’m not sure it matters anymore, after his performance in the Gold Cup and the first 2 qualifiers, it feels like Matt Turner has stolen the starting keeper spot anyway.

Mexico made a 45th minute penalty stand up against Costa Rica and top the table with 6 points. Panama beat a Jamaica 3-0 and are second. Canada, Honduras, the US and El Salvador are all tied at 2 points after a scoreless draw between Honduras and El Salvador. Jamaica have 2 losses and a -4 goal differential.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
McKennie was sent back to Italy and Dest didn’t travel to Honduras. Jackson Yueill was called into camp.
 
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