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The Daily Dirt, November 9: Walk Unafraid

U.S. vs. Mexico is two days away

USA V MEXICO Getty Images

The U.S. men’s national team starts the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Friday night in Columbus, Ohio against rivals Mexico. Then, they travel to San Jose, Costa Rica to face off with another perennial power on the continent. What can you expect in this important set of games for 2018 World Cup hopes?

  • Two games don’t decide the qualification process: The Hex is a ten game slog through the final round of qualifying. These two games won’t decide anything definitively, there’s way too much soccer to be played over the next year for that.
  • However, momentum is important at the start: In CONCACAF, you never want to be forced to go on the road to get wins. The U.S. does not want to dig a hole early in the process and be forced to steal wins on the road consistently.
  • The rest of CONCACAF is improving steadily: Besides Mexico and Costa Rica, the rest of the group are no push-overs. Honduras has been to the last two World Cups. Panama was agonizingly close to making the qualification playoff last time around. Trinidad and Tobago is probably the weakest team in the group, but still has players to be concerned about.
  • Seventeen points is the magic number: No team finishing on seventeen points in the Hex has ever failed to qualify for the World Cup. That is why the old adage, “Win at home, draw on the road,” holds true.
  • Only one team has come back from losing their first two games: Trinidad and Tobago’s historic qualification for the 2006 World Cup in Germany is the only time in Hex history that a team has bounced back from two losses to start the campaign to qualify. The Soca Warriors were able to win four of their last eight to get to a playoff against Bahrain.


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Pros and cons of the best U.S. formations on Friday (FourFourTwo)

Montreal will host a huge crowd for the first leg of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Olympic Stadium (Mount Royal Soccer)


New rules related to head injuries could be tested soon (AP)


Former Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves and UAB goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski re-signs with Arizona United (USL)