The U.S. ends up third so far in the Octagonal while Mexico and Canada are above them, first and second respectively.
By: Emmanuel Mendez
The World Cup in Qatar is quickly approaching, and the qualifiers have finally started. This qualifier is different from the past editions as this time there will be eight nations competing to qualify for the World Cup instead of six.
This could make the qualifiers harder because of the extra two teams added. The number of teams to qualify hasn’t changed as it remains to be the top three teams in the table to qualify.
4th place would play an inter-confederation playoff game.
The teams included are the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, and El Salvador. The U.S. will look to qualify as they failed to do so back in 2017.
Now with two teams included, the U.S. will have to be more consistent in their games and not lose points. They will be looking to rely on their talented youth like Cristian Pulisic, Gio Reyna and among others.
The U.S. had a tough encounter with El Salvador away from home. El Salvador looked dangerous at home, but the U.S. kept composure and had decent chances. The game ended 0-0 but it was a good point for the U.S.
Panama and Costa Rica also drew 0-0 in their game but from Panama it felt like a loss. They dominated the game and should’ve scored a goal at least.
Canada and Honduras played each other, and the result was a 1-1 draw.
Mexico was the only team in Matchday 1 who got the three points as they defeated Jamaica 2-1. Mexico created many chances but couldn’t convert many of those chances.
Mexico struck first with a goal in the 5th minute courtesy of Alexis Vega. Jamaica got a goal from a mistake from defender Cesar Montes, but Mexico took the lead again in the 89th minute thanks to striker Henry Martin.
On Matchday 2, Panama`s great football display against Costa Rica was again present when they played Jamaica. A 3-0 win away from home gave Panama four points in two matchdays.
Panama took advantage of the shaky Jamaican defense and had a great start to the Octagonal.
Honduras and El Salvador drew 0-0 in a very competitive game. Both sides had good chances to score but, in the end, no team was able to finish their chances.
The U.S. played in front of their fans against Canada in a 1-1 draw. The U.S. took the lead in the 55th minute.
20-year-old Brenden Aaronson scored the goal, but the Canadians equalized minutes later. Cyle Larin scored the equalizer and both ended Matchday 2 with only two points.
Mexico gets another victory this time away from home, against Costa Rica 1-0. A penalty kick by Orbelin Pineda was enough to separate the sides.
Once again, the lack of consistency to convert chances almost cost Mexico a win. They got the win in the end and have six points after two games.
Matchday 3 started with Canada beating El Salvador with a 3-0 win at home. Atiba Hutchinson, Johnathan David, and Tajon Buchanan all got on the scoresheet.
Canada ends in second place with five points so far in the Octagonal while El Salvador ends in 7th with two points.
Costa Rica drew against Jamaica 1-1 in a stale game. Costa Rica has looked a bit off in the past games while Jamaica looks to be the worst team in the Octagonal so far.
After three games Costa Rica ends with two points in 5th place while Jamaica ends with one point at the bottom of the table.
Panama and Mexico played an intense game which in the end, resulted in a draw. Panama took the lead first with a goal by Rolando Blackburn in the 28th minute.
Jesus Corona equalized in the 76th minute and saved a point away from home. Both teams had chances to end the game and take the three points.
It ended 1-1 and Mexico ended up at the top of the table with seven points while Panama had five points in 4th place.
The U.S. managed to get a comeback win against Honduras in a 4-1 win. Honduras was up 1-0 in the 28th minute, scored by Brayan Mora.
The U.S. started their comeback in the second half as Antonee Robinson scored to make it 1-1. Highly rated talent, Ricardo Pepi scored to make it 2-1.
Brenden Aaronson and Sebastian Lletget scored after that and picked up their first three points.
Honduras ends in 6th with two points and the U.S. ends up in third with five points. A positive start for the U.S. team in the qualifiers.