We’re now two games in “the Hex” is short for the Hexagonal a term that caught on in the late 1980s. The term refers to the six team final qualifying round for North America’s CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) Group.
Here’s who’s in competing for a spot at the 2018 Russia World Cup (and their world ranking):
Costa Rica (#18)
Trinidad and Tobago (#65)
Each team plays the other five teams in a home and an away game. Winning at home is crucial to gain points as it is difficult to win away in this much more competitive group. The top three teams move on to the World Cup and the fourth place finisher goes into a playoff to win a trip to Russia in 2018.
The Hex began with a devastating loss at home to Mexico and then an embarrassment at Costa Rica this week.
Nov. 11, 2016 USA 1, Mexico 2
Nov. 15 2016 Costa Rica 4, USA 0
The good thing is the rest of the teams in our group are significantly weaker in the world rankings and we have many games to turn things around. Mexico qualified with a 2-5-3 record at the last World Cup a playoff game win. The US has four more home games in qualifications along with away games against Hondurus and Trinidad and Tobago, very winnable games. So the US still have a lot of games and plenty of opportunities to regain both the tickets to Russia and the team’s confidence over the next year.
We have the longest stretch we’ll have in the qualifying to think about how we turn this ship around. The good news is that the top three teams go through so there’s still plenty of time to get back on track to make it.
The bigger question is who takes us forward? Players, coaches and US Soccer all need to take a deep look at themselves and ask who are the pieces that can move this team forward in 2017?
The schedule for the rest of the games are here:
Mar. 24, 2017 USA vs. Honduras TBD
Mar. 28, 2017 Panama vs. USA Estadio Rommel Fernandez, Panama City
Jun. 9, 2017 USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago TBD
Jun. 13, 2017 Mexico vs. USA TBD
Sep. 1, 2017 USA vs. Costa Rica TBD
Sep. 5, 2017 Honduras vs. USA Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula
Oct. 6, 2017 USA vs. Panama TBD
Oct. 10, 2017 Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain