Away goals rule proves US superiority

Mexico tried their best, but once Davies got the early goal, it was over. They did make it close in the final ten minutes, but in the end, quality won out. And so, by the only fair and rational measure, the United States has proven its superiority in the region. Congratulations to the US National Team!

That said, there's going to be some bitterness whenever a single, specific result goes against the US. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty angry about what happened yesterday. So I think it's understandable if I vent a little at the team whose complete lack of class and accomplishment really made the sport look bad.

Hey. Costa Rica. Thanks for nothing. You may be in first place still, but you're only three points out of fourth place now, so you shot yourself in the genitals, too. Jerks. What does "Tico" mean in English, anyway? Does it mean "Jerk"? Because it should. You're jerks.

Thank you. That felt good.

Partially because of Mexico getting a rare home win, but mostly because Costa Rica went nipples north in Catrachostan, we now live in interesting times.

Your standings:

  1. Costa Rica, 12 points
  2. Honduras, 10 points
  3. United States, 10 points
  4. Mexico, 9 points
  5. El Salvador, 5 points
  6. Trinidad and Tobago, 5 points

Four games left for everyone. How is it likely to shake out?

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO goes to Honduras, hosts the United States, goes to Costa Rica, and hosts Mexico. That last game is likely to be a potential spoiler, unless Televisa brings sacks of money to Warner as inducement to lie down. Historically, Mexico has had issues in Trinidad - RIP, Mickey Trotman. Other than that, they're not likely to be a factor.

EL SALVADOR should by rights have seven points, one point behind the United States with eight. They deserved that win against the US. At the time that performance breathed life back into their campaign, but they needed something out of Trinidad. With two all-but-automatic losses on the road to the US and Mexico, they look finished. Brave run, but it looks like we have the four teams that will survive the Hex.

MEXICO is probably even more annoyed at Costa Rica than we are, once they read the standings - but they do get the remaining Honduras game at home, so that's them passed right there. A point in each of their remaining road games, and another win at home to Salvador is probably good enough to qualify outright. The funniest thing about the schedule right now? The "TBD" next to Mexico-El Salvador on October 10th. It might be in Mexico City again, but don't rule out Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (On the other hand, maybe they read Martin Rogers' Yahoo article, and figure FIFA will make them play on the road?)

Landon Donovan is talking about YANKISTAN winning their next two - in Sandy against Salvador, and off the coast of Suriname against Trinidad. They'd better. They're almost certainly going to lose in Honduras outright, and while the US home field advantage is in its own way as adorable as Mexico's, they don't REALLY want to depend on beating Costa Rica for all or significantly all of the marbles.

Just look at HONDURAS, all pleased with themselves, goal differential ahead of the US and everything. Look who's perfect at home, and likely to stay that way. Even if they don't win in Mexico City (and who knows? they could), chumpifying Trinidad and the US will put them in a position to need pretty little on the final day. Which is good, because that final day is against their dear, dear friends the Salvadoreans. If they protect their house, they'll be fine.

COSTA RICA picked a really stupid time to slump, what with hosting Mexico on the horizon. Mexico has donated all three points everywhere they've gone so far, so anything less than a win for Costa Rica puts them in a bind - they can really only depend on three more points total in their last three games, the Trinidad home game.

What kind of world will we wake up to the morning of October 14? One where we'll have a lot of trouble, or way way way too little trouble, making bowel movements. Check out this possible standings scenario:

HONDURAS: 16 points, at El Salvador
MEXICO: 16 points, at Trinidad (assuming a tie at Costa Rica)
COSTA RICA: 15 points, at the Yanks (assuming Mexico tied them at home)
UNITED STATES: 14 points, hosting the Ticos (16 points, though, if they had won in Trinidad - still brown pants territory)

So that's how you qualify. Either get points on the road, or for God's sake don't suck in October.