Four years ago I used a Poisson model based on the previous five year's international match results to predict prior to the start of the Hex that the USA would finish 1st with a total of 20 pts. As this year's Hex has already started, I am a little late getting going, but I fired up my model again, and under the assumption that the results of the first round were not yet known, I calculated the expected outcome of this year's Hex as follows: Rnk Team W L D GD Pts 1 MEX 5.9 1.7 2.4 9.4 20.2 2 USA 3.9 3.4 2.7 1.0 14.5 3 HON 3.4 3.8 2.8 -1.1 12.9 4 CRC 3.3 3.8 2.9 -1.1 12.8 5 PAN 3.1 3.9 3.0 -1.7 12.3 6 JAM 2.1 5.2 2.7 -6.5 9.0 Note that this time GD is predicted cumulative goal difference over the 10 matches for each team. Rounding up, a rational expectation for the USA in this year's Hex is to win 15 pts and finish a distant second behind MEX, while qualifying just ahead a three-team dog-fight among HON, CRC, and PAN for the 3rd (automatic qualification) and 4th places (play-off with Oceana winner). Get your oxygen masks and defibrillators ready! The reduced expectations relative to last time are in part due to the poorer past results of Jurgen Klinsmann's side compared to the Bob Bradley side that preceded it, and in part due to PAN (in particular) and JAM being stronger teams than TRI and SLV were four years ago. Klinsmann and the USA team can meet rational expectations by winning 4 matches, drawing 3, and losing 3. Given 4-3-3 as the rational expectation, based on the strength of the opponent and location of the match (home or away) we can classify the USA’s upcoming Hex matches into three categories: Matches the USA must win (to meet rational expectations): vCRC, vPAN, vHON, vJAM Matches the USA can afford to draw: Jam,@CRC, @PAN Matches the USA can afford to lose: @HON, @MEX, vMEX All of which is summarized for ease of reference in the following table: Rnd Home Away Res Pts 1 HON USA L 0 2 USA CRC W 3 3 MEX USA L 3 4 JAM USA D 4 5 USA PAN W 7 6 USA HON W 10 7 CRC USA D 11 8 USA MEX L 11 9 USA JAM W 14 10 PAN USA D 15 Where Rnd indicates the Hex match day round number, Res is the required result to meet rational expectations, and Pts is the corresponding cumulative point total. So to play the rational expectations game, all you have to do is compare the USA’s actual point total to the expected Pts in the table after each round. Viewed through the lens of rational expectations, the loss @HON on match day one doesn't seem so terrible (HON were favorites), although I find it a bit depressing that the USA are calculated to be underdogs at home vs MEX on match day eight.