With a win tomorrow night, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team can all but lock up a spot in the 2014 World Cup. Although the U.S. has played just five of its 10 games in the final stage of qualifying heading into tomorrow’s contest against Honduras, if the Americans beat Honduras it would be difficult to imagine a scenario in which they end up missing out on a World Cup bid.
The Americans have survived a difficult schedule up to this point, playing three of their first four games on the road. Although they haven’t always looked the part of a World Cup team during qualifying, the U.S. has managed to get good results and that has put them at the top of the table at the midway point of the 10-game schedule.
A late goal by Brad Evans against Jamaica gave the Americans four points in three road games, and combined with home wins against Costa Rica and Panama, the U.S. has 10 total points. Generally, 16 points is the watermark that all but guarantees success in qualification which means that the U.S. can qualify with six points in its final five games. However, considering the high volume of games that have ended in a draw during group play, the threshold to qualify could be lowered to 14 or 15 points.
With a win over Honduras, the U.S. would sit at 13 points with four games left to play. With two of those four games at home, including one against bottom dweller Jamaica, it would be unlikely for Jurgen Klinsmann‘s team not to be able to collect the points necessary to book their trip to Brazil next summer.
Not only are the Americans at the top of the table and closing in fast on a bid, but they are also coming off their best game of the qualification process, a convincing win over Panama last Tuesday. The U.S. also has some extra motivation heading into tomorrow night as their only loss in this round of qualifying came at the hands of Honduras back in February.
If the U.S. can win tomorrow night, not only will they redeem themselves for that disappointing loss and extend their lead at the top of the table, but they will also all but secure a spot in the World Cup which is all the motivation they need to go out and get a win.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him to your network on Google+.