The next slate of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers kicks off this Friday with a trio of fantastic matches, and the Houston Dynamo will be well represented with five players available for selection. With the Dynamo (and MLS) taking the week off, there is plenty of time to watch them represent their home countries. Here is the breakdown of who is playing where during Friday’s matches of the CONCACAF “hexagonal round.”
6 pm CT – Panama vs Trinidad & Tobago, live on Bein Sports
Adolfo Machado and Panama travel to Trinidad, looking to grab some points in the hope of leapfrogging Mexico for second place in the Hex, or even taking possession of first place. The centerback helped Los Canaleros to a road win in Honduras as well as a draw against Mexico last fall.
T&T are still one of the Carribbean’s best teams, but have been very inconsistsnt due to problems at the federation level. That doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly, especially at home. Their fans will show up in force in the hope that the Soca Warriors can rebound and fight for a playoff spot. Claiming one of the three automatic berths is likely beyond reach at this point.
For Machado, his biggest test will come in shutting down veteran striker Kenwyne Jones. If the home side is going to score, it will most likely come from Jones, making the battle between the pair a crucial one.
Prediction: 1 – 1
7:30 pm CT – Mexico v Costa Rica, live on FS1
While the Dynamo are not represented in this match, it is worth discussing because the top two teams in the Hex are facing off at famed Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. It is going to be a heck of a match that both sides will be desperate to win.
Mexico has some injury issues at the moment but are still the deepest team in the region. The Ticos, meanwhile, continue to put their stamp on the region and etch their name into the best of CONCACAF. This will be a barn burner and worth every minute of watching.
The Dynamo angle for this one comes later this summer as Erick Torres has a good shot of making the Mexico’s Gold Cup roster while the A squad is in Russia for the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Prediction: 2 – 1 Mexico
9:30 pm CT – USA v Honduras, live on FS1
Let’s get this out of the way: Prediction for this match? Pain. USMNT fans are understandably nervous. When was the last time the Americans have sat at the basement of the Hex after two matches? Klinsmann’s end came too late to salvage the opening pair of matches last fall, and Bruce Arena comes in with huge questions and no time to tinker. Because of this, Il Bruce is relying on veteran players to get the job done, including the Dynamo’s retired-unretired-retired-unretired DaMarcus Beasley.
While not in the best of form for his club, Beasley still brings plenty to a USMNT squad lacking depth at fullback (still). It is unlikely that he will start this match or the away leg on Tuesday, but his presence offers so much more. He is one of a few who have played under Arena and knows what to expect. Helping his teammates rise to the next level s invaluable … and his private scouting report on the opposition isn’t bad either.
The biggest problem for the USMNT is the absences. Two players are suspended while a legion of others are injured. How the team adapts will be crucial.
On the flip side, the visitors have called up Romel Quioto, Alberth Ellis and Oscar Boniek Garcia from the Dynamo. The first pair have been in excellent form in their first MLS campaign. Quioto especially has been excellent, scoring three goals in as many games. Their ability to train and play together at the club level will make the transition to the national team that much easier, and they have a tactical advantage as the USMNT defense is particularly vulnerable out wide, especially with the injury to Fabian Johnson.
Garcia has been just a substitute for the Dynamo this season but an effective one. The versatile midfielder will almost certainly start for Los Catrachos as they look to hold back a desperate American attack with plenty of pace and creativity that will force the visitors to play team defense.
It is going to be a nerve-racking match in San Jose but the Americans should have enough to win this late in the game.
Prediction: 3 – 1 USA