The pressure is on the US men’s national soccer team as they visit Honduras on Tuesday, needing to at least avoid defeat in San Pedro Sula as the race is on for the third automatic World Cup 2018 qualification berth. Follow our football predictions here.
So far in the ten-game tournament the US have lost five out of seven games, including their brutal 2-0 home loss to Costa Rica on Friday. Both US and Honduras have eight points, but the US are ahead on goal difference. Below them is Panama on seven points and one game to go.
The MNT trained at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula on Monday for their final session and were greeted with 90-degree heat and heavy humidity, not to mention the unkempt grass growing longer than normal and a softer, spongy surface. But the conditions were not something that bothered head coach Bruce Arena.
“I think you need to have the experience and playing under these conditions, which I think a majority of our players surely have,” Arena said.
“M.L.S. players play a lot of games in hot and humid conditions on artificial fields, traveling in worse conditions. This is not going to be anything new to our players. It’ll certainly be challenging, but I think we have enough experienced players to understand the circumstances.”
If the US were to secure a win on Tuesday, they would need two wins or a win and a tie in the final two games to qualify for the World Cup. It would also guarantee at least a playoff spot with a victory over Panama, regardless of goal differential.
A tie would mean they would need two wins to qualify for the World Cup and in danger of finishing fifth if say Panama beat Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday and then the US in October.
A loss would guarantee at least fourth-place finish and a playoff spot with victories in its final two games, but if Honduras claimed at least one point from its final two games, the US would be eliminated from the World Cup with a defeat to Panama.