US group set for World Cup qualifying in June

The group is set for the United States in the third round of next year’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifying after Friday’s date of international action.

The US will be joined in Group A when the third round of the qualifying tournament begins in June by Jamaica, Guatemala and, thanks to their 1-0 upset over rival Haiti on Friday night, Antigua-Barbuda.

The strongest foe of the three is certainly Jamaica, although the Americans have historically dominated the series against the Reggae Boyz. The US won the teams’ most recent meeting with a 2-0 victory in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup this summer, pushing the US’ record to 10-0-8 all-time.

Guatemala are currently ranked No. 99 in FIFA’s world rankings, and topped Grenada 3-0 on Friday to improve to 5-0 in Round 2 play with one match remaining. They reached the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup this summer on the backs of Chicago Fire playmaker Marco Pappa and former MLS star Carlos Ruiz, but bowed out to eventual champion Mexico.

Antigua-Barbuda are the minnow of the group, having qualified via a monumental upset against Haiti. The tiny island nation boasts a population of just 89,000, but a goal from former English Second Division pro Kerry Skepple lifted them to the win in front of 5,000 fans in the nation’s capital of St. Johns. They are currently ranked No. 90 in the world.

Canada, meanwhile, sealed their passage into the next round with a scoreless draw against St. Kitts and Nevis on Friday. They’ll compete in Group C against 2010 World Cup qualifier Honduras, as well as Cuba and Panama.

Group B is headlined by Mexico, and boasts Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guyana.


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