The World Cup qualifying slate began in earnest on Tuesday and MLS players were at the heart of all the action:
Japan 1, Australia 1
It was heartbreak for New York Red Bulls Designated Player Tim Cahill and his Australian team at the Saitama Stadium in Asian World Cup qualifying. Holding a 1-0 lead, Australia conceded a late penalty kick converted by Japan's Keisuke Honda in the 91st minute. Tommy Oar scored to put the visitors ahead just nine minutes earlier.
While the draw helped Japan become the first nation to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the point takes Australia to third place in Group B of Asian qualifying on seven points from six matches.
The Socceroos have two home matches remaining – against Jordan (June 11) and Iraq (June 18) – as Cahill & Co. look to secure the second automatic qualifying spot from Group B.
Lebanon vs. Korea Republic
Staying in Asia, Sporting Kansas City's Soony Saad was hoping to represent Lebanon in a Group A qualifier against Korea Republic, but missed out due to what he called "paperwork issues."
The must-win for the Lebanese – in last place in Group A heading into the match with four points from six matches – is being played at Sports City stadium in Beirut.
Bummed to be off the roster for this game due to paperwork issues. Goodluck to the boys and I hope to be on the field in Iran!— Soony Saad (@SoonySaad) June 4, 2013
Lebanon will close out their qualifying campaign on June 11 in Iran. As with Group B, the top two finishers in the group qualify automatically to the World Cup, while the third-place team plays off against its counterpart from Group B for the right to face a CONMEBOL side for a ticket to the World Cup.
Jamaica vs. Mexico
All eyes in the CONCACAF region will be on the lone qualifier on Tuesday night between the host Reggae Boyz and El Tri at the National Stadium in Kingston (9:30 pm ET, Telemundo). The match was pushed up to allow for Mexico's participation in the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup, which kicks off on June 15.
After holding Mexico to a shock 0-0 draw in an earlier Hexagonal matchup at the Estadio Azteca, Jamaica will be looking for all three points with the help of Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who is expected to start. FC Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson is projected to play wide right with the Timbers' Ryan Johnson manning the forward line. Vancouver speedster Darren Mattocks will be available off the bench.
Jamaica will be hoping for history to repeat itself: The Reggae Boyz defeated Mexico in their last home qualifier against El Tri on Oct. 11, 2008.