While US national team fans would love nothing more than to get revenge and three points in Sunday night's clash with Mexico at the Estadio Azteca, the Yanks absolutely must take care of business at home against Trinidad & Tobago first on Thursday.
With Mexico and Costa Rica also at home that night, a win over the Soca Warriors at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Thursday (8 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN) would return the US back to temporary holders of the region's three automatic World Cup spots -- at the midpoint of the Hexagonal.
A shock defeat and the Red, White & Blue would fall back to -- at best -- fifth place in the six-team standings. That means a second loss at the Azteca on Sunday (8:30 pm ET | FS1, Univision, UDN) might put a Top-3 finish out of reach. And in case you forgot, the US has only earned two points at the Azteca since the 1998 qualifying cycle.
Since the team that finishes in fourth still has a chance to go to Russia, pending a playoff victory against the fifth-place team from The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), it's hard to say any match during the first half of the Hex rates as a true "must-win." But Thursday's encounter is as close as it gets.
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying
Fifth & Final (Hexagonal) Round Standings
|as of 12:00 AM ET, Mar. 29||PTS||W||L||D||GF||GA||GD|
|Trinidad & Tobago||3||1||2||0||2||6||-4|