Both in second place of their respective groups, the men’s national teams of Costa Rica and the United States will face two vital and decisive matches for their aspirations in the 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League.
Meanwhile, Mexico and Honduras are set to qualify for the semifinals as they march as leaders of their respective three-team groups with six points.
No margin of error for the United States
In Group A, where Cuba was sentenced to the descent from the beginning, Canada and the United States will dispute the pass to the semifinals. Those in the Great White North march first with nine points compared to three for their North American neighbors.
In their previous meeting, Canada took advantage of its status as a local and imposed itself, 2-0, on the United States. The rematch is Friday at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.
Four days later, the Stars and Stripes team will go to the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, in the Cayman Islands, where they will face Cuba.
The United States must win both games to advance but will have to manage without two key pieces: midfielder Michael Bradley of Toronto and striker Christian Pulisic of Chelsea, both suffering from injuries.
“Overcoming this elimination phase is a priority for us, and that begins with a victory against Canada,” said Gregg Berhalter, coach of the United States.
Costa Rica on verge of elimination
In Group D, Costa Rica, second with two points, has to strike a blow of authority against Curaçao, the leader with five points, and Haiti, third with two points and worse goal difference.
In its first two outings, La Sele couldn’t earn victories against either Caribbean side.
Thursday, the Ticos will visit Curaçao at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad. If they win that game, the Central Americans will have the opportunity to qualify against the Haitians three days later at Ricardo Saprissa Stadium in Tibás.
Coach Ronald González won’t be able to count Keylor Navas, from Paris Saint-Germain, due to injury. His replacement, Leonel Moreira, couldn’t leave Bolivia as the airports of that country are closed due to the ongoing political crisis.
Mexico, Honduras with one foot in the semifinals
Mexico in Group B and Honduras in Group C march as leaders with six points and will finish their respective groups first on the road and then as locals.
The Mexican squad, led by Argentina’s Gerardo Martino, will visit Rommel Fernández Stadium on Friday to meet the Panama team trained by Américo Gallego. It will then host Bermuda at Nemesio Diez Stadium.
Honduras, commanded by Uruguayan coach Fabián Coito, is scheduled to visit Pierre Aliker Stadium where it will face Martinique and then close the group at the Metropolitan Olympic Stadium against Trinidad and Tobago.