The United States will head into their final two CONCACAF matches against Jamaica and Panama knowing that they already have a spot at next year's World Cup. But although the USMNT already booked their place, they are also in a tight race for first place in the group, and they could also spoil the party for Jamaica and Panama.
A victory over Jamaica would eliminate The Reggae Boyz, but if they were to allow the visitors to steal three points, that would give Winfried Schafer's squad some hope heading into their last match.
As for their match against Panama, Los Canaleros are tied in the fourth spot with Mexico, so that final match in Panama City will be full of energy and meaning for the hosts.
For sometime now, Clint Dempsey has established himself as a household name when it comes to American football, or soccer if you prefer. Since his days at the New England Revolution, where he scored 26 goals over 84 appearances in a span of three seasons, Dempsey has evolved, and that has really helped the USMNT move forward.
His move to the English Premier League brought a lot of doubt from neutral fans of whether he was good enough for the top level.
Fortunately for the Texas native, he did just fine at Craven Cottage. Over six campaigns with Fulham, Dempsey took part in 225 matches and scored 60 goals. He was slowly becoming an icon for American Football, and he was also turning into a vital piece to the puzzle at Fulham.
Just when all signs pointed to the United States leaving Kingston with only a point, Brad Evans came to the rescue late in the match. When Michael Bradley prepared to take on a Jamaican defender off a short corner kick, it did not look promising, but somehow, the ball fell to Evans who guided the ball into the net, putting the USMNT even on seven points at the top of the group.
Although that victory brought some confidence to the team, the American's also left Kingston with two injuries.
Midfielder Graham Zusi picked up a yellow card, forcing him out of the match due to suspension. His absence may give Joe Corona an opportunity to feature in the starting XI, but another option could be Eddie Johnson, who Klinsmann has used out wide on occasion.
The United States will play their first World Cup Qualification match on home soil on Friday night when they welcome Costa Rica to Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Colorado. Their next match will be against Mexico, so failure to grab the full three points against Costa Rica could spell trouble for Jurgen Klinsmann's squad.
Since taking over as manager, Klinsmann has been criticized by many due to the lack of consistency and positive results. If his side is to turn things around on Friday night, they are going to have to do it without Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson, Edgar Castillo, Danny Williams and Jose Torres.
The Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula will be electric on Wednesday as Honduras will play host to the United States in the first match of their Hexagonal. Top three teams in the group will get an automatic spot at the World Cup in 2014, held in Brazil, while the fourth placed team will have to play a two-leg elimination with the winner of the Oceania Confederation.
With Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama rounding out the group, the Americans will be expected to qualify. United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann will also be expecting his side to make it out of this six team bracket.
Andy Carroll is destined to make his debut for West Ham in the lunch-time kick-off against Fulham. The English striker will be eager to rekindle his career during his season-long loan at Upton Park.
The spotlight will also be on Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian signed for the Cottagers on the final day of the 2012 summer transfer window for a fee of £4M. A good display on Saturday would instantly reassure Fulham who let Clint Dempsey join Spurs on Friday.
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USA-Ghana: 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifications from Group C and Group D
How USA qualified from Group C
The United States shockingly topped Group C after outclassing favorites England. Bob Bradley’s boys held the Three Lions to a 1-1 draw on Day 1; in a game which has already transformed into one of the World Cup’s most remembered battles due to goalkeeper Green’s memorable gaff. This defensive and regrettable error from the English gifted USA with a point in their opening match, giving them confidence for the rest of their run in their group.
USA then met Slovenia, and on this occasion, the referee and his decisions turned against the Americans, as they were denied what should have been a fair goal within the time of action. Despite the disappointing controversy, USA still fought to secure a point subsequent to a 2-2 draw; but this meant that they had to win at any rate against the Algerians, as they were dangerously close to a consecutive Round 1 exit.