Home teams got a little more love this time around than in the first round of Hex matches. We saw Honduras get their first win of the campaign over Trinidad and Tobago, Panama hold out against Mexico for a scoreless draw, and the United States get completely over run thanks to a disastrous ten minute spell in Costa Rica.
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying: The Hex Matchday Two Review
Honduras 3-1 Trinidad and Tobago
Honduras was able to bounce back from their opening defeat to Panama with a sound and decisive win over Trinidad and Tobago. They were up a pair of goals before 20 minutes had been played. Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a curling shot from the corner of the penalty area. Emilio Izaguirre doubled the lead three minutes later by weaving through several flat footed T&T defenders.
Carlyle Mitchell would get The Soca Warriors back into the game in the 51st minute, but that’s all they would be able to muster. The match was put away with Eddie Hernandez’s 81st minute goal for Honduras.
This match was all Honduras all the time. Their shooting and possession numbers claim they dictated the entire match. Although Trinidad and Tobago weren’t exactly helpless. They made the most of their 28% possession by taking 15 total shots. None were all that threatening, though.
Panama 0-0 Mexico
Hats off to Panama for this result. Unlike some national team managers we are familiar with, Hernan Dario Gomez came into this match with a plan. He was going to sit back and defend the relentless Mexican attack and only push forward given a distinct opportunity. As a result, Los Canaleros may have been out possessed 72% to 28% and only managed one shot on target. However, their defensive discipline allowed them to force Mexico into only three shots on target of their own.
Panama knew they would be outclassed in this match from start to finish. So, they decided that hunkering down and playing for the draw was the better strategy. It worked to a charm and they now have a point agaisnt Mexico at home, something the USA cannot claim.
As for how Mexico feels about this result, this is a point on the road in the depths of Central America. Yes, El Tri rightfully feel they can win every game they play, but they will take away draws in World Cup Qualifying.
Costa Rica 4-0 United States
Where to start with this nightmare. The USA had no midfield presence for the entire match. Any time one of their central mids was on the ball it would end in one of two ways. It would either get passed back to the defenders or a useless ball was thrusted forward into waiting Costa Rican players feet. The defenders looked like they gave up on the match after the second goal went in. Since the midfield was awful, the forwards were never allowed to get into the game.
Jurgen Klinsmann is taking a ton of heat for his tactical setup, yet again. The calls for his head are growing louder and louder. American soccer Twitter was ablaze last night calling for Sunil Gulati to step up and take action to revive the national team despite his vote of confidence from before the Mexico game.
But what about Costa Rica? They certainly played one of their best games in a while. Again, unlike Klinsmann, Oscar Ramirez had a plan and his side executed it to perfection. They bottled the midfield with bodies and didn’t allow the USA to go anywhere, They then would surge a man up whichever flank had been abandoned by an over-adventurous full back, gave him the ball while one of their midfielders bolted forward for a cross, and created a threatening chance and a couple goals. Then they simply out worked a USA team that had given up on the match by the 70 minute mark for two more.
- Costa Rica- 6 pts.- +6 GD
- Mexico- 4 pts.- +1 GD
- Panama- 4 pts.- +1 GD
- Honduras- 3 pts.- +1 GD
- Trinidad and Tobago- 0 pts.- -4 GD
- United States- 0 pts.- -5 GD
That’s right, the USA is dead last in the Hex through two matches having been outscored 6-1. It was a pathetic weekend for the USMNT that has justifiably brought their manager’s job status into question. Their qualifying for the 2018 World Cup isn’t dead, but they do have work to do if they want to get there.
Last cycle they ended up winning the Hex with 22 points despite having a pair of losses. Generally, 15 points is enough to make it through to at least the fourth place spot for a playoff with Asia. With eight matches left and two of the most difficult ones out of the way, that isn’t too much to ask of this team with or without a regime change.