Preview: USMNT and Canada face off for top Concacaf spot

Antonee Robinson USMNT Canada Concacaf
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Buckle up on Sunday, folks. No, we’re not talking about the AFC and NFC Championships in the NFL. Right now, the focus is on World Cup qualifying and to see who will take the top spot on the Concacaf rankings.

Don’t let the title of this article fool you; after last night’s come-from-behind victory, Mexico is still very much in the race for the top spot too. But, while El Tri takes on Costa Rica — who won in their upset victory in San Jose against Panama — the eyes of Concacaf will set on Hamilton, Ontario. The U.S. men’s national team and Canada will face off. It’s a phrase that not many people have heard before: “Canada vs. U.S. for the top spot.”

For many years, Concacaf has been run by Mexico, with the U.S. or a country like Costa Rica or Panama trailing close behind. This cycle is much different, with Canada dominating their matches. Last night, Canada showed they were no fluke against Honduras, scoring one off an own goal, but also a wonder-goal from Jonathan David.

Meanwhile, the United States won in an ugly fashion against a tough, gritty El Salvador team with nothing to lose. Hugo Perez, El Salvador coach, praised his team for holding the United States to a 1-0 victory. “We came here a year and a half ago and lost 6-1, so I am proud of the team,” Perez remarked post-game.

The Canadians won in a much more favorable fashion than the United States who, said multiple times by Antonee “Jedi” Robinson, that they need to “tidy up” before heading to Hamilton.

How does Mexico then play in to all of this? Let’s look at the numbers.

Mexico vs. USA vs. Canada

Right now, this how the detailed breakdown of the Concacaf standings looks.

Here are a couple different scenarios for how each team could take the top spot, or get an even 20-point tie.

  1. Canada wins, USMNT loses, Mexico loses: If this were the case, the table would shake up quite a bit. If the Canadians won, they would get a much better cushion than just one point against the United States and Mexico. Hypothetically speaking, if El Tri were to lose to the Ticos of Costa Rica, then Canada would have a four-point lead against the the U.S. and a five-point lead against Mexico. Mexico, should they lose to Costa Rica, would have their breath right down the Mexican necks, as Costa Rica would jump to 15 points.
  2. Canada wins, USMNT loses, Mexico wins: A bit of a flip-flop would occur, and Canada would not have nearly the large cushion against Mexico. If Canada would win, that would bring them up to 22 points, and the U.S. would stay with 18 points. The U.S. would move down to third place if Mexico were to beat Costa Rica, as Mexico would have 20 points compared to the U.S. 18.
  3. Canada loses, USMNT wins, Mexico loses: Would this be a dream for the United States or what? Diving right back into numbers, the United States would have 21 points, Canada would have 19 and Mexico would stay with 17 points. It’s a tough call to make with how pretty Canada has been playing — even, mind you, without Alphonso Davies. However, it is a plausible situation. One that is even more like though….
  4. Canada loses, USMNT wins, Mexico wins: As much as this Costa Rican fan would love to see the Ticos go into the Azteca and defeat Mexico, my confidence isn’t high. However, if the U.S. would win, and Mexico would win, the Americans would be on top of the table. But, Mexico would be hot on their heels with 20 points.

Is there a way for all teams to have 20 points? Of course! If the United States and Canada were to tie, then Mexico beat Costa Rica, all three teams would have 20 points. Then, the standings would come down to goal differential — even if Panama wins against Jamaica, they would only have 17 points.

How to watch USMNT vs. Canada

There you have it. There’s a lot of numbers and moving parts. To speak, whoever wins the U.S. and Canada game will be on top of the table, and have a bit of breathing room. Canada would have a lot of breathing room, though.

When: Sunday, January 30 at 3:05 PM ET.

Where: Hamilton, Ontario, at Tim Horton’s Field.

How to Watch: Paramount+, Telemundo and Universo.

 

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