By Michael Lewis
Entering the third game of the October window of the Concacaf Octagonal Wednesday night, we crunched the numbers from the opening five weeks of World Cup qualifying and discovered some interesting numbers.
Now, the sample is small. So, it could change radically from window to window and game to game.
Well, yes and no.
In the 20 games played to date, home teams have accrued a 7-3-10 record. That’s only seven wins in 20 games, which was a bit surprising.
Out of a possible 60 points, the host team has recorded only 31.
Conversely, road sides have taken home only 19 points.
Remember, a point goes into the ether in a draw. So, 10 points were never used.
The three home losses or the three away victories (depending on your vantage point:
* Jamaica 0, Panama 3 Sept. 5
* Costa Rica 0, Mexico 1 Sept. 5
* Honduras 1, USA 4 Sept. 8
The importance of scoring first
Teams have found the net first have secured an 8-2-5 mark. There have been five scoreless draws.
That comes out to a 70 percent winning percentage. It is well below the World Cup average of around 85 percent.
Only 34 goals have been scored in those 20 matches, an average of 1.70 per game.
The average score has been 1.35 to .35.
That might not sound too exciting or appetizing to many fans, but given the closeness of the games, it certainly has made for more drama and finger-nailing biting by supporters.
That’s how close the contests have been.
Only five games have been decided by two or more goals.
* Panama’s 3-0 win at Jamaica Sept. 5
* Canada’s 3-0 home triumph vs. El Salvador Sept. 8
* The USA’s 4-1 road win at Honduras Sept. 8
* The USA’s 2-0 home victory against Jamaica Oct. 7
* Mexico’s 3-0 home triumph vs. Honduras Oct. 10