The USMNT celebrates Weston McKennie’s goal. (© Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK)
By Michael Lewis
CINCINNATI – It’s incredible how a victory and three points will change the direction and possibilities.
A couple of days ago, I wrote about the six paths the U.S. men’s national team could take during its two-match November World Cup qualifying window.
Without going deeply into the details, the possibilities:
* Six points (excellent)
* Four points (good)
* Three points (fair)
* Two points (unacceptable)
* One point (almost bottom)
* No points (total failure)
BTW, here is a link the original story if you need more details:
After the latest dos a cero result against Mexico at TQL Stadium on Friday night, the USA finds itself in the driver’s seat in the Concacaf Octagonal.
The last three possibilities have been wiped out after the three points accrued against the archrival El Tri and the sky is the limit for an excellent adventure by the USMNT.
Six points in this window is possible, but not a given.
The Americans have a history of struggling at The Office in Kingston, Jamaica, home of the Jamaican national team. Since 1988, they are 1-1-4 and have scored but four times while playing three scoreless draws.
So, don’t think the sixth-place Reggae Boyz (1-1-3, 6) will lie down and roll over for anyone, especially for the USMNT.
On a Saturday morning, I realize many USMNT supporters are giddy after the domination of the Mexicans.
Hopefully, it is not time to get greedy. Don’t assume six points or even four are in the team’s collective back pockets.
While not the end of the world, a draw in Jamaica would be disappointing and make this window okay with three points.
In the long run, finishing first in Concacaf qualifying is not the ultimate goal, although there certainly is nothing wrong with that. Booking a spot in Qatar is.
BTW, if Mexico thought it had a cold time at TQL playing in the rain and in 43-degree weather at TQL, it’s next match doesn’t sound too appetizing – against Canada much more to the north in Edmonton.
More importantly, a win or even a draw should create some more distance from the rest of the pack. Remember, there are a pair of difficult qualifiers looming for the USA at the end of next March in Mexico and Costa Rica. It would be nice if the team had qualified or was close to reaching another World Cup by then.