(author's note: With an abbreviated MLS schedule and no national TV games, the weekly MLS open thread took this weekend off. So let's borrow that weekly format for today's USMNT game and highlight the other Sounders in action.)
Three Big Storylines:
- Friday saw the USMNT pull ahead of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with a comfortable 3-0 halftime lead. The second half looked to be a grind it out uneventful half to just leave the Caribbean with a comfortable 3-0 win and no injuries. Then Jurgen Klinsmann made his substitutions. Sacha Kljestan (66'), Christian Pulisic (67') and Jordan Morris (72') came on for Alejandro Bedoya, Fabian Johnson and Jozy Altidore respectively. Kljestan quickly took advantage of his first USMNT call up in years with a goal and two assists. But it was all about the Christian Pulisic show. The 17 year old became the youngest American male to score both one and two goals in World Cup Qualifiers and easily looked like the best player on the field during his appearance. Klinsmann insists that he is going to bring Pulisic along slowly so a start today is unlikely, but get ready for that inevitable second half substitution.
- The USMNT is not guaranteed to advance to the final round of Concacaf qualifying (The Hex) yet. But they are all but assured of advancing after this final game. To be eliminated the USMNT would have to lose to Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras would have to beat SVG. The combined scores from those two results would need to be 13 goals or more to overturn the USMNT's goal differential advantage. A win sees the USMNT win the semifinal round qualifying group (for the sixth consecutive cycle out of six times using this format) and result in the USMNT opening the final round of World Cup qualifying with a home game November 11th against Mexico and away to Costa Rica on November 15th.
- Today is the final round for all of Concacaf. Four of the six places are already set and the USMNT has virtually secured the fifth but our neighbors to the north are looking to join the party. Canada hosts El Salvador in BC Place in a must win game. For Canada to make The Hex they need to beat El Salvador and Mexico needs to beat Honduras. Combined they need to overturn a 5 goal difference. Goals scored is the third tie-breaker and Canada have 2 goals coming into the game while Honduras has 6. In case of a 4-0 Canada win and a 1-0 Honduras loss, a not entirely unlikely group of results, both teams would be tied down to the 7th tiebreaker. Canada would advance on "away goals scored in matches between tied teams". The game is not on TV, but Mexico v Honduras is on FS1 following the USMNT game. Expect constant updates on the group standing during that broadcast.
- Bonus #4 Storyline: It is going to be 78 degrees with 71% humidity at kickoff in Jacksonville. With recent weather concerns in Jacksonville the ticket sales have lagged despite an affordable $32 get in price (lower bowl were still available today for $42 direct from US Soccer). As of Monday there were 17,000 tickets sold with a walk up expected to be around 20,000. EverBank Field has a capacity of 64,428.
More Sounders in action today:
There are other Sounders in action today, let's summarize.
Nico Lodeiro plays in Uruguay versus Paraguay (4 PM. No TV, streaming on beIN Connect). Uruguay are in good qualifying shape even after losing to Argentina on Thursday in a game where Lodeiro started and went 60 minutes. Uruguay has 13 points from 7 played while Paraguay has 12 points from 7 played. Uruguay needs to hold serve at home and get three points.
Roman Torres started and went 90 minutes for Panama in their 2-0 home win over Jamaica that saw Panama clinch their spot in The Hex. Panama travels to Costa Rica in a match where both teams have already advanced (6:30 PM, No TV).
Joevin Jones should start for Trinidad and Tobago against the USMNT. Jones scored a brace on Friday in T&T's 2-2 home draw with Honduras that saw the Soca Warriors advance to final round.
Oalex Anderson and Myron Samuel will finish their World Cup cycle for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Guatemala. The game will be kicked off at the same time as the USMNT game (NO TV). Both Sounders have one of the three goals scored by SVG in the qualifying process over their 5 games this round. SVG are still looking for their first point of round being outscored 25-3 so far.
How to Watch:
USMNT v Trinidad and Tobago
Tuesday, 5 PM (kickoff at 5:15)
Location: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
TV: FS1 & UniMas
Streaming: Fox Sports Go & Univision Deportes