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USA's path to next round clears
by Paul Kennedy, September 12th, 2012 12:15AM

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TAGS:  men's national team

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[USA-JAMAICA] The USA improved its position in Group A of its World Cup 2014 qualifying group with a 1-0 win over Jamaica.

The USA and Guatemala are tied in points (7) and goal differential (6-4, plus-2) with identical 2-1-1 records to share the group lead, while Jamaica (2-1-1) is tied in points but behind in goal differential (4-3, plus-1).

The final two Group A games are against Antigua & Barbuda Oct. 12 at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound and Guatemala four days later at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The USA will assure itself of a berth in next year's Hexagonal with wins in both games or a win in Antigua & Barbuda and a tie with Guatemala. Scenarios also exist for qualifying in circumstances that include everything to losses in the USA's final two matches.

Sept. 11 in Columbus, Ohio
USA 1 Jamaica 0. Goal: Gomez 55.
USA --
Howard; Cherundolo, Cameron, Bocanegra, F.Johnson; Williams; Zusi (Edu, 72), Jones, Torres (Shea, 67); Dempsey, Gomez (Altidore, 80).
Jamaica -- Miller; Mariappa, Nosworthy, Palmer; Watson (Stewart, 75), Austin, Morrison, Taylor; Shelton (Bryan, 66); Cummings (Richards, 76), R.Johnson.
Referee: Jose Pineda (Honduras).
Att.: 23,881.



11 comments
  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 3:49 p.m.
    Not a very rigorous analysis. Next the US plays A&B. They should get 3 points there. However, they may face another 10 man wall like they did in Columbus and may have to settle for a draw. The possibilities are rather complex. I'm going to post each one separately to make it easier to follow (at least for me since nobody is going to read it!)

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 3:55 p.m.
    First scenario: US wins against A&B. Gives US 10 pts with at least +3 GD. The outcomes of the Jam-Gua game actually matter a lot. The absolute best result for the US would be for Jam to beat Gua. This would give Jam 10 pts with at least +2 GD. Gua, most importantly would be 7 points and 0 GD at best. This would set up a scenario where Gua would have to beat the US at KC by 3 goals to have 10 pts and a tied GD with more goals-for as the tiebreaker. That ain't gonna happen. So US and Jam wins next game pretty much clinches qualification. See below for Gua beating Jam scenario.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 4:08 p.m.
    Now with US winning against A&B and a Gua win against Jam, things are interesting. This would give US the same 10 pts with at least +3. Gua would have 10 pts with at least +2. Jam would have 7 with 0 GD at best. However, Jam plays A&B. They have the easier 3 points. If Jam doesn't beat A&B, they're out. Assuming they win, they'll end up with 10 pts. A US-Gua 0-0 draw, qualifies both of them (not sure if we'd play that way though) with 11 pts. If a result occurs, however, either Gua or US will be left with 10 pts and a GD of +2 or +1 (US and Gua, respectively). The winner of US-Gua is in with 13 pts. If the loser is the US (by -1 GD), they need to have beaten A&B by at least the same margin as Jam does. If Jam beats A&B by 2 more goals than US, Jam makes it on GD. Of course if Gua beats either team by more than 1 it makes the task that much harder for that team. Now on to the Jam-Gua draw.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 4:20 p.m.
    US win vs A&B = 10 pts with at least +3 GD. Jam-Gua draw, gives them 8 pts with +1 GD. Now if Jamaica only draws vs A&B, giving them 9 pts with +1, they would be more at risk. The US would automatically qualify with 10 pts. Gua would need a draw with more goals scored than Jam. Since Gua already has this advantage and their game with Jam in this scenario was a draw, they go into the US game needing only to draw by the same score as the Jam-A&B game to make it. If, however, Jam beats A&B and ends up with 11 pts with +2 at least, then Gua would need to beat the US. In other words, the US would only need a draw to qualify with 11 pts, leaving Gua with 9 pts. What about if US only draws with A&B?

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 4:28 p.m.
    A disappointing draw against A&B, leaves the US with 8 pts and +2 GD. The Jam-Gua result again becomes pivotal. Most simply, a draw between Jam-Gua gives everyone 8 points with the US still on top by virtue of the +2 GD. Then a draw against Gua will suffice to put the US in with 9 pts +2 versus Gua's 9 pts +1 GD. Also possible would be the US losing to Gua by an equal or better margin than Jam losing to A&B (unlikely but possible). Next the Jam-Gua win (with US-A&B draw)...

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 4:38 p.m.
    With the US at 8 pts, +2 and Jam beating Gua, giving Jam 10 pts +2 at least and Gua at 7 pts, 0 GD at best. Again US just needs a draw to qualify with 9 pts +2. Now the Gua win vs Jam...

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 4:48 p.m.
    With a US-A&B draw and Gua win against Jam, the US would be at 8 pts with +2 GD. Gua would have 10 pts and +2 at least, and Jam 7 with 0 GD at best. Jam would be forced to win to qualify. So a Jam draw or loss qualifies the US. If Jam beats A&B, that would give them 10 pts and +1 at least. The US would need a win against Gua to qualify with 11 pts. It would then be down to GD between Gua and Jam for 2nd. Now the final scenario an historically bad loss to A&B....

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 5:22 p.m.
    With a shocking loss to A&B the US would be left with 7 pts and +1 GD, at best. A Jam-Gua draw gives them each 8 pts with +1. Any Jam points against A&B makes the US win to qualify. If Jam loses to A&B, the US could qualify with a draw against Gua, provided it has scored more goals than Jam. If Jam beats Gua, then the US could qualify with a draw against Gua. If Gua beats Jam (who then likely beats A&B). The US would need to beat Gua to qualify.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 5:24 p.m.
    Obviously, this is way more article than can be printed and actually get somebody to read it. However, there isn't that much clarity given that all likely results are unlikely to all happen.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: September 12, 2012 at 9:01 p.m.
    Thanks Scott, you obviously have a true passion for the beautiful game as I do. I appreciate the work you have done, but to be honest without referring back to where the games will be played other than the US games, it's hard to whittle down the above to the most likely three or four. Most will agree with this though, last night's result was critical to get us back to the point where we can say, "We control our own destiny" and that is all any confident side ever wants! Can't wait to make my plans for Jamaica again next year, so I'm hoping the Reggae Boyz don't let me down. Go USA!

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: September 13, 2012 at 5:02 a.m.
    Thanks Chris. I suspect that the Jam-Gua game is in Guatemala and the Jam-A&B game is in Kingston. That way no team is finishing with 2 home games. Basically, you're right. There's no scenario where the US fails to qualify with 4 points from the next 2 games. So win in Antigua and draw at home with Guatemala, and we're off to the hexagonal, which really shouldn't be this much in question, frankly.


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