WCQ: MLS connections to key Concacaf series

World Cup 2018 qualifying in the Concacaf zone resumes with six home-and-home series in the second of three double dates spread over 10 months. Besides the USA-Guatemala series, Canada can solidify its chances of reaching the Hexagonal for the first time since 1997 if gets a result in one of its two games against Mexico. The other series to watch: Costa Rica-Jamaica.

A capacity crowd of more than 50,000 at Vancouver's B.C. Place is expected for Friday's Canada-Mexico game. Canada has opened with a 1-0 win over Honduras at home and 0-0 tie at El Salvador. Just four MLS players -- Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas), Will Johnson (Toronto FC), Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC) and Karl Ouimette (New York Red Bulls) -- are in the Canada squad that includes players based in 12 different countries.

The Costa Rica-Jamaica series will be an MLS reunion with 13 MLS players between the two teams -- eight for the Reggae Boyz and five for the Ticos, including first-year players Cristian Bolanos (Vancouver Whitecaps) and Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC).

Group B is the most balanced of the three groups with Jamaica, the 2015 Gold Cup runner-up, Panama, third, and Costa Rica and Haiti, quarterfinalists, all at the same tournament. Jamaica dug a hole for itself when it opened play in November with a 2-0 loss to Panama in Kingston.

GROUP A
Results:
Nov. 13

Canada 1 Honduras 0.
Goal: Johnson 38.
Mexico 3 El Salvador 0.
Goals: Guardado 7, H.Herrera 42, Vela 64.
Nov. 17

Honduras 0 Mexico 2. Goals: Corona 67, Damm 72.
El Salvador 0 Canada 0.
Standings: Mexico 6 points; Canada 4; El Salvador 1, Honduras 0.
Schedule:
March 25
El Salvador vs. Honduras
Canada vs. Mexico
March 29
Honduras vs. El Salvador
Mexico vs. Canada
Sept. 2
El Salvador vs. Mexico
Honduras vs. Canada
Sept. 6
Mexico vs. Honduras
Canada vs. El Salvador

GROUP B
Results:
Nov. 13
Costa Rica 1 Haiti 0.
Goal: Gamboa 29.
Jamaica 0 Panama 2.
Goals: Cooper 43, own goal 52.
Nov. 17

Haiti 0 Jamaica 1. Goal: Donaldson 62.
Panama 1 Costa Rica 2. Goals: Tejada 72; Ruiz 66, Urena 69.
Standings: Costa Rica 6 points; Panama, Jamaica 3; Haiti 0.
Schedule:
March 25
Jamaica vs. Costa Rica
Haiti vs. Panama
March 29
Panama vs. Haiti
Costa Rica vs. Jamaica
Sept. 2
Haiti vs. Costa Rica
Panama vs. Jamaica
Sept. 6
Costa Rica vs. Panama
Jamaica vs. Haiti

GROUP C
Results:
Nov. 13

USA 6 St. Vincent & Gren. 1.
Goals: Goals: Wood 11, Johnson 29, Altidore 31, 74, Cameron 51, Zardes 58; Anderson 5.
Guatemala 1 Trin. & Tobago 2.
Goals: Mejia 90; Hyland 67, K.Jones 8.
Nov. 17

Trin. & Tobago 0 USA 0.
St. Vincent & Gren. 0 Guatemala 4. Goals: Cincotta 23, M.Lopez 32, D.Lopez 48, Tinoco 81.
Standings: USA, Trin, & Tobago 4 points; Guatemala 3; St. Vincent & Gren. 0.
Schedule:
March 25
St. Vincent & Gren. vs. Trin. & Tobago
Guatemala vs. USA
March 29
Trin. & Tobago vs. St. Vincent & Gren.
USA vs. Guatemala
Sept. 2
St. Vincent & Gren. vs. USA
Trin. & Tobago vs. Guatemala
Sept. 6
USA vs. Trin. & Tobago
Guatemala vs. St. Vincent & Gren.
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