Hexagonal: The USA's clinching scenarios

Considering the USA opened with two losses, its worst start ever to the Hexagonal, it would be remarkable that it qualified for the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday. That's possible though dependent on an unlikely set of results. More likely, a straightforward set of results will send the USA to Russia in October .

How the USA qualifies on Tuesday:
-- USA beats Costa Rica;
-- Mexico beats Panama;
-- Trinidad & Tobago ties Honduras.
-- USA beats Honduras;
-- Trinidad & Tobago beats Panama.

This scenario is unlikely because it depends on, among the things, away wins in both Tuesday games.

The better way to look at it is all the USA needs to do qualify is win its two remaining home games and outdistance these three teams with these other results:

--  Panama loses to Mexico (or any of its other two non-USA games).
-- Honduras drops four or more points in its last four games.
(If Honduras drops only three points, it would still likely not overtake the USA because of its inferior goal difference.)
Trinidad & Tobago;
-- Trinidad & Tobago doesn't sweep its last four games.

Of course, there are many other scenarios that will send the USA to Russia.

For the faint at heart, what the USA will have to avoid is ...

1. Having to go to Trinidad & Tobago on the final day of the Hexagonal and need a result.

(A more likely scenario would send the USA to T&T having all but mathematically clinched: i.e. needing only to avoid two blowout results that would wipe out its advantage on goal difference.)

2. Having to play into November, facing a two-game playoff series against the Asian playoff winner.

(As it stands with one game to go in Asian group qualifying on Tuesday, one of the playoff participants will be Syria. Now that would be a drama: USA vs. Syria for a trip to Russia.)

Hexagonal Schedule:
September 1

USA vs. Costa Rica, 7 pm ET, ESPN, UniMas
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Honduras, 7:45 pm ET, beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Espanol
Mexico vs. Panama, 9 pm ET, FS2, UniMas
September 5

Honduras vs. USA, 5:30 pm ET, beIN Sports, Universo
Panama vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 9:30 pm ET, Universo
Costa Rica vs. Mexico, 10 pm ET, beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Espanol, Universo

Hexagonal Standings:
14 Mexico 4-2-0 9/2
11 Costa Rica 3-2-1 9/4
8 USA 2-2-2 11/8
7 Panama 1-4-1 4/4
5 Honduras 1-2-3 6/14
3 Trin. & Tobago 1-0-5 3/10

Hexagonal Schedule:
October 6
USA vs. Panama
Costa Rica vs. Honduras
Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago
*October 10

Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA
Panama vs. Costa Rica
Honduras vs. Mexico
*Simultaneous kickoff.
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