The USA faces Honduras on Sunday for a berth in the 2021 Olympic men's soccer competition.
The Catrachos finished first in Group B of Concacaf Men's Olympic Qualifying when they tied Canada, 1-1, on Thursday night to win the group on goal difference (5-2 vs. 3-1). Honduras and Canada both finished with one win and two ties.
The only Honduras win came in the opener, a 3-0 decision over Haiti, which began the game with only 10 players and a field player in goal because they were the only players who cleared COVID-19 protocols. Honduras led, 2-0, midway through the first half when Haiti goalkeeper Alan Jerome's negative test was confirmed.
A tie in the group finale was enough to send both teams into the semifinals. Canada will meet host Mexico, the Group A winner, in the other semifinal.
Honduras will be aiming for its fourth straight trip to the Olympics. In 2012, the Catrachos reached the quarterfinals. In 2016, they lost to Nigeria, 3-2, in the bronze-medal game.
In 2015, the USA beat Canada, Cuba and Panama by a combined 13-2 to win its group, but it failed to advance to the Rio Olympics, falling to Honduras, 2-0, on a pair of goals by Alberth Elis.
Unlike the previous Olympic men's soccer qualifying tournament, there will no second chance for the USA. In 2015, it beat Canada, 2-0, for third place in the Concacaf tournament, then lost to Colombia in a playoff (1-1 tie in Barranquilla and 2-1 loss in Frisco, Texas).
The USA will enter Sunday's game with two wins (1-0 over Costa Rica and 4-0 over the Dominican Republic) and one loss (1-0 to Mexico).
This game will take a mental toughness to win. Get hit in the face, smile, a shot to the ribs, don't squeal, hacked in the leg, get up quickly and restart. How hungary will we be? Kreiss, do you have the steel?
And this is why CONCACAF is weak sauce. If I wanted to watch wrestling or MMA, there are existing channels for that. If we know CONCACAF is just going to allow a brawl, we shouid protest the match, line up in our best bus-parking line-up with the fastest kickball guys we have and give them the ball. Why bother with soccer if CONCACAF would rather we play rugby?