The United States men’s soccer team tied Panama 1-1 in World Cup qualifying play Tuesday night and defeated Honduras 6-0 last Friday in San Jose to get back into contention to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Americans currently sit in fourth place in the all-important Hexagonal, which is the fifth and final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. The US men’s national team has qualified for seven straight World Cups.
After a slow start to the Hexagonal where they lost their first two games for the first time in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, they bounced back with a big win over Honduras.
The top three teams in the Hexagonal standings automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup once round robin play ends in October of 2017. The fourth seeded team plays in a playoff game against Asia’s fifth place finisher.
Panama, who the US just tied on Tuesday, sits in third with five points just above the red, white and blue who sit now at four points. Costa Rica sits in second place with seven points and Mexico is in first with 10 points.
The US has six games remaining in the Hexagonal with its next game coming on June 9 against Trinidad and Tobago and then against Mexico on June 11.
Portland Timbers star Darlington Nagbe has been playing on and off with the national team since 2015 and has brought his electric style of play and attack to the last two games. In the game against Panama, he was fouled four times, which is similar to his Timbers days where he has been one of the most fouled players in the MLS. His speed and quickness requires other teams to foul him before he beats them to score or set up a teammate. This skill looks to be translating over into the national level as well.
Clint Dempsey who plays for the Seattle Sounders had a hat trick in the win over Honduras where he scored his 55th international goal moving within two of the American record. Dempsey has been an anchor for the team over the past decade playing the previous three World Cups.
Bruce Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach of the national team back in November of 2016 after the opening losses to begin Hexagonal play. Arena coached the team from 1998-2006.
After a tie on the road in Panama, team USA now looks ahead to June where they can pick up more ground on finishing at the top of the Hexagonal standings. Two northwest players are doing their share to help USA find its way back into the World Cup for the eighth straight time. After an important week in CONCACAF qualifying, America finds itself with some momentum moving forward after a rough start to the final round.