October 16, 2012
By Michael Lewis
The dangers that lie ahead next year
KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- Because of CONCACAF's 10-game hexagonal, the final round of World Cup qualifying in the region encompasses all four seasons.
|"To start with you have to take care of your games at home," said U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley about the upcoming Hexagonal round of World Cup Qualifying. "That's always the first thing.”
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The final round kicks off on Feb. 6, with other dates scheduled for two games from March 22-26, two matches from June 7-11, two encounters
from June 14-18, two more games from Sept. 6-10 and two confrontations from Oct. 11-15. CONCACAF is expected to get rid of one of the four June matches to make it an even 10 games.
The United States, Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras have advanced to the final six.
The top three teams will automatically qualify for Brazil 2014, while the fourth-place side will take on the Oceania champion in a home-and-away series to determine another berth.
According to U.S. central midfielder Michael Bradley, the team must accrue as many points at home as possible. The Americans have not lost at home since a 3-2 defeat to Honduras in RFK Stadium on Sept. 1, 2001.
"To start with you have to take care of your games at home," he said. "That's always the first thing. You've got to play good games at home and come away with three points. You go to different places on the road and you have to know how, even on tough days and in difficult conditions, come away with points.
"Whether it's on the turf in Saprissa [Costa Rica], or the altitude, heat and smog in Azteca [Mexico], or the difficult field in Jamaica. There's so little room for error and from the start we'll have to be committed to doing whatever we have to do to get the job done. That changes every game depending on the opponent or where the game is played but we have to be committed to getting points and doing whatever it takes."