November 7, 2012
U.S. learns slate for the Hexagonal
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - The United States next round of World Cup qualifying will open with a road game against Honduras on February 6, 2013. The official draw for the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying was held by CONCACAF on Wednesday night and determined the ten game schedule against five opponents the U.S. will need to navigate in order to reach Brazil 2014 . .
The U.S. is joined by Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama as the final six teams set to compete in the 10-game round-robin format from Feb. 6-Oct. 15, 2013. The top three teams automatically advance to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, while the fourth-place finisher will contest a two-game playoff against the winner of the Oceania region.
"Usually, a team would like to have the first game at home, but if you don't have the first game at home you make the best out of it," said U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "We are looking forward to going to Honduras for the first game and then we're going to take it one game at a time. I think it's an exciting group and it will go all the way down to the last game to decide who is going to the World Cup. We are excited. Finally, we have our schedule and we can plan ahead like coaches want to plan, so it's all good."
Along with its opening match against Honduras, the U.S. will play three of its first four matches away from home, including at Mexico on March 26. In the last four World Cup Qualifying cycles, the U.S. earned at least a point from its opening match.
The U.S. has had success against Honduras in qualifying, recording a 4-1-1 overall record and an unbeaten 3-0-1 mark away from home. The team's last meeting led to a 3-2 win for the United States in San Pedro Sula and secured its place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The return match against Honduras is set for June 18, the second of back-to-back home matches for the U.S.
The USA's first opponent at home is Costa Rica on March 22, the first match of the double-fixture date set. The U.S. has a 5-1-2 qualifying record at home against the Ticos. The away leg against Costa Rica is scheduled for Sept. 6.
The showdown against rival Mexico on March 26 will be the first meeting between the two countries since the U.S. defeated El Tri for the first time in Mexico on Aug. 15. The U.S. will host the home leg on Sept. 10.
Holding an overall record of 4-4-2 at home against Mexico in World Cup qualifying, the results have been the opposite on the road as the U.S. is winless in 14 trips to Mexico (0-13-1). The last time the USA opened its series against Mexico on the road was during the 2006 qualifying cycle when the U.S. sustained a 2-1 loss at Estadio Azteca on March 27, 2005, before earning a 2-0 win on Sept. 3, 2005, in Columbus, Ohio.
This Final Round qualifying schedule marks the first time since 2006 the U.S. has two sets of back-to-back home matches. The first pairing is set for June 11 against Panama followed by another home match seven days later on June 18 against Honduras. The second set of back-to-back home matches is slated for Sept. 10 against Mexico and Oct. 11 against Jamaica.
After closing out the schedule at home during the last two qualifying cycles, the USA must travel to Panama on Oct. 15 in the final match of the hexagonal. The last time the U.S. finished on the road was in 2002 against Trinidad & Tobago.
The U.S. has qualified for six consecutive FIFA World Cup tournaments, amassing an overall record of 63-34-31 overall in World Cup Qualifying, including a record of 40-6-12 all-time in qualifiers played on American soil. Against Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and Panama, the U.S. has an all-time record of 58-49-31 in all competitions.
In order to advance to the Final Round, the U.S. faced Guatemala, Jamaica and Antigua & Barbuda in Group A of the Semifinal Round of qualifying. With Guatemala, Jamaica and the USA all tied on seven points entering the final two matches, the U.S. earned the group's top spot with a dramatic 2-1 win at Antigua & Barbuda as forward Eddie Johnson tallied both goals, including the 90th-minute game-winner, followed by a resounding 3-1 win against Guatemala at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
CONCACAF Final Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule
*All venues to be determined
Date Opponent Home/Away
Feb. 6 Honduras Away
March 22 Costa Rica Home
March 26 Mexico Away
June 7 Jamaica Away
June 11 Panama Home
June 18 Honduras Home
Sept. 6 Costa Rica Away
Sept. 10 Mexico Home
Oct. 11 Jamaica Home
Oct. 15 Panama Away