Heading into the final round of group stage games I thought it would be a good idea to survey where the teams stand. While group A seems to be a foregone conclusion, groups B and C are much less settled. Teams can still jump from third to first and change the landscape of the knockout rounds. So let’s take a look at where things stand heading into tonight’s action.
Mexico is the class of the group. With back to back 5-0 results the Mexicans are steamrolling towards the knockout stage despite a little distraction. While they’ve sputtered at times El Tri has looked every bit like the tournament favorite many thought they’d be.
They’ll get their toughest test by far tonight against Costa Rica. The Ticos are a bit of a helter skelter team right now with a dominating performance against Cuba that was followed up by an iffy performance that a stoppage time goal saved. They’ll have to kick it up a notch to contend with a dangerous Mexican team tonight if they want to qualify first in their group.
Standings: Mexico (6 pts, +10 GD), Costa Rica (4 pts, +5 GD), El Salvador (1 pt, -5), Cuba (0 pts, -10 GD)
On the line: First place between Mexico and Costa Rica and can El Salvador get the win over Cuba and put themselves in a spot to get a 3rd place spot in the quarters?
In another group where the favorites will play each other last Jamaica and their Monday opponent Honduras head into the final game of the group stage both looking to finish first. Jamaica has exploited their speed advantage in the first two games and look very dangerous going forward. They’ll be tested on defense for the first time by a dangerous but sometimes sputtering Honduras squad that put together a seven goal display against Grenada last time out. Grenada is out of the tournament but Guatemala is holding out hope for a third place spot with one point heading into the final match with the overmatched Spice Boys.
Standings: Jamaica (6 pts, +6 GD), Honduras (4 pts, +6 GD), Guatemala (1 pt, -2 GD), Grenada (0 pts, -10 GD)
On the line: First place between Jamaica and Honduras and a third place spot for Guatemala.
With Panama’s upset over the USA last night they are in the pole position for the group. Like the other group leaders the Panamaians have a tough test ahead of them with Canada who still has an outside chance of placing first. The USA is currently in second and has overmatched Guadeloupe ahead. Being down on goal differential the U.S. will have to pour it on and hope Canada beats Panama if they want to win the group. With that said, the final night of the group stage should have some fireworks as group C is the closest group of them all.
Standings: Panama (6 pts, +2 GD), USA (3 pts, +1 GD), Canada (3 pts, -1 GD), Guadeloupe (0 pts, -2 GD)
On the line: Everything. Any of the top three teams can win the group and with a shocking win Guadeloupe could put themselves through as the second place team. Tuesday night will be a fun night to watch – or terrible if you’re a USa or Canada fan.
If the groups ended today the quarterfinals would shake out like this:
– Costa Rica (A2) v. Honduras (B2)
– Mexico (A1) v. Canada (C3)
– Jamaica (B1) v. USA (C2)
– Panama (C1) v. Guatemala (B2)
Action kicks off tonight with El Salvador v. Cuba and Mexico v. Costa Rica (the must watch game of the tournament so far).