CONCACAF: The State of Play
Mexico is reasserting itself as the dominant CONCACAF power. Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Canada in Chiapas saw Mexico once again mix the old and the new as far as player selection. With Blanco having now retired and Jared Borgetti seemingly frozen out of Sven Goran Eriksson’s setup, veteran leadership will pass to Pavel Pardo and when he called in to Guille Franco. Honduras beat Jamaica at home and finally the Hondurans who have for years been talented enough to break through in a weak region appear ready to do so. Costa Rica continues dominate a weak group winning at Haiti while Suriname was beaten at home by resurgent El Salvador. Memo to the USSF: in the hexagonal, DO NOT PLAY EL SALVADOR OR HONDURAS AT RFK STADIUM. We recall the last time Honduras made the hexagonal and the disasterous outcome of that match at RFK Stadium where American keeper Brad Friedel faced more heckling than the US has faced on the road thus far in the 2010 qualifiers. However, the US finished 3rd in the Hexagonal in 2001 ahead of Honduras and got the last qualifying spot from CONCACAF for the World Cup in 2002, so even losing home matches doesn’t necceasrily mean the US will not qualify for South Africa.
Anyhow, here is my thinking as to the rankings of CONCACAF’s top five national teams right now. Note Jamaica is unlikely to advance to the hexagonal while Costa Rica is one point away from clinching a spot in the next round. But the lack of depth on Costa Rica’s national team right now as well as the the growing strength of CONCACAF probably means the Ticos will have an uphill fight to make the World Cup for the third straight time.
5- Costa Rica