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It's Just a Little Pot: USA Placed Into Pot 3 for Friday's World Cup Draw

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As expected, the U.S. Soccer team and the rest of CONCACAF have been grouped with the four Asian entrants in its own pot -- which, based on rankings, will be the weakest of the four pots.

Hands-in-bowls excitement is coming. Can you feel it?
Hands-in-bowls excitement is coming. Can you feel it?
Marc Eich

As reported yesterday on SB Nation (and a number of other places), the USMNT will join the other three teams representing CONCACAF, as well as the four Asian teams, in Pot 3 for Friday's World Cup draw. The seeded teams will be in Pot 1, the unseeded teams from South America and the African teams make up a seven-team Pot 2, and the nine unseeded European teams make up Pot 4. The draw will be engineered to randomly place one of the Pot 4 teams in Pot 2, as well as to make sure there's reasonable balance with respect to the European and South American teams -- no more than two European teams in any group, and only one South American team per group. Steps 3 and 4 of the FIFA draw procedure will explain it/make your head hurt:

3. With the addition of the European team to Pot 2, Pot 2 will contain teams from three different qualification zones. With teams from three zones in the same pot, we increase the risk of inadvertently violating the principle of geographic separation. In order to ensure we do not mistakenly end up with three European teams in the same Group, the following mechanism will be implemented:

The four seeded South American teams will be placed in an ancillary pot – Pot X

One of the four teams will be drawn

The Group of the South American which is drawn will determine the Group which the European team from Pot 2 will join Final Draw Procedures

4. Pot 2 will then be emptied, beginning with the European ball:

The European team will join Group of South American team drawn from Pot X

The remaining teams will be allocated to Groups A through H sequentially (Note: Groups may be skipped to respect principle of geographic separation; e.g. Chile and Ecuador may not be drawn into Groups with seeded South American teams)

If that's not enough nerdery for you, Bobby McMahon has put together a primer for Forbes on the "inequity" of this year's draw, factoring in time between matches, miles travelled between matches, and temperature fluctuations. He projects, based on this, which four slots are at the greatest disadvantage, but covers all 32 slots, so be sure to check back there come Friday to see what your travel plans will be like should you be following the USMNT around Brazil.(Note: If the Americans' path includes hot and muggy Manaus, pack extra T-shirts.)