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2018 World Cup Qualifying: Hex qualification all but certain for USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago

What will it take the USMNT to qualify on Tuesday? As it turns out, not all that much.

United States v Trinidad & Tobago - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Ashley Allen Getty Images

The U.S. Men’s National Team did what it needed to do to secure advancement into CONCACAF’s final 2018 World Cup qualifying round on Friday, but Trinidad & Tobago did not give the U.S. the help it needed. T&T only needed a draw to advance into the Hex on Friday night, and did just that, equaling Guatemala 2-2. A Soca Warriors win would have mathematically eliminated Guatemala from 2nd place in the group, thereby allowing the Americans to join T&T in the Hex.

Not to fear, though—the 6-0 U.S. thrashing of St. Vincent and the Grenadines significantly improved the U.S.’s chances at qualification. Here are the possible scenarios heading into the USMNT’s Tuesday night match against Trinidad & Tobago in Jacksonville.

If the U.S. wins, they win the group, and face Mexico at home (home probably means Columbus here) in the opening match of the Hex on November 11, followed by a trip to Costa Rica or Panama (but most likely Costa Rica) on November 15.

If the U.S. draws, they finish second in the group, and will start the Hex by hosting Costa Rica and then traveling to Honduras (unless Canada has a miracle in them).

If the U.S. loses, they have the padding of a 12-goal goal differential to cushion them. Guatemala’s got a great opportunity to rack up goals against Vincy Heat, but it would take calamities in both Tuesday matches to put the Americans out of the Hex running.

So, while the U.S. is all but guaranteed Hex play (with Trinidad & Tobago replacing Jamaica in a repeat of the final six from the ‘13 Hex), Tuesday’s match is about seeding and which of the two sternest home tests the U.S. will face first.