My match report details the U.S. national soccer team’s 3-1 victory over Guatemala at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Before we get to the video and postgame poll, you should know that:
The CONCACAF hexagonal is set with the United States, Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama. The FIFA international fixture calendar in 2013 includes five five-day periods to play 10 qualifiers, starting in March.
However, CONCACAF will use a friendly date (Feb. 6) for the first hexagonal matchday. By doing so, each team will play three games in June instead of four. On the down side, because Feb. 6 is designed for friendlies, clubs do not have to release players until 48 hours in advance. (For official match dates, four or five days are required.)
So these are the 2013 CONCACAF qualifying dates:
Feb. 6 (one game)
March 22-26 (two games)
June 7-18 (three games)
Sept. 6-10 (two games)
Oct. 11-15 (two games)
CONCACAF has floated the idea of the finalists working out the order and location of the matches on their own. But now we’re getting word that a draw is in the works. Further information is expected soon.
*Yellow cards do carry over from the semifinal round to the hexagonal, which means Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi, Fabian Johnson and Maurice Edu face suspension with their next caution.
*Why was Tuesday’s sellout announced as 16,947, well below the 18,000-plus capacity for Sporting Kansas City matches? Some seats were removed to accommodate ESPN’s set. Others behind the east goal were blocked off for unspecified reasons. And per FIFA guidelines, standing-room tickets were not allowed.
*Dempsey’s two goals moved him into a tie for third place with Brian McBride on the U.S. all-time list with 30. Landon Donovan is king with 49, followed by Eric Wynalda at 34.
*The United States will play a friendly at Russia on Nov. 14, the last FIFA fixture date of the year. An official announcement is imminent.