All eyes are on Columbus, where, as Crew President Mark McCullers points out, the U.S. national team turns “when they need a result.”
My print-online piece looks at the Ohio dynamic in the Americans’ success against Mexico and other qualifiers over the years.
Kickoff: 8:06 p.m. ET.
TV: ESPN, UniMas, WatchESPN, www.univisiondeportes.com
Game-time weather: 84 degrees (feels like 90), 69 percent humidity, 0 percent chance of rain, 7-mph wind.
Referee: Courtney Campbell (Jamaica).
The Americans will clinch a World Cup berth if they defeat Mexico and Panama loses or draws at Honduras. Because the Panama match starts an hour later, a victorious United States would not know at the final whistle whether it has officially advanced. That said, if Honduras is winning at the time the U.S. match ends, the Americans will feel pretty good about the dream scenario coming to fruition.
The other CONCACAF matches:
Costa Rica at Jamaica, 8 p.m. Centro America TV (DirecTV 428, DISH Network 832)
With a victory, the Ticos clinch.
Panama at Honduras, 9 p.m. beIN Sport
Even if the Catrachos win and Mexico loses, Honduras cannot clinch (five-point lead with two matchdays remaining).
The full TV & live streaming lineup for 29 qualifiers, plus friendlies involving Spain and Brazil, is available here.
Demonstrating the diversity of soccer interest in America, a Brazil-Portugal friendly is close to selling out Gillette Stadium (69,000). Yes, it’s a Tuesday night.
Here in Columbus, the U.S. squad will have the largest mass of fans from organized supporters’ groups in program history: 9,000+ will fill 27 sections.
Other nations that could clinch World Cup berths today: Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland.
Already clinched: Brazil (host), Iran, South Korea, Japan, Australia.