Central America

Panama Has A Serious Shot At Qualifying For The World Cup And I Owe The National Team An Apology

The Panama World Cup qualifying campaign is smooth sailing after the first three games. This is the exact opposite of what we predicted here at The18.

In our Concacaf World Cup qualifying predictions, six out of seven people predicted the Panamanians to finish dead last in the group of eight teams. Only one person had Panama finishing higher than eighth. That individual had the Central American country finishing seventh.

After 45 Minutes Of Agony, Gregg Berhalter And The U.S. Earned Redemption In Honduras

The USMNT played one of its worst opening 45 minutes in the modern era on Wednesday night in Honduras, and then followed that up with one of the greatest second halfs we've ever seen. Both were largely down to the choices of Gregg Berhalter, and while we should ultimately value and treasure the second 45, we shouldn't immediately forget about the first half.

Pulisic Who? Ricardo Pepi Steps Up When USMNT Really F*cking Needed It

Panic meters were reaching Cuova levels on Wednesday night in San Pedro Sula. The U.S. trailed Honduras at halftime and it looked like the Americans were headed toward a dismal two points from their first three World Cup qualifiers. Gregg Berhalter made three halftime changes, somewhat surprisingly leaving on qualifying novices Ricardo Pepi and James Sands.

Ricardo Pepi repaid the faith.

After 17 Years Of Losing With Canada, Atiba Hutchinson Doesn’t Know What’s Happening

Whisper it — anything more than a whisper and it might vanish — but Canada is on course for the 2022 World Cup (after three games). 

The 1-1 draw with the United States in Nashville must’ve stirred something in the Canucks’ plums, because they came out like a side possessed on Wednesday night at BMO Field. Frankly, some of Canada’s play against El Salvador in the opening 30 minutes was disturbingly good, and 38-year-old captain Atiba Hutchinson was at the heart of it all.

How much must this all mean to the man who collected his 88th cap tonight? 

Premier League Clubs Face Sanctions If They Use Players Withheld From National-Team Duty

Premier League clubs could face sanctions from FIFA if they play South American players who were not released for international duty in this weekend's games.

Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City are among clubs who did not release Brazilian players for the current international break due to them having to travel to "red list" countries and face a choice of not selecting those players this weekend or running the risk of sanctions.

USMNT Travels To Honduras Facing Barrage Of Questions, Criticisms

The USMNT is only two matches into its 14-game CONCACAF World Cup qualifying odyssey, but one look at the early table shows you why Wednesday’s meeting between the U.S. and Honduras in San Pedro Sula is feeling like a must-win.

While qualification obviously doesn’t hinge on the result, there’s a sense that if the tournament successes of the past summer are to have any real meaning, then the U.S. needs to end this September window with its first win of the Octagonal. 

Forget The Octagonal, Welcome To The Concacaf Qualification Ladder

My Spanish is a little rusty, but here is a snippet from a conversation overheard between a few El Salvadorian fans shortly before the country's World Cup Qualifier against the USMNT on Thursday:

Guy No. 1: "OK, here's the plan: step one — get a ladder. Step two — carry the ladder into the stadium."
Guy No. 2: "What's step three?"
Guy No. 1: "What do you mean step three? That's the whole plan, we take the ladder and bring it into the game. That's it."

I Know What You Did This Summer: Tata Martino Needs Wins To Avoid Slash

After a summer spent playing the role of bridesmaid, Tata Martino’s Mexico begins World Cup qualifying by putting on a brave face and getting back out there, but September’s trifecta of matches each pose their own particular challenges for El Tri.

A couple big names miss out entirely through injury — Chucky Lozano, Héctor Herrera, Diego Lainez and Héctor Moreno — although Andrés Guardado returns after recovering from his own ailments. Meanwhile Covid continues to change, disrupt and alter plans by the minute, so don't be surprised if this preview is already entirely worthless.

Win At Home And Draw Away: First 3 WCQ Opponents Will Push USMNT To Edge

As the holder of the Nations League, Gold Cup and a new world ranking of 10th, the USMNT approaches World Cup qualifying at its highest level of confidence in five years — since John Brooks destroyed the house that Ecuador built at the Copa América.

But the formula for success in CONCACAF never changes: try to win at home, try to draw away. Get that done and you’re going to Qatar; experiment with the formula like Jürgen Klinsmann and you’ll kill Taylor Twellman.

USMNT Is A Month Away From Heading To The Dreaded Olímpico Metropolitano; Will They Get A Result?

Concacaf World Cup qualifying begins for the USMNT on Sept. 2 against El Salvador. After the match in El Salvador, the U.S. hosts Canada on Sept. 5 and then travels to Honduras to play on Sept. 8. The last game of this first WCQ window is the one that has me concerned.

I predict the USMNT to get seven points from these first three qualifying games in the form of victories against El Salvador and Canada, but a hard-fought draw in Honduras. Why is that? The Olímpico Metropolitano, and really anywhere in Honduras, is a fortress.