Sunday, January 18, 2015

Big Match-Ups This Weekend in U-20 Tourney

With just two match days remaining in group play, today's matches in Group A and tomorrow's matches in Group B carry some serious long-term implications. Here's a breakdown of how things could shake out for each team:

Group A

Panama - Perfect through three matches, Panama is in the driver's seat in Group A, and can clinch the top seed, and a berth to the U-20 World Cup with a win and a Guatemala loss or draw. They take on Trinidad and Tobago today and Guatemala on Wednesday.

Guatemala - Currently in second place, Guatemala can advance to the next round with a win over Aruba today. If they can follow that up with a win over Panama on Wednesday, they'll win the group.

United States - The U.S. currently sits in third place by virtue of the goal differential tie breaker. They face the Jamaicans today and Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, and a loss to either club with likely result in their elimination from the tournament due to the first tie breaker being head-to-head results. That said, the U.S. controls their own destiny, so if they're eliminated, they'll have no one to blame but themselves.

Trinidad and Tobago - Trinidad and Tobago takes on Panama today, but for them, advancement will all come down to their finale against the United States. A win over the U.S. will put Trinidad and Tobago through as long as Jamaica doesn't beat the U.S. and demolish Aruba, in which case goal differential would likely be in the Jamaicans favor.

Jamaica - Despite earning just one point through three matches, Jamaica can still make a push for the final spot. If Trinidad and Tobago wins just one of their final two matches, and Jamaica beats the U.S. AND puts up a big number against Aruba, Jamaica could go through. That said, a loss to the U.S. will eliminate the hosts.

Aruba - Aruba has been outscored 17-1 through three matches. They have been virtually, if not mathematically, eliminated.

Group B

Mexico - Mexico, the tournament favorites, have outscored their opponents 14-1 through three matches. A win against El Salvador tomorrow, or Haiti on Thursday, will clinch the group and a spot in the U-20 World Cup.

El Salvador - Currently in second with five points, El Salvador have a tough match with Mexico before finishing up against cellar dwellers, Cuba. A win and a draw would be enough to put El Salvador through to the next round as they own the head-to-head tie breaker against Canada.

Honduras - Honduras's ability to advance will pretty much come down to their final match with Canada on Thursday provided they avoid a slip-up against Haiti tomorrow.

Canada - Canada gets cellar dwellers Cuba tomorrow in a match they should win, but their advancement will likely hinge on an ability to beat Honduras in their Group B finale.

Haiti - Haiti hasn't been eliminated, but they'll have a tough road ahead with matches against Honduras and Mexico and to have a realistic chance, they'd probably need to come away with wins in both.

Cuba - Like Aruba, Cuba is really just along for the ride at this point and they'll wrap up with matches against Canada and El Salvador.

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