The Hex is coming.
And in all reality, if we (the USMNT) succeed past the Hexagonal matches to make it through to Brazil 2014, we may hear, ‘The British are coming, the British are coming.’ However, we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves.
The U.S. Men’s National Team kicks off the 2013’s competitive season with an away game in Honduras on 6 February.
The 2009 CONCACAF World Cup qualifications for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa concluded with the USMNT, Mexico, and Honduras receiving the top three available spots out of the six (duh, Hex).
With a strong 2012 in the books for the Mexican National Team (Olympic gold, Chicarito is bagging goals at Manchester United, etc.) it’s a safe bet that Mexico finishes on top of the Hex group. The next two spots for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are more up in the air with the U.S. men needing to come away with the second standing, and possibly (or probably) Honduras rounding out the group (watch out for dark-horse, Jamaica, as well).
The last Hex was played in 2009 with, mostly, seasoned players and veterans, but as the 2013 matches roll around, we’ll see a more fresh-faced squad ready to prove their might.
Included from the most recent friendly (snooze-fest) against Canada, expect to see defenders Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler (by way of tweets from airplane-seatmates, Kim Kardashian “Just touched down in Miami!!!…” and Matt Besler “Miami-bound”), along with the usual suspects ranging from Everton’s main man, Tim Howard, and AS Roma midfield general Michael Bradley, to Tottenham’s in-form, Clint Dempsey, and AZ Alkmaar’s scoring machine, Jozy Altidore. For more in-depth analysis for possible roster spots, see this piece from The Shin Guardian.
As many as ten players might be coming into the World Cup Qualifiers after having recently taken part of the January USMNT camp which was held for mainly MLS-based players, plus a few other younger members like Josh Gatt and Alfredo Morales. However, in all reality, don’t expect more than 8 to make that list from the January camp.
The men in the camp ended up playing the Canadian National Team to a 0-0 draw with not much flair or creativity, but did highlight the strengths (and some weaknesses) that the USMNT is looking forward to in the coming years.
But for the looming games, and as this is Klinsmann’s first WCQ for the USMNT, you’re more than likely to see some interesting line-ups, as our dear Klinsi as oft done in the past, but with more strategy because of 1) injuries, 2) MLS is in the off-season, 3) trying to prevent injury complications for those playing overseas (i.e. Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, Johnson), and 4) team chemistry on the field.
We, the minions who follow the USMNT, will find out tomorrow who will be included on the roster for the impending Honduras match.
When it’s all said and done, I’m confident of two things: 1) the USMNT will come away from qualification with a spot to go to Brazil, and 2) some of the newbie players will be called upon to make some big plays.
And so, as we approach the first of the home-away Hex matches for the CONCACAF teams, take a look at some of the highlights of the 2009 Hexagonal games and ready yourself for some good matches for the 2013 Hex. (SPOILER ALERT: Under each video is a record of who scored for the U.S.)
11 February 2009 – USMNT vs. Mexico:
(Highlights: Bradley goal, rumble in the goal box, Frankie Hejduk playing, Bradley goal)
28 March 2009 – USMNT vs. El Salvador:
(Highlights: Altidore goal, Hejduk goal)
1 April 2009 – USMNT vs. Trinidad and Tobago:
(Highlights: Altidore hat trick)
3 June 2009 – USMNT vs. Costa Rica
6 June 2009 – USMNT vs. Honduras:
(Highlights: Donovan smashes a goal in for a PK, Captain America (Bocanegra) goal)
12 August 2009 – USMNT vs. Mexico
5 September 2009 – USMNT vs. El Salvador
9 September 2009 – USMNT vs. Trinidad and Tobago
(Highlights: Clark goal)
10 October 2009 – USMNT vs. Honduras
(Highlights: Casey goal, Casey goal, Donovan goal)
14 October 2009 – USMNT vs. Costa Rica
(Highlights: Bradley goal, Bornstein goal…yes, that’s correct, I said Bornstein goal)