With the situation atop the Concacaf World Cup qualifying standings tightening up, the U.S. men’s national soccer team faces a virtual must-win situation against Honduras in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Wednesday night.
After Sunday’s result in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada took control of the qualifying standings, sitting four points clear of both the USMNT and Mexico, with each having collected 18 points through 10 matches played. Panama sits in fourth place with 17 points, and Costa Rica is in fifth with 13. El Salvador (nine), Jamaica (seven) and Honduras (three) round out the standings of the “Octagonal.” The top three teams automatically qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, while the fourth-place team must compete in an inter-continental playoff.
What makes Wednesday’s qualifier urgent for the USMNT is what lies ahead in the final round of qualifying. Road matches against Mexico (March 24) and Costa Rica (March 30) sandwich a home game against Panama (March 27) in Orlando, Florida. All three teams are in the thick of the race for the coveted top three World Cup qualifying spots, and the USMNT has never won a World Cup qualifier at either Mexico or Costa Rica.
The USMNT will be without two key players against Honduras. Central midfielder Tyler Adams (hamstring injury) and defender Chris Richards (ankle injury) will miss Wednesday night’s game. Adams, who has captained the USMNT in six of its 10 qualifiers, is the key conductor in the team’s engine room. Expect Kellyn Acosta, who replaced Adams in the 69th minute on Sunday, and Walker Zimmerman, who started alongside Richards in the win over El Salvador on Thursday, to slide into the starting 11 vs. Honduras.
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Here’s everything you need to know for Wednesday’s match:
When is the USMNT-Honduras World Cup qualifier?
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 2, at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota, home of Major League Soccer’s Minnesota United.
How can I watch the USMNT’s World Cup qualifier vs. Honduras?
Which players are on the USMNT and Honduras rosters?
Goalkeepers (4): Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire FC), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/England), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
Defenders (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista/Portugal), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona/Spain), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United), Mark McKenzie (Genk/Belgium), Chris Richards* (Hoffenheim/Germany), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/England), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), DeAndre Yedlin (Unattached), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
Midfielders (7): Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Tyler Adams* (RB Leipzig/Germany), Luca de la Torre (Heracles/Netherlands), Sebastian Lletget (New England Revolution), Weston McKennie (Juventus/Italy), Yunus Musah (Valencia/Spain), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
Forwards (8): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/Austria), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg/Germany), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/England), Tim Weah (Lille/France), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)
Goalkeepers (3): Luis López (Real Espana), Roberto Lopez (Vida) Edrick Menjívar (Olimpia)
Defenders (9): Omar Elvir (Motagua), Maynor Figueroa (unattached), Franklin Flores (Real Espana), Devron Garcia (Real Espana), Denil Maldonado (Motagua); Wisdom Quaye (Real Espana), Diego Rodríguez (Motagua), Raul Santos (Motagua), Allans Vargas (Real Espana)
Midfielders (8): Bryan Acosta (Colorado Rapids/USA), Jorge Alvarez (Olimpia), Kervin Arriaga (Marathón), Ivan Lopez (Motagua), Kevin Lopez (Comunicaciones), Alfredo Mejia (Levadiakos), Edwin Rodríguez (Olimpia), Cristian Sacaza (Honduras Progreso)
Forwards (6): Alberth Elis (Bordeaux/France), Anthony Lozano (Cádiz/Spain), Brayan Moya (Olimpia), Romell Quioto (CF Montreal/Canada), Bryan Rochez (Nacional/Portugal), Jonathan Toro (Academica/Portugal)
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: USMNT vs Honduras: Time, live stream, TV channel – World Cup qualifier