The goal-pinching days of United States soccer have quickly become a thing of the past. With a 6-1 win over Belize in their Gold Cup opener, the American men now have 12 goals in their last two matches.
On July 5, the Americans topped Guatemala 6-0. Of course, neither of these outcomes have come in World Cup qualifying play, but the Americans are in great standing there as well.
World Cup hexagonal play will resume on September 6 as the USMNT takes on Costa Rica, and barring an epic and highly unlikely meltdown, the U.S. will move onto Brazil in 2014.
With all teams having played six games, the Americans sit atop the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying hexagonal with 13 points. Costa Rica is second with 11 points, Mexico is third with eight and Honduras is fourth with seven.
The top three teams will move onto Brazil. Obviously, the Americans have a comfortable cushion, and it will be even more comfortable if they can take down Costa Rica. That match, taking place in Costa Rica, will be a nice test for the Americans.
It also highlights an exciting return to qualifying play. Check out the schedule—courtesy of ussoccer.com:
Sept. 6 vs. Costa Rica
Sept. 10 vs. Mexico
Oct. 11 vs. Jamaica
Oct. 15 vs. Panama
With Jamaica and Panama owning the bottom of the hexagonal standings, a strong close to qualifying play appears to be a lock. However, the Americans would undoubtedly prefer not to have to rely on those two matches.
Most notably is the match against rivals Mexico. El Tri is sinking at the moment. Their offense has ground down to a standstill, and they have legitimate concerns over even qualifying for the World Cup.
El Tri will be a desperate squad in that match, and they will have to try and pull off a favorable outcome while on the road. The Americans will have the benefit of the home pitch with the match being played in Columbus, Ohio.
Having won each of their last six contests by a combined score of 21-5, the USMNT is rolling. They will look to turn that momentum into a Gold Cup title, and then post a strong close to the end of World Cup qualifying.