Saturday, November 22, 2008

The draw

The draw for the 2009 Hexagonal was held. Although I will have the full schedule later today or at some point, here is how the road looks for the United States and Mexico.

United States

Feb 11: Mexico at US
Mar 28: US at El Salvador
Apr 1: Trinidad at US
Jun 3: US at Costa Rica
Jun 6: Honduras at US
Aug 12: US at Mexico
Sep 5: El Salvador at US
Sep 9: US at Trinidad
Oct 10: Costa Rica at US
Oct: 14 US at Honduras

Initial thoughts: You knew that the US-Mexico game would be one of the first two dates. That was a given. To have Mexico at home to kick things off is a plus; that the game is in February is an added bonus. As they did in 2001 when US-Mexico opened the 2001 Hex, the US will likely search for a cold-weather venue to maximize their home field advantage. Locations have not been announced but a third consecutive meeting in Columbus would seem likely.

The US can't leave anything for chance. If the US needs points entering the last match, things will get extremely complicated. Perhaps one disadvantage for the US is that the team does not host consecutive home matches. Still, three of their first five are at home and the US could have three home wins plus a road win (at El Salvador) entering the second part of the cycle, which kicks off in Mexico on Aug 12.

Mexico

Feb 11: Mexico at US
Mar 28: Costa Rica at Mexico
Apr 1: Mexico at Honduras
Jun 6: Mexico at El Salvador
Jun 10: Trinidad at Mexico
Aug 12: US at Mexico
Sep 5: Mexico at Costa Rica
Sep 9: Honduras at Mexico
Oct 10: El Salvador at Mexico
Oct: 14: Mexico at Trinidad

Initial thoughts: If Mexico's nightmare semifinal round carries over into the Hex, El Tri is in trouble. Already Mexico face long odds in having to open at the US. Mexico then must host Costa Rica, the only team that has beaten Mexico in Azteca in a World Cup qualifier in recent decades. Then, Mexico must travel to Honduras a few days later.

Mexico will get to host two consecutive home games late in the Hex (Honduras, El Salvador) before closing out at Trinidad. If Mexico should falter early, El Tri would still have those home fixtures from which to possibly pull points out of. But the key for Mexico will be a strong start.

Here's the full CONCACAF slate.

1 comment:

East River said...

I would like to seen the US/Mex game at RSL's place. The attiude is not an advantage but it should be cold and possibly snowy!