Explaining the USMNT’s chances to advance to the Hex if they win, lose or draw to Guatemala Tuesday

As the American soccer world awoke from a full night sleep, we woke up to realize that the nightmare last night wasn’t a dream but reality. Anyway, that’s over and there’s hardly any time to dwell on that since the U.S. Men’s National Team and Guatemala play Tuesday in another World Cup Qualifier.

The focus is now on how the USMNT can turn this around and make sure things do not get any worse. Depending on the result this upcoming Tuesday, there is a realistic chance the USMNT will not even qualify for the Hex, much less qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

According to ESPN’s Paul Carr, the USMNT has a 92% chance to go to the Hex with a win on Tuesday, 59% with a draw and 10% with a loss. Let’s dissect those three scenarios that could happen on Tuesday and figure out how realistic it is for the US to qualify or not qualify for the Hex.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala and the United States will all beat St. Vincent and the Grenadines because that is very likely to happen. At the halfway point of this qualifying round, Trinidad and Tobago has seven points, Guatemala has six points and the United States has four.



This is obviously the doomsday scenario for the USMNT and even though the team has been playing terribly, this is still unlikely to happen given they are at home. Now, we kind of said the same thing about them playing Guatemala last night and look what happened so this is still a realistic scenario. Anyway, a Guatemala win would cause the standings to look like this with two games left.

1) Trinidad and Tobago – 10 points (beating St. Vincent in T&T)
2) Guatemala – 9 points
3) United States – 4 points

With this result, the USMNT cannot win the group, best case scenario will be 2nd. For the United States to finish 2nd and advance, the final two games against St. Vincent and T&T are must wins. Then the United States will need to be the biggest Guatemala fans to beat Trinidad and Tobago and hope the USMNT beat T&T on goal differential.

Otherwise, the United States would need to rely on St. Vincent and the Grenadines to get some sort of result against either T&T and Guatemala. Regardless of the scenario, advancement is unlikely and causes the United States to do something they haven’t done in years, not control their own fate to qualify for the World Cup.



There would be a bit more hope for the USMNT if they were to draw against Guatemala Tuesday. While a draw at home would still be a discouraging result and make advancing incredibly tough, it’s still achievable. A draw to Guatemala would cause the standings to look like this with two games left.

1) Trinidad and Tobago – 10 points (beating St. Vincent in T&T)
2) Guatemala – 7 points
3) United States – 5 points

While they would still be behind, at least the United States would still control their own destiny. If the USMNT wins their final two games, they will be in the top two regardless of other results.

The biggest variable would be the Trinidad and Tobago/Guatemala game on September 2. If T&T win, that would put them at 13 points and out of reach for the United States but beating St. Vincent that same night would put them a point up on Guatemala, meaning a win against T&T would be more than enough.

A Guatemala win over T&T would create a tie between the two at 10 points with the USMNT at eight given the win against St. Vincent. That would mean a USMNT win against Trinidad and Tobago would knockout T&T 11 to 10, with Guatemala likely winning the group.

A draw between Trinidad and Tobago/Guatemala may cause a three-way tie with everyone at 11 points, which then things would go to goal differential. But seeing the goal differentials, if St. Vincent keeps it relatively close to T&T like yesterday, the USMNT will be ahead of them in goal differential.



This is obviously the ideal scenario and if this does happen, USMNT fans will breathe a sigh of relief. No doubt, it’ll still be a tense six months until the final two games and they aren’t out of the woods yet but the USMNT will be in control. A win to Guatemala would cause the standings to look like this with two games left.

1) Trinidad and Tobago – 10 points (beating St. Vincent in T&T)
2) United States – 7 points
3) Guatemala – 6 points

Even though the United States would be in 2nd, they would still probably need to win their final two games. Although if this is the table after Tuesday and Trinidad and Tobago beats Guatemala in the September 2 game, a USMNT win over St. Vincent that night would clinch the Hex and the final game against Trinidad and Tobago would be irrelevant in terms of group positioning. A Guatemala win over T&T would mean them and the USMNT would be tied at 10 points and depending on goal differential, a possible draw or win against T&T would mean advancement.


This is what the U.S. Men’s National Team is facing after Tuesday’s home game against Guatemala. You didn’t need to win this entire piece to realize Tuesday’s game is an important game for the USMNT to get to the Hex. At the very least, this provides a clearer picture to what the team would need to do for the final World Cup Qualifiers in September.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp