We're halfway through the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals as with Canada winning their rescheduled match versus Jamaica, the picture is becoming clearer of who will continue to compete for the title while it will also settle who automatically qualifies for the 2024 Copa America. While six Concacaf nations will qualify for the tournament along with all 10 CONMEBOL nations, only the four winners of these matches will automatically qualify while the losers will then need to play an additional game to determine the final two participants in the tournament.
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For the United States and Panama, their pictures are looking quite clear after winning their opening matches 3-0 but for Canada and Mexico, it's much murkier, so let's take a look at what is needed for advancement in each tie. If scores are level on aggregate at the end of regulation in the second leg, two 15 minute periods of extra time will be played to attempt to find a winner with a penalty shootout to follow if it's still level after extra time.
United States vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Result of leg one: United States 3, Trinidad & Tobago 0
The United States will advance if: They avoid losing by more than two goals
While losing in Trinidad would be a disastrous result for Gregg Berhalter and the USMNT, it is reassuring to know that even, there is room for error. An early goal would send the USMNT cruising to the finish line.
Trinidad will advance if: They win and overturn a three-goal deficit
To say that it's a tall task for Trinidad would be an understatement. Not only will they be without Noah Powder who was red carded in the first leg but Trinidad have also never scored more than two goals facing the USMNT. History can always be made but it certainly isn't on Trinidad and Tobago's side here.
Costa Rica vs. Panama
Result of leg one: Costa Rica 0, Panama 3
Panama will advance if: They avoid losing by more than two goals
The biggest risers in Concacaf over recent years, Panama are inching closer to being level with the USMNT, Mexico, and Canada. Taking care of business in Costa Rica goes a long way to making their job easier but defensively, Panama will have this in check.
Costa Rica will advance if: They're able to overturn a three-goal deficit
The golden generation is firmly behind Costa Rica and there are looming questions about what's next. Even scoring a goal would be a moral victory in the second leg of play.
Honduras vs. Mexico
Result of leg one: Honduras 2, Mexico 0
Honduras will advance if: They avoid losing by more than a goal
The surprise of the matches so far has been. While their defensive record at home has been good, Mexico had returned to scoring goals but they just wouldn't come. Now heading into the second leg, Honduras can focus on defensive shape with quite a prize on the line.
Mexico will advance if: They're able to overturn a two-goal deficit
While El Tri will still get another chance to qualify for Copa America if they lose to Honduras, it would be far from an optimal path. Just when things were looking up they've suffered quite a setback as the biggest test of Jamie Lozano's short tenure will be how he responds to losing the first leg.
Jamaica vs. Canada
Result of leg one: Jamaica 1, Canada 2
Jamaica will advance if: They overturn a one-goal deficit
Already without Demari Gray for the first leg, the Reggae Boyz will also be without Michail Antonio who suffered a hamstring injury in the 21st minute of the first leg. Dual national recruitment has gone a long way to help get Jamaica to this point but lacking in depth, Antonio's absence may be one straw too many.
Canada will advance if: They avoid losing
It was the late late show for the Canucks as Jonathan David scored in stoppage time of the first half before Stephen Eustaquio netted the winner in the 86th minute. After coach John Herdman's departure, it has been a tough time for Canada but winning this will go a long way to helping right the ship.
How to watch and start times
All times Eastern
Monday, Nov. 20
Trinidad and Tobago vs. United States, 7 p.m. on TNT
Panama vs. Costa Rica, 9 p.m. on Paramount+
Tuesday, Nov. 21
Canada vs. Jamaica, 7:30 p.m. on Paramount+
Mexico vs. Honduras, 9:30 p.m. on fubo (Try for free)
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