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US team can boost World Cup hopes with victory over Panama

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Soccer

U.S. vs. Panama in Orlando, 7:35 p.m. (EDT). TV: ESPN2, Univision

Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago in San Luis, 9:30 p.m. (EDT) TV: FS1, Univision

Costa Rica vs. Honduras in San Jose, 10 p.m. (EDT) TV: beIN Sports, Universo

Scenarios

1. U.S. beats Panama: A U.S. win would lift the Americans into third place and keep them in control of their own destiny since a win over Trinidad and Tobago next week would send them through to Russia.

2. U.S.-Panama tie: A draw would keep the U.S. no better than fourth heading into its final game and would leave it requiring help to qualify automatically for the World Cup. The U.S. would need a win in Trinidad, a Costa Rican win in Panama and, possibly, a Honduran loss, next week to advance.

3. Panama wins: A Panama win would make it impossible for the U.S. to qualify automatically for Russia since it would leave the Americans four points out of third with only one match remaining. The U.S. could reach Russia by winning an intercontinental playoff with either Australia or Syria next month. But even that route could close depending on how Honduras fares in its final game with Mexico.

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