The four teams of Group A head to Sporting Park tonight to play in the third match of the group stage. The United States has already ran away with the group with two wins, giving themselves a ticket to the knockout stage. Haiti, Honduras, and Panama, however, are all within a point of each other and each of them could make it to the knockout stage with a favorable result tonight.
Here's how the table looks after two matches.
The final match day at Sporting Park will determine who moves on from this group with Haiti and Honduras playing at 6 p.m. and the United States taking on Panama at 8:30 p.m.
Outside of a perfect group record, there really isn't much to play for with the U.S. tonight. They are already through to the knockout round and will have the top position in the group regardless, so they could lose to Panama by several goals tonight and still remain on top of the group.
What tonight's game allows the U.S. to do is experiment a bit with their lineup and to give some players, such as Sporting KC's Graham Zusi, who is doubtful tonight, a rest during a game that does not impact the U.S. all that much.
Panama's objective tonight is simple: win and they're in. A win over the United States gives them five points and puts them out of reach of Honduras and Haiti below them. With the United States already through, Panama may be able to take advantage of a coasting United States team.
Even a loss would not be the end of the world for Panama as they would still be in contention to make it to the knockout stage as one of the third-place teams. The two top-ranked third place teams advance to the knockout stage and with Panama already having two points, it might be enough to send them through. It becomes a convoluted mess, however, because Haiti and Honduras play before them and they would have to wait until Group C finishes on Wednesday. In their own group, however, the best result would be a draw between Haiti and Honduras.
Sitting at one point, Haiti would need a win and a Panama loss or draw to advance to the knockout stage tonight. They are essentially tied with Honduras in the standings, the only thing separating them is that Honduras has one more goal scored than Haiti, which is the third tiebreaker. A win for the Haitians takes care of that and puts them in prime position to either advance tonight or after Group C finishes up.
A draw would not be optimal for the Haitians as it would keep them below Honduras due to points scored and they would require a lot of help from the United States beating Panama by at least two goals and they would need help from the other groups to send them to the knockout stage on only two points.
Honduras is in a bit better position than Haiti as a draw keeps them in third place no matter what, and could send them to the knockout stage if Panama plays poorly against the United States. They will go to the knockout stage with a win and a Panama loss or draw, or with a draw and a Panama loss by two or more goals.
If Panama and Honduras both win tonight, then Honduras will be in really good shape regarding the third-place rankings.