Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

World Cup qualifying scenarios: How Houston Dynamo midfielder Boniek Garcia and Honduras can clinch tonight

The Houston Dynamo midfielder known for his large, habitual smile may wear a grin tonight that is four years in the making. Boniek Garcia, the dynamic midfielder who joined the Dynamo last June, is on the verge of clinching a place in his second consecutive World Cup.  

The Honduras national team is currently alone in third place with 14 points in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Brazil, three points ahead of Mexico (11 points). The top three teams qualify for Brazil while the fourth place finisher must face New Zealand, the winner of the Oceania Federation, in a two-leg home-and-home playoff starting November 13.

Tonight, Honduras visits Jamaica at 8:30 p.m. CT (TV: BeIN Sport en Espanol) for its final qualifying match in the final round. Mexico and Costa Rica will also kick off at 8:30 p.m. CT (TV: Telemundo) while the United States visits Panama at 8:30 CT (TV: BeIN Sport).

If any of following occurs, Los Catrachos will qualify for the 2014 World Cup:

  • Honduras defeats Jamaica
  • Honduras draws with Jamaica
  • Mexico loses at Costa Rica
  • Mexico draws at Costa Rica

Honduras could slip to fourth place in the final standings if it loses to Jamaica and Mexico defeats Costa Rica and has a superior goal differential over the duration of the qualifying round. If EACH of the following occurred Honduras would finish fourth and enter the playoff with New Zealand:

  • Honduras loses at Jamaica
  • Mexico wins at Costa Rica
  • Mexico (currently -1 goal differential) finishes with a superior goal differential than Honduras (currently +1 goal differential). *Conveniently, Honduras holds the second tiebreaker – greatest number of goals scored – over Mexico, with a commanding 11-6 advantage. To gain a superior goal differential, Mexico would have to defeat Panama by two or more goals or Honduras would have to lose to Jamaica by more than two goals. If Mexico and Honduras finish with the same goal differential (assuming Mexico doesn’t score at least five goals tonight), Honduras would secure third place and a trip to Brazil due to the goals scored tiebreaker.

*Examples of score pairings that would qualify Honduras for 2014 World Cup: (Mexico wins 1-0 and Honduras loses 1-0; Mexico wins 2-1 and Honduras loses 2-1; Mexico wins 3-2 and Honduras loses 2-1; etc.).

Garcia, 29, has featured in all 15 of Honduras’ World Cup qualifying matches since last June.  He scored the opening goal in a 2-0 win over Jamaica on June 11. Garcia has 88 caps, the sixth-most appearances in Honduran national team history. Garcia was a part of Honduras’ 2010 World Cup squad but did not play in South Africa. Qualification to Brazil would mark the third trip to the World Cup finals for Honduras after Los Catrachos qualified for the 1982 World Cup.  

The United States (19 points) and Costa Rica (15 points) have already qualified for the World Cup. Panama could surpass Mexico for fourth place and the spot in the playoff with a win over the U.S. tonight and a loss by Mexico.