US Mexico set to battle in World Cup qualifier

U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey celebrates a goal during a match against Germany June 2, at RFK Stadium. The U.S. won, 4-3.Credit: Courtesy of MCTThe U.S. Men’s National Soccer team is looking to take another step toward qualifying for the 2014 World Cup this week in Columbus.In the team’s latest qualifying match, the U.S. saw its 12-game winning streak come to an end when it fell on the road to Costa Rica, 3-1. The loss dropped the U.S. to second place behind Costa Rica in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football  qualifier standing. The Ticos now lead the group with a total of 14 points, one point ahead of the U.S.The U.S. men’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup increased on Friday despite the loss, as Mexico was defeated at home by Honduras, 2-1, earlier the same night. Mexico is in fourth place in the group on eight points, the top three teams advance directly to the World Cup.This was the first qualifying match has Mexico lost at home since 2001, when it fell to Costa Rica 2-1.Mexico fired manager Jose Manuel de La Torre the day after the Friday loss to Honduras. Luis Fernando Tena, one of Torre’s top assistants, will take over in an interim position.The U.S. will be missing four players from the team in the match against Mexico. Midfielder Michael Bradley sprained his left ankle minutes before the game against Costa Rica and will sit out again against Mexico. Defenders Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler and forward Jozy Altidore will all sit out because of yellow card accumulation. Altidore had scored in five straight matches before failing to tally against Costa Rica.Many Ohio State students were interested in attending the game, especially after D-Tix at the Ohio Union announced an undisclosed amount of tickets would be offered to students with a valid BuckID for $25 each.The tickets went on sale through D-Tix Sept. 3, but because of more students wanting tickets than originally expected, D-Tix switched the method for students to buy tickets to a lottery.Former Columbus Crew right back Frankie Hejduk said he is excited for the game against Mexico as well as the growth of the soccer scene in Columbus.“It was very awesome to see how excited and passionate students are for soccer,” Hejduk said in an interview with The Lantern. “I see students getting into soccer more and more. I see Crew, U.S. and (Premier League) stuff all over the place.”The U.S. would qualify for the 2014 World Cup with a victory over Mexico and a win or tie by Honduras. A loss for Mexico and a Honduras win over Panama would almost completely end Mexico’s chances of moving out of fourth place in the group.The fourth place team will compete in a playoff with New Zealand to determine another spot in the Cup.The U.S. v. Mexico game is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Crew Stadium. read more