Slovenia 1-0 over Algeria - Meaning for USA Soccer

I actually saw most of this game (started 7:30 ET).  Very underwhelming.  Algeria played a man down for last 17 minutes after a poor decision (deliberate hand ball is an automatic yellow card) led to a second yellow on Ghezzal.  The Slovenian score should have been stopped by the keeper.

So what does this result for the US?  It makes the next game (against Slovenia) a must to gain a point.  Let’s assume England defeats Algeria (probably a safe assumption).  If the US loses, they’d be 3 points behind England with one game to go (with Slovenia a lock to advance with 6 points).  All England would need is 1 point in its final game (and Slovenia would only need a tie to win the group) to guarantee advancement, which it should do.  If this happens, the US will be going home.

If the US wins, they’ve pretty much assured themselves of advancing.  They’d have 4 points as would England, and Slovenia would have 3.  A tie in the last game against Algeria (playing with nothing to lose and they would be eliminated) would give them 5 points, and assure themselves of finishing ahead of one of England and Slovenia.

If the US ties, it gets interesting.  England and Slovenia would be tied with 4 points, and the US would have 2.  The US would have to win versus Algeria, and preferably by 2 goals (the reason why in a second).  If England defeats Slovenia in the last game (or Slovenia defeats England), the US advances (5 points versus 4).  If England and Slovenia tie, all three teams would have 5 points.  The first tie-breaker is goal differential.  Defeating Algeria by 2 would give the US the tie-breaker over Slovenia (which would be +1 in differential), and will advance the US.

Note: in the World Cup, the tiebreakers are goal differential, then goals scored, then head-to-head.  

US-England 1-1

Sometimes, all it takes in soccer/football is a little luck.  1-1 draw on a bad goal (let’s face it, the keeper has to stop that ball).  This is probably what the US wanted (win would have been nice, but to draw against a top team is good).  Now the pressure is on both teams.  Depending on Slovenia-Algeria tomorrow morning, one of these teams may be a little behind the proverbial 8 ball.  Both should advance, but to be 2 points behind one of the other teams isn’t a favorable position.