Trinidad & Tobago vs. St. Kitts & Nevis
Tuesday, 5 p.m. (Paramount+)
Saturday featured one of the biggest upsets in Concacaf World Cup qualifying history: Trinidad & Tobago was held to a scoreless draw at the Bahamas, ranked No. 201 out of the 210 teams in FIFA’s global standings. The result clinched first place in the group for St. Kitts & Nevis, which beat Guyana 3-0 on Friday, and knocked the Soca Warriors out. (It also means that the U.S. won’t have to go back to Trinidad for their first game of the final round.)
Trinidad can save some face with a win here, but the embarrassment is done. Just like with the Americans in Couva four years ago, the standings say it all.
Curaçao vs. Guatemala
Tuesday, 8 p.m. (Universo, Paramount+)
One of these two teams will advance to the next qualifying playoff round. They’re tied for first place in their group on points (9) and goal difference (+14), which means we go to the third tiebreaker of goals scored. Curaçao has that by one, 15 to 14.
Led by Cardiff City midfielder Leandro Bacuna and Columbus Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room, Curaçao will be favored. But the nation has never made it to the final round of World Cup qualifying before. Guatemalan center back Moises Hernandez will have his hands full trying to lead his team to the final round for the first time since the 2006 World Cup cycle.
Canada vs. Suriname
Tuesday, 9:05 p.m. (Paramount+)
This is the big one. Canada needs a win or tie keep alive its dream of reaching the final round of World Cup qualifying for the first time since the 1998 cycle, in its last shot to do so before cohosting the 2026 tournament with the U.S. and Mexico. The talent is there in Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies, Lille’s Jonathan David and many others. Now it’s finally time to put it all together and take the big step the program has craved for decades.
But Suriname enters this game level on points with Canada for a reason: it’s got its own share of good talent. Inter Miami’s Kelvin Leerdam and former Union playmaker Roland Alberg helm the midfield, supplying striker Nigel Hasselbaink — the son of Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
United States vs. Costa Rica
Wednesday, 7 p.m. (ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN)
Instead of being a warm-up game, call this friendly right after the Nations League final four a warm-down game. Expect both teams to field players who didn’t see the field much in the big contests, which for the U.S. should include Brenden Aaronson and Yunus Musah.
This game was scheduled to give the Americans’ young players a taste of the rhythm of the final round of World Cup qualifiers, which will have three games in a short stretch on multiple occasions. It will do its job in that regard, being the program’s fourth contest in 10 days. Then the stars on the squad will get a well-earned summer vacation.
United States vs. Portugal
Thursday, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
The U.S. women kick off a three-game stretch in Texas, where the summer heat is as ferocious as it will be in Tokyo next month. They begin in Houston, where they’ll also face Jamaica on Sunday (10 p.m., FS1). Then it will be off to Austin for the inaugural event at Q2 Stadium, the new home of Major League Soccer’s Austin FC.
These games will be the last before U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski picks his 18-player squad for the Olympics, which is the hardest task any U.S. coach has. This one might be the hardest ever given the program’s depth of talent, and Carli Lloyd is squarely on the bubble. She has three goals in 15 games combined for the U.S. and Gotham FC in 2021.
Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are in undroppable form, while Catarina Macario brings an electrifying mix of skills. Christen Press can play as a winger and striker. Lynn Williams is an elite high-presser who can create chances off turnovers. Is there room left for Lloyd on an 18-player squad? She surely wouldn’t be one of the four alternates who’d go to Tokyo in case of a pretournament injury.
It might come down to whether Tobin Heath can overcome the ankle and knee injuries that have sidelined her since January. She’s with the U.S. squad in Texas, and it sounds like Andonovski will give her every chance to recover and make her case.
Lloyd must do so too, and that means scoring in these games. If she doesn’t, Andonovski will face what could be a career-defining decision.