MIAMI, Florida– 2019/20 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying resumes on Thursday with a total of 18 matches to take place over the course of the next week.
For many teams, it will serve as a chance to separate themselves in the 34-team table and edge a step closer to the goal of finishing in the top 10 and qualifying for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
There are a number of clashes on the docket that are sure to excite, but one in particular will be emotional for the home fans in attendance when Puerto Rico will play at home for the first time since the devastation of last fall’s Hurricane Maria.
The Boricuas are coming off a heartbreaking last-minute 1-0 loss to Saint Kitts and Nevis and will welcome in a Martinique side that will be playing its first CNL match after the postponement of its September contest against British Virgin Islands.
Also on Saturday will be a meeting of two teams eager to make the jump into the top 10 in the standings, as El Salvador hosts Barbados. The Cuscatlecos edged Montserrat 2-1 in their opener, while Barbados played to a thrilling 2-2 draw at Guyana. The Central Americans are always strong at home, but Barbados boast two players in England’s League 1, Hallam Hope and Krystian Pearce, who could cause major problems.
Three days later on Tuesday will be a pair of matches with major implications, as emerging Saint Lucia host first-place Haiti and talented Guadeloupe welcome in Aruba.
Saint Lucia earned an impressive 3-0 win at Antigua and Barbuda on Matchday 1 and can make a major statement with a result against the Haitians, who poured in 13 goals versus Sint Maarten. Meanwhile, ninth-place Guadeloupe seeks a second straight win (3-0 vs. Saint Martin) against an aspiring Ariba side that is 11thafter its 3-1 victory against Bermuda.
Other items to watch will be to see if Cuba and Curacao continue their high-scoring ways against Grenada and U.S. Virgin Islands, respectively. Cuba scored 11 goals in its opener versus Turks and Caicos Islands, while Curacao found the back of the net 10 times against Grenada.
Individuals to watch will include Ballou Tabla of Canada. The promising young attacker currently with FC Barcelona’s B team is likely to make his senior team debut with Canada, while Haiti’s Duckens Nazon will seek to remain the CNL’s leading scorer (5 goals) against Saint Lucia.
All told, fans across the Concacaf region are in store for another action-packed, goal-filled Matchday in the inaugural Nations League.