Offseason? Not quite.
A number of Vancouver Whitecaps FC players will be in action later this week as part of the November FIFA international window. The ‘Caps have four players away with the Canadian national team for a friendly vs. Korea Republic, and three more set to kick off “the Hex” – also known as the final round qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the CONCACAF region.
In the Hex, the six remaining teams will play the others twice – once home and once away – for a total of 10 matches up until the conclusion of the round in October 2017. The top three teams will clinch an automatic berth to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the fourth-place finisher will face the fifth-place nation from Asia in an inter-confederation playoff.
Suffice to say, these are massively important matches.
Here are the six teams from CONCACAF that remain:
1. United States
4. Costa Rica
6. Trinidad and Tobago
Both players played a major part in helping the Ticos reach the Hex with an undefeated 5W-0L-1D record in the previous round of qualifying. Bolaños, in fact, scored twice in Costa Rica’s most recent World Cup qualifier – a 3-1 win over Panama.
Bolaños, Bolaños ¡Seguimos invictos en casa! pic.twitter.com/kgzNMIYBVT— TDMás (@tdmascr) September 7, 2016
The other Whitecaps FC player called up to the Hex is striker Blas Pérez, who is looking to help his native Panama reach their first-ever World Cup. Pérez is Panama’s second all-time leading goalscorer and third most-capped player of all time.
See below for the schedule of the first two matches:
Friday, November 11
Honduras vs. Panama: 12:35 p.m. PT at Olimpico Metropolitano
U.S. vs. Mexico: 5 p.m. PT at MAPFRE Stadium
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Costa Rica: 3 p.m. PT at Hasely Crawford Stadium
Tuesday, November 15
Honduras vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 2:05 p.m. PT at Olimpico Metropolitano
Costa Rica vs. U.S.: 6:05 p.m. PT at Estadio Nacional De Costa Rica
Panama vs. Mexico: 6:05 p.m. PT at Estadio Rommel Fernandez
Stay tuned to whitecapsfc.com for updates.