On Wednesday, April 3, the second round of Classification Stage games in the 2017 CONCACAF Men's U-17 Championship settled most of the questions remaining about the tournament.
In Group D, Honduras and the USA played the match that would determine whether there might be an upset to the expectation that the Americans are heading to the final of this tournament. No upset: the USA played out a relatively comfortable 3-0 win over Honduras, and will be expected to top the group with a win over Cuba on May 5.
Honduras has already beaten Cuba and can start making plans for the 2017 U-17 World Cup, since Cuba's only shot at qualification for that tournament is a highly improbable win over the USA - by at least five goals, which would leave the Americans at the bottom of Group D. For anyone not related to the Cuban players, this seems too unlikely to contemplate, but it would not affect Honduras' World Cup status since it is guaranteed a superior goal difference to at least one of the other teams in its group, and that is all it needs: Los Catrachos will be at the big U-17 tournament in India later this year.
In Group E, Panama was left to rue a missed header that allowed Jairo Torres to set off on a run behind the defense that ended with the one and only goal of the game.
As expected, Mexico had more and better chances, but Los Canaleros were playing at home and needed at least a point to salvage any hope of World Cup qualification. Panama 'keeper Jorginho Frias did very well to limit the score and keep his side close, but the few chances his team got to equalize were squandered.
Mexico's 1-0 win settled the question of which teams are heading to the World Cup from Group E: El Tri and Costa Rica are on their way to India. But first they must settled the question of which team will play (almost certainly) the USA in the final of this tournament. That matter will be addressed on May 5.