At about the halfway mark in the third round of games of the 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations Qualifying tournament, seven of the 34-team field still have a perfect record. After this game, that number will be six, at most.
Cuba, Haiti, and Jamaica have each played three and won three in CNL Qualifying. Curacao and Martinique have won two out of two and each play their third match of the tournament on November 19 (against Guadeloupe and Antigua and Barbuda, respectively). Canada and St Kitts and Nevis put their perfect records on the line against each other today.
On paper, this is a mismatch. Canada’s squad includes the likes of Besiktas’ Atiba Hutchinson and Cyle Larin, and Bayern Munich-bound Alphonso Davies. St Kitts and Nevis has got most of its goals to date in the tournament from Nuneaton Borough’s Harry Panayiouto and Theo Wharton, and Oklahoma City Energy’s Atiba Harris.
Canada can also be encouraged by having won both its games so far in CNL Qualifying by a healthy margin: 8-0 on the road against US Virgin Islands and 5-0 at home against Dominica. St Kitts trounced Saint Martin 10-0 in Anguilla, but only beat Puerto Rico 1-0 at home in Basseterre.
Home team or not, it should be considered quite an upset if St Kitts and Nevis take even a point out of this game.
But this is a top-of-the-table clash in CNL Qualifying, and at least one of these teams is likely to be at next year’s Gold Cup. The one most likely to be at that tournament will be the one still perfect at the end of 90 minutes - if the game has a winner.