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USMNT Tries to Avert Disaster Tonight

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 21:  Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of USA looks on during the friendly match against Venezuela at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 21, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.   USA defeated Venezuela 1-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Imagine what a catastrophe if the United States men's soccer team failed to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. (Well, relative catastrophe; this is U.S. soccer, after all, and we'd just end up distracted by wrestling or something. Which is sort of the problem.) Well, the USMNT is currently in a potentially more precarious situation: It's in danger of missing the hexagonal qualification round, the group of six from which three or four qualifiers are selected. It would be the worst outcome in several decades. (They last time they missed the World Cup was 1986.) So! They should probably try to win tonight against Antigua and Barbuda. The U.S. is tied with Jamaica and Guatemala for the top spot in their group, and only two teams in advance. The Yanks need four points — you get three for a win and one for a tie — to advance, and it wouldn't hurt to win tonight, and against Guatemala on Tuesday. The problem is that the USMNT is banged up; key players Landon Donovan, Fabian Johnson, and Brek Shea are all out for both games. It's an extremely precarious situation for a team that wants to consider itself a global power. So they gotta win tonight. It starts at 7 p.m. The game is on beIN SPORT, which you probably don't have, but if you dare, you can go to a sports bar and try to get them put it on that small television in the corner while everyone else is yelling at the Yankees game.

Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images