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Championship Standouts Set for Final Matchday in Concacaf World Cup Qualifying

By Staff, 06/07/21, 6:04PM EDT


Teams look to advance from group stage as First Qualifying Round concludes on Tuesday night

FC Tulsa's Joaquin Rivas (left) and Sacramento Republic FC's Rafael Diaz should feature as they try to help El Salvador and the Dominican Republic advance to the second stage of FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifying on Tuesday night.

The final five berths in Concacaf’s Second Qualifying Round of FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifying are on the line on Tuesday night as the final round of group stage games take place across the region, and some notable names from the USL Championship should be in action looking to help their countries advance.

One country is already assured of a place in the knockout stage before the Octagonal – which will include the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras and Jamaica as automatic qualifiers as it kicks off this fall – with St. Kitts & Nevis and South Georgia Tormenta FC midfielder Raheem Somersall having qualified after taking three wins of three to finish on top of Group F. Somersall made the start on Friday evening and played 77 minutes as St. Kitts & Nevis took a 3-0 victory against Guyana, and after Trinidad & Tobago was held to a 0-0 draw by the Bahamas on Saturday it left St. Kitts with a four-point lead at the top of the group to advance before its meeting with the Soca Warriors on Tuesday night.

Somersall and St. Kitts are set to play the winner of Group A for a place in the final stage of qualifying, where El Salvador – featuring FC Tulsa’s Joaquin Rivas and Hartford Athletic’s Walmer Martinez – takes on Antigua & Barbuda (9:05 p.m. ET | Paramount Plus) with each side sitting on seven points through three games. El Salvador holds the edge on goal differential as the sides meet at the Estadio Custatlan in San Salvador after taking a 7-0 victory against the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday night, a contest that saw Rivas retain his place in the starting lineup and Martinez make his senior international debut with 16 minutes to go. Antigua & Barbuda features some former Championship players, most notably ex-Charleston Battery man Quinton Griffith and former Orange County SC forward Pete Byers. The Benna Boys took a 1-0 win against Grenada on Friday night to keep their chances alive but would need a win on the road to keep Rivas, Martinez and El Salvador from advancing.

Sacramento Republic FC goalkeeper Rafael Diaz and the Dominican Republic, meanwhile, face a win-or-go-home task in Group D as they visit Panama at the Estadio Rod Carew (9 p.m. ET| Paramount Plus). The Dominican side kept its hopes of advancing alive late on Friday night as Manny Rodriguez scored an equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time to earn a 1-1 draw against Barbados, but the dropped points meant Diaz and his teammates will have to win against Panama to advance. Diaz has recorded a pair of shutouts previously in the group stage, but Tuesday’s game will be the biggest test for the Dominican side against a Panama squad that reached the 2018 World Cup.

Other Championship and League One players are also set to be in action on Tuesday night, although their nations have previously been eliminated from contention to advance. Among them is Puerto Rico, which last Wednesday night recorded a 7-0 victory against the Bahamas that saw Birmingham Legion FC’s Jaden Servania score his first goal for the country. Also finding the net last week was 17-year-old Fort Lauderdale CF forward Dairon Reyes, who scored on his debut for Cuba in a 5-0 victory against the British Virgin Islands, a game that saw FC Tulsa’s Jorge Corrales also included in the starting lineup.

A full list of games through Tuesday afternoon and evening can be found on the FIFA website, with the five key games to determine which teams advance – also including Haiti vs. Nicaragua (5 p.m. ET), Curacao vs. Guatemala (8 p.m. ET) and Canada vs. Suriname (9 p.m. ET) – all available live on Paramount Plus.

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