Four Loons have been called up by their national teams for World Cup Qualifiers and friendlies in June. Johan Venegas and Francisco Calvo (Costa Rica), Kevin Molino (Trinidad and Tobago) and Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica) have all been selected to represent their countries in the coming days. Here’s how you can watch your Loons abroad on the Road to Russia.
Thursday, June 8
USA vs. Trinidad and Tobago: 7:00 p.m. CT | FS1 and UniMas
What’s at stake: Molino got the Soca Warriors a huge win against Panama back in March, giving hope to a qualifying campaign that was in trouble. Even though they lost to Mexico in the second match, they are still within striking distance of the top four spots. However, it won’t be any easier for the island nation as it has to face two of the better teams in CONCACAF back to back, starting with a rejuvenated USA squad. The mile-high environment of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will prove challenging for the visitors, but it’s a place where Molino has found success before.
Costa Rica vs. Panama: 9:00 p.m. CT | Universo and beIN SPORTS en Español
What’s at stake: Venegas, Calvo and the rest of the Ticos have two home matches in this stint of qualifying. A win here would be a huge boost for their campaign, possibly sending them to the top of the group. Last time out, a loss to Mexico and draw to Honduras knocked them off the top of the “Hex” standings in March, forcing them to pick up the pieces this time around. There is not much margin for error this time around for Costa Rica, as a loss could see it drop out of the automatic qualifying spots.
Source: USA TODAY Sports
Tuesday, June 13
Peru vs. Jamaica: 7:30 p.m. CT | TBD
What’s at stake: Taylor and the Reggae Boyz are just playing a friendly this time out, but are taking on a Peruvian team that could be finding itself in Russia if it can finish strong on CONEMBOL qualifying. Jamaica will use this match as a tune-up for the Caribbean Cup later this month, a tournament it is favored to win. It will also be looking ahead to the Gold Cup in July, where it will try to make it to the final for a second consecutive time. A good result here will give the Reggae Boyz some confidence heading into both events, and help them net some silverware.
Costa Rica vs. Trinidad and Tobago: 9:00 p.m. CT | TBD
What’s at stake: It will be a meeting of the Minnesotans at Estadio Nacional on Tuesday night. Venegas and Calvo will get a chance to go toe-to-toe with Molino for the first time since joining MNUFC. Costa Rica definitely has the most to lose out of this match and could be playing very conservatively at this point, using the home crowd to their advantage and trying to walk away with a 1-0 win and a healthy squad. On the other hand, the Soca Warriors will live up to their nickname and come out fighting because they need every point they can if they want to return to the World Cup. Points on the road are at a premium in CONCACAF, and the Ticos won’t go down easily.