As FC Dallas finishes up final preparations for tomorrow's huge Western Conference showdown with Vancouver Whitecaps FC (TICKETS), both Raul Fernandez and Blas Perez are about to take part in crucial FIFA World Cup Qualifiers that will play a massive part in deciding whether Peru and Panama make historic World Cup appearances. Let's take a look at the situations for both countries heading into tonight's matches:
Raul Fernandez & Peru
It's make or break time for Raul Fernandez and Peru tonight as the South American country looks to qualify for their first World Cup since 1982. La Blanquirroja sits seventh out of nine teams in CONMEBOL qualifying, but just two points behind Uruguay and Venezuela for the fifth-place playoff spot.
Tonight in Lima, Peru will host Uruguay in a match that could propel them into that final playoff spot with a win. Just four games remain in Peru's World Cup Qualifying schedule and if they win all four, they will finish in at least the fifth-place playoff spot. You can catch tonight's Peru vs Uruguay match live on BeIn Sport Espanol at 9:30PM. Seeing as how it's during the USA vs Costa Rica match, you may want to set your DVR.
Blas Perez & Panama
Tonight is equally huge for Blas Perez and Panama as La Marea Roja host lowly Jamaica. Panama currently sits in fifth place just one point behind Honduras for the fourth-place playoff spot and two points behind Mexico for the third-place automatic qualifying spot. With four games left and remaining matches at Honduras, at Mexico and against the United States, grabbing three points against the Reggae Boys tonight is an absolute must if Blas and Panama want to keep their dreams alive to qualify for a first World Cup. This match starts at 10PM and will not be available on TV.
Russell Moore was our grand prize "Get In and Win" season ticket holder winner, getting a free trip to every United States home World Cup Qualifier. Here is his blog from last month's big 1-0 win over Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City!
Our third trip took us to Salt Lake City, Utah where we got to see USA take on Honduras. Once again the USA fans were loud and proud!
Our seats were behind the goal which gave us and excellent view when USA scored the only goal of the game to take the win over Honduras. The game Was fantastic. Honduras had many of their fans at the Ggme this time which made the game more exciting.
Our great seats gave us a really good view of the players and the field. USA Soccer is so exciting to watch, you get a chance to see all the great players take part in supporting their country.
Salt Lake City is really nice, there are many things to do there, and it was great to enjoy the USMNT with all of the other USA fans.
Thank you again FC Dallas for this GREAT opportunity!.
Russell and Renee Moore
It's been a tough road for Richard Sanchez and Mexico in the 2013 Under-20 World Cup, but there was certainly a light at the end of the tunnel.
After losses to Greece and Paraguay left the Mexicans on the brink of elimination, they've clawed their way back to the knockout round by defeating Mali 4-1 today.
Sanchez, who has started all three games for Mexico, had another strong performance in goal and with the top four third-placed teams qualifying for the round of 16, the emphatic win has Mexico in on goal differential.
With three points and a +1 goal differential, Mexico is currently in second place out of the six third-placed teams and with only Uruguay and England able to top them, Mexico is guaranteed a spot in the knockout stage.
It's unknown who Mexico will play until tomorrow's final group stage games are played, but Mexico will play on either July 2 or July 3.
Congratulations to Richard and Mexico!
The United States Under-20 National Team continued their quest in the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup today earning a point against European powerhouse France in a 1-1 draw at the Ali Sami Yen Arena in Instanbul.
Heading into the match, the US needed a point to keep any realistic hopes of a spot in the knockout round alive and things were looking bleak for the United States when France forward Yaya Sanogo smashed home a controversial 48th minute penalty kick.
It looked like the United States' bad luck would continue when Luis Gil had a penalty kick saved with about 20 minutes to play, but second-half substitute Daniel Cuevas eventually finished a free kick in the 85th minute to steal a priceless point for the US.
Given that the four highest-placed third place teams in the group stage will advance to the round of 16, today's point means a win over Ghana on Thursday would almost certainly put the United States into the knockout stage.
From an FC Dallas perspective, Danny Garcia, a starter in the first match, did not feature in today's as he was out with an unspecified injury suffered in Friday's game against Spain. Kellyn Acosta has appeared on the bench for both matches, but has yet to play.
The United States will look to advance to the round of 16 in an all-important game against Ghana on Thursday, June 27 at 12:45PM on ESPNU.
Big news in international soccer this morning. FIFA announced they will have goal-line technology at the 2014 World Cup. Our friends at the Associated Press provide the details:
ZURICH -- FIFA committed Tuesday to using goal-line technology at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and could have four systems competing for selection.
FIFA said it is now seeking tenders from companies that want their system to be used at the Confederations Cup in June and next year's World Cup.
"Interested GLT companies will be invited to join an inspection visit to the Confederations Cup venues, currently scheduled for mid-March, with a final decision due to be confirmed in early April," FIFA said in a statement.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter insisted on giving World Cup referees high-tech aids to make goal-line decisions after seeing England midfielder Frank Lampard have a clear goal denied against Germany at the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
A key noncall in 2010 resulted when Frank Lampard's first-half shot crossed the line by several feet against Germany but was not ruled a goal. England lost 4-1.
Tuesday's decision was expected once FIFA's rule-making panel, known as IFAB, decided in July to approve goal-line technology at competitive matches after two systems passed extensive tests.
The Hexagonal round of qualifying begins Wednesday afternoon in Honduras for the U.S. Men's National Team. It's the first in a year-long road that hopefully leads to the 2014 World Cup.
The match is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT on beIn Sport - not exactly the most convenient for most people stuck at work or in school.
Nevertheless, how do you see this match going for the USMNT? Vote below:
The field is set for the hexagonal round in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. Beginning in 2013 the United States will battle Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama for the right to be one of three teams to advance to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Now it's your time to vote - which three teams do you think will advance?
Definitely head over to Grantland, where Noah Davis has a thought provoking story about the rise of CONCACAF players in MLS and whether that's making things more difficult for the U.S. Men's National Team.
Perez, of course, is a member of the Panamanian National Team and gives his take on the rising perception of MLS in Central America.
FC Dallas' Blas Perez scored twice in the second half Friday night to lead the Panamanian National Team to a 2-0 win over Honduras in the first World Cup Qualifying match of this round for CONCACAF.
After a scoreless first half, Perez opened the scoring with a wicked strike from the top of the box in the 64' to give Panama the lead.
His second goal was even more spectacular - a header off a cross in the 80' to seal the deal.
With the win Panama earned three points and is in first place with Canada in Group C of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, ahead of Honduras and Cuba. Panama faces Cuba on Tuesday and is trying to reach the World Cup for the first time in the country's history.
Blas' two goals are below. Enjoy the very excited announcers: