I simulated the rest of World Cup qualification for the US (and the rest of CONCACAF). It uses each team’s offensive and defensive efficiency and a simplified home-field advantage to predict each game’s score for the rest of the qualification season. It then simulates the entire thing over and over (I did 50,000 seasons—700,000 games) and keeps track of which team finishes where. This is obviously not groundbreaking.
These graphs, which aren’t labeled too clearly, sorry, show how the simulator figures the United States will finish World Cup qualification given how the US does tonight versus Honduras (kick-off: 9pm EDT, ESPN). The second graph is simply the first graph with some of the standings grouped together by what’s at stake: Top 3 guarantees a spot in next year’s World Cup, 4th requires a play-in game against New Zealand, 5 or 6 means elimination.
With a win tonight (blue bars), the US, in my estimation, makes the World Cup outright over 99% of the time. A draw drops that probability to ~92%. Even with a loss, they still finish in the top 3 nearly 4 out of 5 times (79%).
In slightly under 1% of the simulations overall, the US doesn’t make the World Cup finishing in 5th or 6th. A win drastically reduces that (~0.06%) and guarantees the team can’t finish last. A loss greatly increases the odds of missing out to approximately 1 in 19 simulations (~5.3%).
Anyway, thank you for indulging this post. I’d just keep listing figures (and discussing the other teams), but this is already too long. I did all the coding in Python, which I quite enjoy and recommend, even if you’ve never programmed before.