The Americans lead the six-team CONCACAF qualifying table with 16 points after five wins and a draw in eight starts with Mexico on 15, Honduras on 13 and Costa Rica on 12 points. USA players will face Honduras on Saturday at San Pedro Sula and then Costa Rica at Washington, site of many United States triumphs, on 14 October in the qualifying finale.
Three teams from the region will advance to South Africa while the fourth will face the fifth-place team from South American qualifying in a two-leg play-off to decide another spot in next year's global football showdown. One USA victory would secure a sixth consecutive berth for the Americans at the FIFA World Cup but the three points are likely to be hard to earn.
"These are hugely important games for us," USA coach Bob Bradley said. "We have been preparing this group for the last three years to be ready for these situations and we are confident in our ability to get the results we need to achieve our goal of qualifying for South Africa."
The 22-man USA roster includes forwards Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Jozy Altidore of Hull City, goalkeeper Tim Howard of Everton, midfielder Clint Dempsey of Fulham and defender Oguchi Onyewu of AC Milan.