Tosaint Ricketts (UW-Green Bay) and Canada kick off the fourth round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with two huge matches in the next 10 days, games against Honduras and El Salvador that could go a long way in determining whether they can advance to the final round of qualifying for the 2018 event in Russia.
The top two teams in each of the three groups advance to the fifth round, commonly referred to as the "Hexagonal." Regional power Mexico, ranked 21st in the latest FIFA World Rankings, are considered heavy favorites in Group A, leaving Honduras (No. 81), El Salvador (No. 89) and Canada (No. 116) to battle for the other berth.
Canada opens up fourth-round play Friday night against Honduras in Vancouver, British Columbia, then travels to San Salvador to play El Salvador on Nov. 17. The next qualifiers are in March, when Canada will play Mexico twice in five days.
The 28-year-old Ricketts had four goals in four matches in the second and third rounds of qualifying for Canada, and scored his first goal for Turkish second-division club Boluspor last week.
On Twitter: @TosaintRicketts