With the second round of 2018 World Cup qualifying now complete, we now know the names of the twelve national teams that will go into the pot for CONCACAF's qualification draw in Saint Petersburg next month. They are (June 2015 FIFA ranking in parentheses):
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (112)
Antigua and Barbuda (104)
Barbados (132) Aruba (151)
El Salvador (89)
I have not seen any indication that the third round will be seeded and, if such seeding were to take place, which FIFA Rankings would be used. A totally blind draw would be exciting but has the risk of two very strong or two very weak teams drawn against each other. FIFA has been known to create new procedures for World Cup draws at will, so I would not be surprised if something similar happened here.
If there were a seeded draw for the third round, it might not be far-fetched for it to look something like this, using June 2015 FIFA rankings:
|Pot A||Pot B|
|Jamaica||St Vincent and Grenadines|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Belize|
Again, this is pure conjecture so feel free to ignore, unless it does happen, in which case let it be known that I called it first.
No matter what happens with the draw, the six survivors of the third round ties will enter the semifinal group stage with the top six teams in the region (again, FIFA rankings from June 2015 in parentheses):
Costa Rica (14)
Trinidad & Tobago (67)
So Trinidad & Tobago was the big beneficiary of FIFA using August 2014 as the cutoff for placing teams in the first, second, and third rounds of CONCACAF qualifying. If FIFA maintain the procedure from the previous qualifying cycle, then USA, Costa Rica, and Mexico will be placed in their own pot, Panama, Honduras, and Trinidad & Tobago will be placed in another pot, and a third pot would contain the six third round winners.
Everything should be confirmed a few days before the qualifying draw on 25 July.