It hasn’t been the most auspicious of times for US soccer. After the men’s team failed to qualify for the Olympic Games, the women’s team then didn’t land the expected Gold Medal, instead taking Bronze in what was a disappointing tournament for the team.
However, there was better news for the Men’s team, albeit missing a number of top stars, as they earned their seventh victory in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final at the start of August. Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson scoring the winning goal deep in extra time against Mexico.
On Friday, the USMNT will be in action once again with a tricky trip away to El Salvador as they begin the Final Round of qualifying to be one of CONCACAF’s qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup Finals, to be held in Qatar.
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CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers Final Round
A total of eight teams have qualified for the final group stage of qualifying, with three places in the World Cup Finals up for grabs for the top three teams. The fourth placed team in the group will enter the inter-confederation play-offs, which will also feature three teams, one each from the AFC, CONMEBOL and OFC to decide the final two spots in the World Cup Finals.
From the first and second round of qualifying, Canada, El Salvador and Panama joined the top five ranked CONCACAF teams in the Third and Final Round, which includes the USMNT, along with Honduras, Costa Rica, Mexico and Jamaica.
The eight teams will play each other twice over the course of the next six months or so to decide who will qualify outright for the World Cup by finishing in the top three, and who will go forward to the inter-conference playoffs for finishing fourth.
USMNT First Three Games & Schedule
The United States team will begin their qualification attempt on Thursday when they face El Salvador on the road. This will then be followed by a home game on Sunday against North American rivals Canada.
The team will then be on the road once again to Central America where they will head to Honduras to play the hosts on Wednesday.
In October, they face Jamaica (home), Panama (away) and Costa Rica (home), before facing a huge clash against Mexico (home) in November, followed by the away game against Jamaica.
In January and February the USA will then face El Salvador at home, Canada (away) and Honduras (home) before wrapping up their campaign in March starting with a game away to Mexico, followed by Panama (home) and then Costa Rica (away).
Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has had the opportunity to call up a number of stars from Europe for these crucial fixtures and as such the likes of DeAndre Yedlin, Tim Ream, Sergino Dest, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic, Josh Sargent and Giovanni Reyna will all be back available in what is probably the strongest USMNT squad for some months.
Following their surprise Gold Cup win, the USMNT are the -186 favorites to win their game with El Salvador on Friday, with the home side +460, both those prices with BetRivers Sportsbook.
Qualification from this group will not be easy. Mexico are always a huge threat and Jamaica have been strengthening their team in recent years, while the likes of Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama could also be tricky.
However, the amount of talent in the USMNT squad now means that Berhalter can select a team that is more than a match for any of the other seven teams in qualifying and, all being well, the men’s team will get another chance to compete at the World Cup Finals in Qatar in 2022.
Which will set them up nicely for when the World Cup returns to the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026.