USMNT Prepared for Upcoming Qualifying Window


The USMNT continues World Cup Qualifying this week. (courtesy of Twitter)

The United States Men’s National Team returns to World Cup qualifying action in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football league, or CONCACAF, with three matches against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras. The U.S. National Team currently sits in second place after eight matches with a total of 15 points, trailing the undefeated first place Canadian team who has a total of 16 points. In CONCACAF, the final qualifying round consists of round-robin style play among eight teams, each facing  the others twice for a total of 14 matches. At the end of the 14 matches, the top three teams advance to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, while the team placing fourth advances to an intercontinental playoff. The U.S. National Team comes off of a win against Mexico and a draw against Jamaica this past November.

The United States’ roster for the qualifying window is headlined by Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie, Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic and Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams. Fans have once again voiced their opinions about the various omissions from head coach Gregg Berhalter’s squad, especially regarding the status of Wolfsburg defender John Brooks, who was left off the roster for the second consecutive window. Anchoring the center of defense in Brooks’ absence will be Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson and Hoffenheim’s Chris Richards, who have both shown promise within their respective clubs and throughout the qualifying cycle.

The U.S. National Team returns to Field in Columbus, OH, on Thursday for their matchup against El Salvador, where they previously defeated Costa Rica in October. Columbus is the USMNT’s winningest city, having played host to eight wins, five of which have come while qualifying for theWorld Cup. The team opened up World Cup qualifying with a 0-0 draw against El Salvador in September. The U.S. National Team should be able to take all three points with some comfort, as La Selecta sits in seventh place with  six points, having only one win and three draws in the final qualifying round.

The USMNT’s second match of the window takes place north of the border in Hamilton, Ontario, at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday. Canada has proven to be a giant in the region, previously  defeating  Mexico and tying with the United States in Nashville, TN. With momentum and home field advantage on their side, Canada is the favorite to take all three points in the contest. However, they will be without their best player, Bayern Munich star, Alphonso Davies, who is out due to myocarditis caused from contracting COVID-19. Without Canada’s most talented and creative player in Davies, the U.S. National Team will have little to worry about, with an easier time controlling the match. New York born Lille forward, Jonathan David will be healthy and ready for Canada. At just 22 years old, David has become the most dangerous goalscorer in the entire CONCACAF region.

The U.S. National Team returns to the Allianz Arena in St. Paul, MN,  for their final match of the window against Honduras on Wednesday, Feb. 2. The USMNT defeated Los Catrachos 4-1 back in September off the back of a stellar performance from striker, Ricardo Pepi. After his recent move to Augsburg, Pepi comes into the window with confidence and terrific form, leading the American front line. Honduras on the other hand, has been nothing short of a disaster. In the final “octagonal” round, Honduras sits in last place with only three points, despite having one of the most talented crop of players in CONCACAF. Anything but three points for the U.S. should be considered a failure.

With home matches against El Salvador and Honduras, and a tilt against an Alphonso Davies-less Canada, the USMNT should look at this window as an opportunity to pick up seven to nine points. Should results regarding teams at the top of the table go the U.S.’s way, the team  may be able to clinch qualification as early as this window.