The United States men’s national team has been preparing for the 2022 World Cup with 10 matches so far in the year.
It has brought in plenty of lows, and some memorable highs. We look at how the USMNT has done this year ahead of the World Cup in Qatar this November.
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USMNT Highs of 2022
The USMNT took one giant leap to qualification for the finals in its first game of the year. Antonee Robinson scored his second goal for his country in the win against El Salvador in the 1-0 victory, and with one foot on the plane to Qatar after this, it felt like the only way was up for the USMNT.
Honduras was next for the Stars and Stripes after a loss to Canada, and the Americans bounced back in excellent style.
Weston McKennie scored another goal for the USA, Christian Pulisic continued to prove his importance with a goal and Walter Zimmerman scored again from defense. By this stage, it was just potentially two wins away from sealing World Cup qualification.
Then came the game against Panama, in which the USMNT was able to practically secure a spot at the finals if it won.
Despite the potential nerves and the weight of a nation on its shoulders, a Pulisic penalty and a goal each from Paul Arriola and Jesus Ferreira gave the U.S. a 3-0 lead before halftime. Pulisic scored another penalty soon into the second half and sealed his first hat-trick for his country with 30 minutes left.
This game all but ensured a place at the World Cup, and with wins over Morocco and Grenada equalling a total of eight goals scored and zero conceded, the USMNT is in unbeaten form right now in 2022.
Brendan Aaronson, Timothy Weah and Haji Wright scored in the 3-0 win over Morocco, but Dallas’ superstar Ferreira scored four goals against Granada in a 5-0 win that ended up being the highlight of the year so far for the USMNT.
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USMNT Lows of 2022
Overall, the positives have outweighed the negatives for the Stars and Stripes. However, they faced a stunning defeat to Canada that questioned its World Cup dreams.
Canada put on a soccer clinic against its North American rivals that day, and although a ticket to the World Cup was earned a few games later, this loss was a stark reminder of the progression the Maple Leafs have made in recent years as a powerhouse in North American soccer.
It also extended the USMNT’s winless run against Canada to two games.
The USMNT only felt one more defeat as it lost to Costa Rica three games after falling to Canada. Gregg Berhalter saw his team lose 2-0 that day, but despite the loss, this was the game where they finalized its qualification for Qatar with other results going in its favor.
Although the country was ecstatic with World Cup qualification, the loss to Costa Rica was a bad one with only two efforts on goal in the game.
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What’s the USMNT Feel Ahead of Qatar?
Despite finishing behind Canada and Mexico in World Cup qualification, the feel around the USMNT right now is positive.
The European-based players have begun the season well, and with stars like Ferreira and Zimmerman performing at the top level in the MLS week in and week out, there is confidence running through the squad.
What’s more, with Wales and the USMNT boasting of similar ability levels, the hopes of progressing into the knockout rounds are high.
England will be the favorites to win the group, but with Los Angeles’ Gareth Bale the only major concern outside of the English in Group B, Americans can head into the World Cup this November with their heads held high.
The United States is +650 to win Group B and +110 to qualify for the knockout rounds with FanDuel. Wales is the same.
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