How can USMNT reach 2022 World Cup in upcoming qualifiers?
Over the next week, the United States men's national team faces El Salvador, Canada and Honduras in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Securing a place at Qatar 2022 during the January/February international week is possible, if not straightforward, for the United States men’s national team, who currently sit second in CONCACAF’s eight-team World Cup qualifying group.
USMNT out to reach first World Cup since 2014
The USMNT, who missed out on Russia 2018, need a series of results to go their way if they’re to confirm their return to the World Cup finals in the next three games.
The first step the USMNT must take is to win all three of those fixtures, against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras. Nine points from nine would take Gregg Berhalter’s men to 24 points with 11 matches played.
USMNT also need favours from other teams
However, this on its own would not be enough to book the USMNT’s ticket to Qatar: two more pieces also need to fall into place.
Firstly, both Mexico and Panama, who are third and fourth, respectively, must fail to win all three of their games in this round of qualifiers.
That seems unlikely, given that the two teams have, together with Canada and the USMNT, been among the most consistent sides in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
And secondly, in addition to slip-ups from Mexico and Panama, the USMNT need Costa Rica, Jamaica and El Salvador - the teams in fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively - to finish international week with fewer than 14 points each.
CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group
*Top three qualify automatically; fourth-placed finisher goes into inter-confederational playoff
El Salvador go to Ohio on Thursday
The USMNT begin the upcoming round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers by hosting El Salvador on Thursday 27 January at 7:30pm ET.
Take a look at our guide on how and where to watch the game in Columbus, which you will also be able to follow with AS USA's live-text coverage.
USMNT's upcoming World Cup qualifiers in full
USMNT vs El Salvador - Thursday 27 January, 7:30pm ET, Lower.com Field, Columbus
Canada vs USMNT - Sunday 30 January, 3:05pm ET, Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton
USMNT vs Honduras - Wednesday 2 February, 7:30pm ET, Allianz Field, Saint Paul