USMNT ups and downs before Qatar

World Cup 2022: Ups and downs for the USMNT in preparation for Qatar

© US Today

The United States men’s national team has been preparing for the 2022 World Cup with 10 games a year so far.

It has brought many lows and some memorable highs. We look at how the USMNT has fared this year ahead of the World Cup in Qatar this November.

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USMNT highs of 2022

The USMNT made a huge leap to qualify for the finals in their first game of the year. Antonee Robinson scored his second goal for his country in a 1-0 win over El Salvador, and with one foot on a plane to Qatar after that, it seemed like the only way for the USMNT was up.

Honduras were next for the Stars and Stripes after losing to Canada and the Americans made a splendid recovery.

Weston McKennie scored another goal for USA, Christian Pulisic once again proved his importance with a goal and Walter Zimmermann scored again from defence. At that point, there might only have been two wins left to seal World Cup qualification.

Then came the game against Panama, in which the USMNT could practically secure a place in the finals if they won.

Despite the potential for nervousness and the burden of a nation on their shoulders, a Pulisic penalty and goals from Paul Arriola and Jesus Ferreira gave the USA a 3-0 lead before half-time. Pulisic soon scored another penalty in the second half, sealing his country’s first hat-trick with 30 minutes remaining.

That game all but secured a place at the World Cup, and with victories over Morocco and Grenada totaling eight goals scored and zero conceded, the USMNT is now in unbeaten form in 2022.

Brendan Aaronson, Timothy Weah and Haji Wright all scored in the 3-0 win over Morocco, but Dallas superstar Ferreira scored four goals in the 5-0 win over Granada in what was the USMNT’s highlight of the year so far.

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USMNT lows of 2022

Overall, the positive aspects of the Stars and Stripes outweigh the negative. However, they suffered a stunning loss to Canada that put their World Cup dreams in jeopardy.

Canada held a football clinic against their North American rivals that day, and although a World Cup ticket was won a few games later, that loss was a stark reminder of the strides the Maple Leafs have made as a powerhouse of North American football in recent years .

It also extended the USMNT’s winless run against Canada to two games.

The USMNT had to suffer just one more loss as they lost to Costa Rica three games after falling to Canada. Gregg Berhalter saw his team lose 2-0 that day but despite the loss it was the game in which they finished their qualifiers for Qatar with other results in their favour.

Although the country was excited about qualifying for the World Cup, the loss to Costa Rica was a bad one with only two shots on target in the game.

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What is the USMNT feel ahead of Qatar?

Although World Cup qualifiers ended behind Canada and Mexico, the mood around the USMNT is positive at the moment.

The Europe-based players have started the season well and with the likes of Ferreira and Zimmerman appearing at the highest level in MLS week after week, the squad is full of confidence.

With Wales and the USMNT at similar skill levels, hopes of progressing to the knockout rounds are high.

England will be favorites to win their group, but with Los Angeles’ Gareth Bale the only major problem alongside England in Group B, the Americans can head into the World Cup this November with their heads held high.

The United States has +650 to win Group B and +110 to qualify for the knockout rounds with FanDuel. Wales is the same.

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