The USMNT Secures a Ticket to Qatar

USMNT loses 0-2 to Costa Rica but still makes the cut for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

USMNT loses 0-2 to Costa Rica but still makes the cut for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Lizzy Crawford

The USMNT is going to Qatar! This is the highly expected return of a team that has given it their all, which comes after a devastating miss at qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Let’s take a look at the US’ road to the World Cup and what they are going to have to do moving forward. 


The qualifying stage for the 2022 World Cup began all the way back in June of 2019. But recent games have been the most crucial in the process. 


The US’ past three games were the most essential in earning their ticket to Qatar. On March 24, the US played head-to-head with their biggest opponent: Mexico. This game was held at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City and the fans brought a ton of energy: something common for every game between the US and Mexico. The possession was dominated by Mexico with approximately 63% of the game under their feet. However, the shots on goal were pretty equal with Mexico having 11 and the US with just two less opportunities. Despite Mexico’s dominance on the field, the game ended in a 0-0 tie. Although the USMNT did not win, this was still a victory for the team as they did not give Mexico the chance to outrun them on the board. 


Yet, the biggest peak of the qualifying process was three days later for the USMNT’s game against Panama. This game resulted in a 5-1 win for the United States, which was ultimately the biggest factor in getting them to the World Cup. The player of the game was undoubtedly Christian Pulisic, the 23 year old superstar from Hershey Pennsylvania. Pulisic scored a hatrick through the course of 90 minutes and became the youngest player to score double digit (12 for him) World Cup Qualifying goals. Pulisic’s three goals (2 from penalty kicks) along with two more goals scored by Paul Arriola and Jesús Ferreira helped the US gain confidence for their final game against Costa Rica. 


The US now had to face Costa Rica away on Wednesday, March 30. With their 5-1 victory over Panama, their World Cup spot was promising but not secured. The US had to lose by no more than 6 goals to make it in. And they did lose- but thankfully only by two. A shocking loss because the US dominated possession and shots on goal. Costa Rica has been on a big winning streak as they have won 6 out of their last 7 games. Still, this slight loss, is what put the US in third place in their group. The US had 12 opportunities to score from corner kicks but none played out through the net. 


In a postgame interview with CBS, the US’ star forward Christian Pulisic commented, “I am extremely proud of this group. It’s a bit of a weird feeling right now because I hate to lose so much, but I’m really proud and I can’t wait to go to the World Cup.” He acknowledged that the road to get there was one of a lot of wins and defeats, but he is ready for the next step. 


The World Cup officially starts on November 21 and will go until December 18. It has been nearly 4 long years of hard work for all teams, but that work really comes down to the final month of 2022. This is the first time that the tournament will not be held in May, June, or July because of the extreme heat during those months in Qatar. One other unique aspect of this World Cup is that it will be the last one to host 32 teams as the 2026 World Cup will have 48 teams. 


The USMNT Instagram recently posted a drawing of Christian Pulisic holding out a hand to lift up a (younger) Pulisic who was crouching down. The kneeling Pulisic was from the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, when the US did not make the cut. The caption: “redemption” with an American flag. This captivating image represents the emotions behind this accomplishment not only for Pulisic, but for the entire nation. Remember to root on the US in November for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!