We finally know where the United States Men’s National Team will play for World Cup qualifying and when! Well, almost. Today, Concacaf held its World Cup qualifying draw at FIFA headquarters in Zurich. The USMNT automatically qualified for the Final Stage of qualifying, which begins in June 2021. They join Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Honduras as automatic qualifiers. We now know the schedule of which windows they will play the teams in “The Octagon” or “The Ocho” in an effort to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
The USMNT drew number 4, which corresponded to a certain schedule already pre-determined by Concacaf. Here’s the schedule for the USMNT for 2022 World Cup qualifying (dates to be confirmed at a later date):
Window 1 (June 2021): @ A/F winner, vs. B/E winner
Window 2 (June 2021): @ Honduras , vs. Jamaica
Window 3 (September 2021): @ C/D winner, vs. Costa Rica
Window 4 (October 2021): vs. Mexico, @ Jamaica
Window 5 (November 2021): vs. A/F winner, @ B/E winner
Window 6 (January 2022): vs. Honduras, @ Mexico
Window 7 (March 2022): vs. C/D winner, @ Costa Rica
The 3 remaining teams will be determined by March 2022, as the remaining 30 eligible teams in Concacaf were drawn into 6 groups to play a round robin in the First Round of qualifying beginning this October and continuing into November.
Those 6 groups are:
Group A - El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, U.S. Virgin Islands
Group B - Canada, Suriname, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Aruba
Group C - Curaçao, Guatemala, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, British Virgin Islands
Group D - Panama, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla
Group E - Haiti, Nicaragua, Belize, Saint Lucia, Turks and Caicos Islands
Group F - Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Puerto Rico, Bahamas
The winners of each group will advance to the Second Round in March 2021, where the teams will play home-and-away legs in the following format:
Group A winner vs. Group F winner
Group B winner vs. Group E winner
Group C winner vs. Group D winner
The winners of each series will advance to join the USMNT, Mexico, Jamaica, Honduras, and Costa Rica in the Final Stage of World Cup qualifying.
The big matches for the USMNT will be what in all likelihood are the final World Cup qualifying matches for the foreseeable future against their archrivals, Mexico. They will play at Mexico in the Estadio Azteca, where they have never won a World Cup qualifier, in Window 6 in January 2022, while the home match against Mexico will take place in Window 4 in October 2021. Canada, which drew Group B, could face the USMNT in Windows 1 (home) and 5 (away) should they advance through the first two rounds of qualifying to “The Octagon.” The USMNT will open their World Cup qualifying in June 2021 with matches at home against the A/F winner and away to the B/E winner in Window 1, while the final window in March 2022 will see them play the C/D winner at home and finish at Costa Rica.
The top 3 teams at the end of the Final Round will qualify directly for the World Cup in 2022, while the 4th place team will qualify for the inter-confederational playoffs, which will be in June 2022.
Hit the comments to discuss the World Cup qualifying schedule for the United States Men’s National Team.