We have reached the final day of 2022, which was a year in which the World Cup feels like it was just yesterday...because it essentially was. At this time last year, the USMNT was in the middle of World Cup qualifying, and now they are the official co-hosts of the next Men’s World Cup, set to take place in 2026.
Our 2022 predictions were bold in a way that we hoped that the USMNT would be able to close out World Cup qualifying and do well at the World Cup. Yet, the predictions were all over the map, with the results not ending up too great. Let’s go through them and see how we did.
The USMNT will qualify for the 2022 World Cup by finishing atop the Octagonal standings.
The USMNT did qualify for the 2022 World Cup, but they finished 3rd in the Octagonal standings on goal differential. Qualifying isn’t easy, but a few losses on the road meant that the USMNT had to sweat out the final matchday to secure their spot in the field of 32.
The USMNT will win at Azteca.
The USMNT did not win at Azteca, holding Mexico once again to a scoreless draw. However, they definitely were the better team on the night back on March 24th and they should have won. The draw was the 3rd straight draw in World Cup qualifying at Estadio Azteca.
Brenden Aaronson will score 10 goals.
Brenden Aaronson became one of our most important players, but his contributions were not on the scoreboard in 2022. He only scored 1 goal this year, but was a guy who affected the game in so many other ways with his play. Jesus Ferreira and Christian Pulisic led USMNT goalscorers with 5 each. For Ferreira, 4 of them came in the same match, against Grenada to open the group stage of Concacaf Nations League.
The USMNT will go undefeated in Nations League group play.
So far, the USMNT are unbeaten in group play in the Concacaf Nations League, with a big home win against Grenada and a draw against El Salvador on the road in a monsoon.
The USMNT will beat a team from every confederation except Oceania.
The USMNT had opportunities to beat a team from every confederation in 2022, with the exception of Oceania. Of course, they beat teams from Concacaf (El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Grenada), and they also beat teams from Asia (Iran) and Africa (Morocco). However, against Conmebol, they only had a draw against Uruguay in a June friendly, and despite 3 chances in the World Cup, they managed only 2 draws (Wales, England) and a loss (Netherlands) to UEFA teams.
5 players who did not appear in World Cup qualifying will be on the final World Cup roster.
There are usuaully players who don’t appear in World Cup qualifying that make a World Cup roster, and 2022 was no exception. However, only two players - Haji Wright and Cameron Carter-Vickers - made the final World Cup roster without receiving a call-up for any of the 14 qualifiers. Ethan Horvath, Sean Johnson, and Joe Scally were players who were on rosters during qualifying, but did not see the field.
The USMNT will make the quarterfinals in Qatar.
The USMNT got out of the group, finishing second in Group B and going unbeaten with two draws and a win. However, their World Cup run ended in the Round of 16 with a loss to the Netherlands, falling just short of the quarterfinals.
The USMNT will beat a Top 5 team.
The USMNT only had one match against a team ranked in the top 5 in the FIFA World Rankings. That team was England, who was ranked 5th in the world when the USMNT faced them in the group stage of the World Cup. Of course, the match ended in a scoreless draw.
So, the 2022 predictions didn’t quite pan out. Hit the comments and discuss which predictions came close and which fell flat.