The US Men’s National Team is getting ready to face three more opponents in the Octagon as they will host Jamaica, Costa Rica & on the road in Panama. The Roster is looking pretty good for these next three games, as the road to the World Cup in Qatar is on the line and at least a minimum of six points needs to be earned to remain in the top three of the table.
The first game will be played in Austin, Texas at the brand new Q2 stadium as they hosted the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semi-Finals when the USA defeated Qatar by a goal to nil. Gyasi Zardes converted the match-winner late in the second half to advance to the Final. The home of the expansion side Austin FC has started to become a solid home-field advantage
Their second match will be on the road as the boys will travel back to Central America and face Panama at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. This was the Stadium where back in 2013 they defeated and eliminated Panama from reaching the World Cup in Brazil & in 2017 they earned a one-goal draw on the road when Bruce Arena retook the head coaching job after Jurgen Klinsmann was sacked before their six-goal barrage against Honduras in San Jose.
Then the National Team returns stateside to Columbus, Ohio as they will host Costa Rica at the brand new Lower .com Field. This will be the very first US Men’s National Team game, at the brand new Downtown Soccer Stadium, as the days of Historic Crew Stadium are officially closed. The new downtown Stadium at the Capital City of Ohio will have a bigger advantage with a roof and the noise will be bigger and louder for the home side.
The USA will be missing three players due to injury in Christian Pulisic, Giovanni Reyna & John Brooks, but the one name who has returned to the roster is Juventus Midfielder Weston McKennie as he returns to the National Team after his two-game suspension by Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. As we all remember McKennie broke team COVID Protocol rules as he left his hotel room in Nashville.
The National Team needs McKennie’s talents to be a weapon within the midfield during attacking runs, set pieces, and scoring big goals to earn the three points. We all know how strong he is leaping in the air, and running with the ball on the ground. Having him on the National Team makes them better, but if he does it again, what happened in Nashville, he might not be so lucky to return. It took nearly 40 minutes of gameplay, not counting halftime to allow Canada head coach John Herdman to outcoach Berhalter.
Of course, we also saw Berhalter tinkering with his lineup, formation, and getting scored on down in Honduras, before he saved his job by making the proper substitutions and changing back to what his players were comfortable with, by scoring four unanswered goals in the second half. Berhalter can’t tinker with his game plans or create a new formation that will fail qualification to Qatar. Now there are no more excuses as this qualifying window will provide him with two home games out of the three, and if he doesn’t get at least six totals points from the two home games, then he should be out of a job.
But that will be on madam president Cindy Parlow-Cone & the board of US Soccer needs to pull the dirty deed to fire him, if he can’t get the job done if he fails to win both home games in this window. World Cup Qualifiers are the holy grail of international football matches, as the idea is to qualify for the biggest tournament as the whole world is watching and the talent is on display to show the fans of this sport why the American players are improving and doing better in European leagues and why this country is producing talent in a positive progression.
So now it’s all on the shoulders of these talented players as well as Berhalter to get this correct. So at least a total of seven points is the most important thing to get. If they get all nine, then it will be a successful qualifying window. Time to get this going and have some fun.