Baring a Catastpohic 6-0 loss to Costa Rica tonight, the USMNT is going to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup Finals! USA vs Costa Rica has always been a thrilling matchup, tonight a lot will be on the line. The USA sits in second place on 25 points; Costa Rica in Fourth on 22 points. Both can still make it to Qatar but the paths are different. It’s likely that this match won’t change that fact.
USA vs Costa Rica
Both the USA and Costa Rica are nations that know what can happen should they execute their plans in the final match of World Cup Qualifying. USA vs Costa Rica will provide final clarity on who is going directly to Qatar and who will be playing in an intercontinental one-match playoff. The scenarios are out there, for both teams to make it straight to Qatar or finish in the playoff spot. Neither team will drop below fourth place, so let’s look at the possible scenarios!
USMNT just can’t lose by six goals
We’ve been saying this for the past four years. Until the USMNT is officially qualified for Qatar 2022, there will be some doubt surrounding this team. Flashbacks to 2017 in Couva, Trinidad fill USMNT fans’ minds all too easily. This is a normal concern as all the team had to do back then to qualify was draw an already eliminated Trinidad and Tobago and failed to get that. Missing out on the 2018 World Cup was a dark point for US Soccer, and now they have a huge opportunity to make fans look to the future rather than the past!
Tonight in USA vs Costa Rica all the USMNT have to do is not lose by six goals. If they can manage that, and they should easily do, then they will be in the 2022 World Cup! The work is cut out for the USMNT, who will feel like there is still work to do. Even though some players held a “Qualified” banner after a 5-1 win over Panama on Sunday, the team still has work to do. Berhalter and the players will be up for this one against a Costa Rica team that is still very much alive.
Costa Rica is still very much alive
USA vs Costa Rica is an important match for host Los Ticos. They know the only way to jump the USA is to win by six goals, but there are other scenarios for them to get to an auto qualifying spot as well. The odds might not be in their favor for this other scenario, but you never know what can happen in Concacaf! If Costa Rica can beat the USA by four, and Mexico loses to El Salvador, then we’d see movement on the table. Mexico would drop to the playoff, and Costa Rica and the USA would be off to Qatar. Could either of these scenarios happen?
While unlikely, Costa Rica is the hottest team in Concacaf right now. They are unbeaten in their last six matches, winning five and drawing one. Across this time they have scored seven goals and let up only two. Add to this the only nation to get a victory over Canada, and their ability to keep Mexico scoreless at the Azteca and this team looks like a very determined one! In USA vs Costa Rica, can the hosts win by four or six goals to get to an auto-qualifying spot? The USA is looking to answer no to that question.
What to expect from this match
The USMNT has never won at Costa Rica in a World Cup Qualifier. While this game is not a must-win for the USA, it does not mean that they won’t try to get their first win in San Jose. Gregg Berhalter knows firsthand that anything can happen in USA vs Costa Rica matches. He’ll have his team prepared to not allow for any scenario that would have fans saying “here we go again.”
The USA has a talented team! This should be the final intense match they play before playing in the World Cup Group Stage in November. Gregg should play his best XI in this match and push for a win! I expect to see the likes of Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Tim Weah, Yunus Mussah, and Tyler Adams all on the pitch together in this game.
While the goal is to not lose by six, making history at World Cup Qualifying by winning in Costa Rica for the first time en route to officially qualifying for Qatar 2022 would be a huge character-building moment! Make sure to tune in to USA vs Costa Rica tonight at 9:05 pm to see this team make history!
Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union and other soccer content!
Follow our Union team on Twitter:
Doop on Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire