Let’s face facts: the USMNT are about to enter their most important two matches in over 20 years. At stake: a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The United States will host Panama on October 6th at Orlando City Stadium, then travel to Trinidad and Tobago to face the Soca Warriors October 10th at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Currently, the USMNT sits in 4th place in the Hex (insert image), tied with Honduras on points but ahead on goal differential. They sit one point underneath Panama for the 3rd automatic qualifying spot out of CONCACAF to head to Russia next summer.
So, what does this mean for the USMNT? This means that #Get3 is no longer the hashtag that we can focus on. We want and need 6 points to get to the World Cup and not have to worry about the inter-confederation playoff in November, or worse. Currently, despite our 4th place standing, we control our own destiny to get to the World Cup. We play at home against the team just above us in the Hex standings, and then we close out against the team at the bottom of the standings. However, to get third place and qualify for Russia, the team must not just control their destiny. They must seize their destiny. It won’t be handed to them, as we have seen thus far during World Cup qualifying. The team must go out and take what’s theirs.
That’s why these matches are important for fans as well. World Cup qualifying is never easy, and this cycle has been no exception. With these last two matches being so important, this is where we need to prepare to support the USMNT and cheer them on. If you’re headed to Orlando or Trinidad, we’ll see you there! If you’re going to take in the matches at a watch party, find the one closest to you and prepare to support with thousands of fellow members from across the United States, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
The United States is one of only 6 countries that have made every single World Cup since 1990 (Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea and Spain are the others). That’s 7 in a row. Of course, we want 2018 to mark 8 straight. Let’s get hyped for these matches, because the team will need our full support. And hopefully, October 10th we can celebrate outlasting the rest of CONCACAF and securing a spot in the World Cup field of 32!