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Report: Concacaf World Cup Qualifying path may be altered due to Coronavirus epidemic

The U.S. Men’s National Team’s plans of participating in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Concacaf Nations League semifinals hit a delay earlier this year and now its plans to begin 2022 World Cup Qualifying is also reportedly in jeopardy of being delayed.

Concacaf president Victor Montagliani stated Monday that the qualification tournament may change due to the delay in international matches already in 2020. The qualification tournament is slated to begin in September, but the postponement of several competitions could force changes to be made.

“It brings in a little bit of an integrity issue when teams haven’t been able to play,” Montagliani said in a conference call with reporters.

“What we’re committed to is ensuring that whatever the format will be, [it] has to be a fit into whatever the new calendar is going to look like,” as well as be done from “a sporting standpoint.”

Three Concacaf teams will qualify from a hexagonal for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, while the fourth ranked team will advance to a playoff to be determined at a later date. That fourth ranked team from the hex will face the winner of a competition which includes the remaining 35 Concacaf teams. The winner of that playoff will advance to the inter-continental playoff in March 2022.

The ongoing Coronavirus epidemic has forced the postponement of this summer’s Olympics in Japan as well as the Concacaf Nations League semifinals scheduled for Texas. The USMNT was scheduled to face Honduras in one semifinal tie with Mexico and Costa Rica meeting in the second.

Gregg Berhalter’s side has only played one match in 2020, a 1-0 friendly win in January over Los Ticos. Its scheduled road friendlies at Wales and the Netherlands were postponed back in early March which were scheduled to be the USMNT’s first away matches since Nov. 2018.

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