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USMNT could open World Cup qualifying at Trinidad & Tobago as Concacaf unveils schedule

The U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2022 World Cup qualifying journey stands a very good chance of beginning where its 2018 qualifying campaign ended painfully.

Concacaf unveiled the draw for the region’s World Cup qualifying rounds, and while the complete eight-team field for the final round is not yet known, the Americans have a much more clear picture of how their qualifying schedule will shape up.

The draw is a favorable one for the Americans, who won’t have to face fellow Concacaf powers Mexico and Costa Rica until the sixth match of the final round, and both road games against Mexico and Costa Rica don’t come until 2022.

Here is the Concacaf first round groups, which will produce the final three teams in the eight-team final round:

The final round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying begins in June of 2021, with four matches being played that month. The Americans will likely travel to Trinidad & Tobago or El Salvador for its first match, before playing its first home qualifier against potentially Canada or Haiti.

The USMNT will play host to Mexico in October of 2021, and will visit Mexico January of 2022. The Americans will close out their qualifying campaign with a trip to Costa Rica in March of 2022.

What do you think of the qualifying schedule? Excited to see the USMNT youngsters potentially head to Trinidad for some revenge? Ready for a USMNT match in Mexico in winter?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Don’t count out Suriname in group B. The country has recently passed a sport law allowing soccer players to hold dual citizenship with Sutiname and Holland. This is a new development, and has the potential for Suriname to cap a good group of Dutch pros of Surinamese background to join their squad.

  2. Schedule is very different proposition from last time (where we opened with pretty much the worst two fixtures you could want, and played unsuccesful catch-up for the rest of the hex). In this case, it’s going to be about making sure we rack up the achievable points in the first half of qualification, because the back half appears more treacherous (and needing a result on the last matchday away to Costa Rica is not a good scenario). Would love to see us come out of the gate with 13-15 points out of those first 5 games, heading into CR/Mex at home.

  3. Quietly excited about the possibility of a second Snoclasico here in Denver – this time against Honduras – for the rarely-seen January qualifier. Seems possible, especially given the second match of the window is away to Mexico — in previous cycles we have held the preceding game at altitude to prepare for the Azteca. Then again, the weather here is just as likely to be 40 degrees and sunny then as it is to be snowy and frigid.

  4. Bottom line is that we should have enough talent if even only 2/3 of our top players are healthy that the only really tough games SHOULD be Costa Rica there, Mexico and possibly in Canada.If we don’t finish at least 2nd, then Berhalter will have failed.

    • I’m not sure “final position in the qualifying table” is the meaningful metric here. Based on our back-ended schedule, what I’d really like to see us do is put ourselves in a position to start focusing on WC 2022 well before the WCQ process ends. Sure it’s greedy based on our last experience, but the opportunity is out there to begin calendar year 2022 with almost no worries about qualification. To me that’s the true “best situation”. Conversely, I’d say that if we are in anything besides 1st/2nd position after September (6 games in), this would be the time to start really thinking about Berhalter’s position.

  5. If things go to form, those three playoff matches are really balanced. About T&T, they have looked bad for awhile now. One win, two draws and six losses in 2019 against not exactly a murderers’ row. Take away a 15-0 drubbing of Anguilla in a friendly and they scored just three goals in 2019, all against Martinique.


    That said, with long layoffs for national teams, to say nothing of most local leagues, I’m really curious as to how some of these CONCACAF teams will respond come October.

  6. One of my heuristics since I was in college has been results against a common opponent. You both played team x, did you get different results? Can hint at relative quality. Nations League messes this up because so much of your schedule is channeled into a particular level of team. If ES is League B and TnT is League A they don’t have (m)any common opponents anymore. This also messes up the FIFA rankings. Regardless of NL, ES ranks above TnT but the former was feasting on worse NL League B teams and the latter was the relegated from a tough NL League A group. But if wins are what matters to FIFA then the rankings favor B success. So that leaves horse sense. I’d take Gold Cup as my hint. ES was even with Curacao on group points but lost the tiebreaker. Played them to the same score we did. Tied Jamaica. TnT won one game in 12 months — against Anguilla. Before that they bombed out of GC and could only tie Guyana. The reality is even last time TnT emerged from an easy semi group, sucked most of the tournament, then had one lucky home game against a tired US team on a soaked field who didn’t change one starter. So my theory is ES and TnT are group favorites, yes, but in terms of AvF, I’d favor ES to be the team that emerges in the Ocho. I think TnT is falling off. I think a lot of the time people think in terms of the last cycle and outside the regulars it’s usually topsy turvy and not the same teams next time. One team falls off, another emerges.

    • Canada — Haiti is a potential interesting rematch, and Canada has a habit of imploding in key fixtures. Similarly, the groups also set up for potentially Curacao — Panama, which would be dangerous if they showed up as drilled as last summer. FWIW the rankings would say ES Curacao Canada. All this being said, this depends on covid cooperating all fall which may prove naive. It’s not even cooperating now.

    • I think I’d give ES the edge as well, although they’ve primarily moved up the rankings beating minnows in Nations league qualifying and in their League B group. TnT is tough to judge because rarely are all of their best players playing. Either way the US should beat both of those teams on the road especially considering it will be the first match and players should be fresh.
      I know Haiti beat Canada at the GC but given the progression of David and Davies I just don’t think Haiti has the horses to do it again. Haiti also typically plays well in the GC and struggles mightily in WC qualifiers. We’ll see where Davies plays for Canada, for country he’s been far better as an attacker as LB he’s been pinned deep too much. Laryea’s been playing LB for Toronto so that should solve their LB problem and free up Davies. I think Herdman tinkers too much for his on good, Canada changes formation almost every time out.


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