One More Slip
With the United States doing heavy work securing a position, it is still only one more mistake away from winning the qualifying process. It has two such encounters left, including a match on Wednesday with Honduras, a team that has already been eliminated, and then the large March matchup with Panama taking place in Orlando.
Despite setbacks, the Americans have successfully defended the home turf, with the one blemish including the draw with Canada back in September. However, it is not only within the specter of the 2018 cycle that still hovers in the background, but the United States looks to be playing worse if not better. The runner-up for the international soccer tournament will breathe much easier if they defeat Honduras, but future matches against Mexico and Costa Rica will make it critical that the United States secures business on its home soil.
The Odds Are Still In The Team’s Favor
The tables look incredibly tight, and yet the odds are still very much in favor of the USMNT. Fortunately, fans don’t need a reminder, for they were under much pressure to secure a spot in 2018’s international soccer championship as well. Of the nearly 30 possible scenarios on the final matchday, only a single one would have resulted in a missing spot, and that’s exactly what occurred.
Here are some statistics: a historical average north of 1.6 points has been more than enough to secure automatic qualification in CONCACAF, with the USMNT at an average of 1.8 as of the current time. Outside of what it may seem, is that the United States is really in second place, playing an eliminated team with a fourth-place team at home during the final window of the previous month. This should be enough to claim a spot in the international soccer championship automatically by securing a top 3 position.
Consistently poor results on the road have established a situation in which one more poor result takes them out of the drama. Obviously, it’s far more important to secure qualification in international soccer than to simply score points, but the routine of “two steps forward, 1.9 steps back” has added to the drama significantly.
The question at hand is very much surrounded by the choice of Gregg Berhalter, the current soccer coach of the USMNT. Despite immense criticism, he will not be fired. The team is still playing hard under his watch. Much of the controversy revolves around who his choice of the striker will be. There have been many moments in which Berhalter has delivered with style and gotten results. Delivery on both of the aspects has been the challenge, many believe he has done more than enough to maintain qualification for the role he is currently in.
The players seem to have bought into his strategy. Though there have been bumps along the way, the USMNT hasn’t qualified without them. USMNT is on a shared mission to reach new heights and change its perception that was formally a laughing stock.
Ricardo Pepi has been recommended for the position of best striker due to his inherent nature to get to the end and force the box.
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