USMNT to 'focus on winning' final World Cup qualifier

Lizzy Becherano
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter insists final WC qualifier is no different than any other game.
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter insists final WC qualifier is no different than any other game. / Jam Media/GettyImages

The US men’s national team are one game away from qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

The American side are set to conclude the qualifying cycle on Wednesday when facing Costa Rica at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, where they must avoid a 6-0 defeat to clinch their spot at the showpiece in Qatar. 

After historically missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the USMNT stand on the brink of the tournament with one goal in mind. 

“To win,” said Tyler Adams.

“I want to go into every game with the mindset that we're going to win. And we're in a position right now where, yeah, history sort of speaks where we can come to Costa Rica and get the first win in the qualification process for the national team. So for us, it's again, putting a checkmark next to something that no other team has done.”

The American side is also not taking this match lightly, given that Los Ticos have not lost a World Cup qualifier against the USMNT.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter echoed Adams’ statement, emphasizing the need to finish strongly and treat this game no different than the two prior. Though the US can secure their spot, the focus remains to win, as it was against Mexico and Panama. One slip, and history could repeat itself.

“It's what you choose to put your focus on. And our focus is on winning this game,” said Berhalter. 

“We said at the start of the window, we had three games. And our focus was to try to win each one. And this is no different. So it's kind of easy when you have that mentality from the beginning.”

The USMNT stands in second place on the Concacaf table with 25 points in 13 games, tied with Mexico. Should the American side lose by a margin greater than six goals, they will slip to fourth place and subsequently confront New Zealand or the Solomon Islands for another chance at the tournament.