US Men’s Soccer: How This Week’s Final Qualifiers Will Shape The World Cup Draw

Written By Russ Mitchell on March 22, 2022 - Last Updated on July 22, 2022
Final Qualifiers for World Cup

Over the last two years, the US Men’s National National Team (USMNT) navigated the pandemic and humid stadium conditions in the Caribbean and Central America. Now comes the finish line. This week’s final qualifiers decide if the Americans will be part of the FIFA World Cup in November.

The US has three CONCACAF matches left before the World Cup draw on April 1. While the Americans are in a good position, nothing is locked up yet.

  • 9 p.m. Thursday, March 24 — US at Mexico
  • 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 27 — Panama at US (in Orlando)
  • 8:05 p.m. Wednesday, March 30 — US at Costa Rica

How to watch the USMNT’s final qualifiers

A combination of streaming services and a decent cable or satellite package should help you find US soccer for the three critical matches in seven days.

  • CBS Sports Network has Thursday’s US at Mexico match. Paramount+, the CBS paid streaming service also carries the qualifier. Spanish-language options include TUDN and Univision.
  • FS1 has the Panama at US match in Orlando. TUDN and Unimas give you Spanish announcing and graphics.
  • The US at Costa Rica finale is less viewer-friendly. Streaming options are Peacock, the NBC streaming service and Paramount+. The only non-streaming option is Universo, NBC’s Spanish-language option.

US vs. Mexico odds

We’ll keep checking the odds as US-Mexico arrives. Sportsbooks in Iowa are close to 50/50 on whether Mexico will win.

Caesars Sportsbook-105+210+305
FanDuel Sportsbook-105+220+320
BetMGM Sportsbook-115+220+333
Betfred Sports-105+230+325
PointsBet Sportsbook-108+225+320
Elite Sportsbook and
Bally Bet Sportsbook
Unibet Sportsbook
BetRivers Sportsbook and
Barstool Sportsbook

About the World Cup draw

This is like NCAA basketball’s  “Selection Sunday,” but on a global scale. You’ll hear about “groups of death” based on the closely-watched outcome.

The World Cup draw takes place at 7 p.m. Friday, April 1 in Doha, the capital of Qatar. That’s 11 a.m. here in Iowa.

The process starts with the FIFA World Rankings, which will be released a day earlier on Thursday, March 31. For context, Mexico is currently No. 12 followed by the USMNT at No. 13.

Then on Friday, April 1:

  • Host Qatar and the top seven teams in the world will go into Pot 1.
  • Teams 8-15 will go into Pot 2.
  • Pot 3 includes teams 16-23.
  • Pot 4 includes teams 24-28, plus placeholders for two intercontinental playoff winners and a UEFA playoff winner.

The 32 World Cup teams in the pots are assigned to 1 of 8 groups of four through the drawing. Each group has a team from Pot 1, Pot 2, Pot 3 and Pot 4.

They do split up teams by confederation, so if the USMNT qualifies, it won’t be in a group with another CONCACAF team.

The four teams in the groups play a round-robin and the top two teams from each group advance to the knockout round, which is the single-elimination bracket we’re all used to.

Will the US qualify for the World Cup?

Canada is the surprise leader of the CONCACAF standings going into the final qualifiers. The top three teams go directly into the World Cup draw. The fourth-place team will play the Oceania winner at a neutral site for a chance to get in.

  1. Canada (7-4-0) — 25 points (Goal differential +14)
  2. US (6-3-2) — 21 points (GD +9)
  3. Mexico (6-3-2) — 21 points (GD +6)
  4. Panama (5-2-4) — 17 points (GD +1)
  5. Costa Rica (4-4-3) — 16 points (GD +1)
  6. El Salvador (2-3-6) — 9 points (GD -7)
  7. Jamaica (1-4-6) — 7 points (GD -7)
  8. Honduras (0-3-8) — 3 points (GD -17)

World Cup 2022 final qualifiers

Three matches are left for teams to secure CONCACAF’s three guaranteed spots or the fourth-place play-in.

Thursday, March 24

  • Canada at Costa Rica
  • El Salvador at Jamaica
  • US at Mexico
  • Honduras at Panama

Sunday, March 27

  • Jamaica at Canada
  • Costa Rica at El Salvador
  • Mexico at Honduras
  • Panama at US

Wednesday, March 30

  • US at Costa Rica
  • Honduras at Jamacia
  • El Salvador at Mexico
  • Canada at Panama
Photo by Fernando Llano / AP
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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