U.S. Soccer

After Statement Game vs. Honduras, MNT Looks to #Get3More vs. Panama

After two tough losses to begin the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying back in November, the U.S. Men’s National Team came into Friday’s home match against Honduras with a simple message:

#Get3 points.

By the 54th minute, they had peppered six goals in the back of the net and rode that score line to the final whistle, setting a record for the largest margin of victory in the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying since CONCACAF adopted the current format in advance of the 1998 tournament.

The victory not only provided a boost of confidence, but coming after a bitter 4-0 defeat at Costa Rica in November, it also served as a reminder to the rest of the region what the U.S. was capable of all along.

“I think it’s a statement game for sure,” said veteran MNT defender Geoff Cameron. “I don’t think we expected to win 6-0, but I think we just overall finished amazing tonight. Every opportunity we had we finished, and that’s very clinical. I think overall we pressured the ball and made it difficult. It was a great all-around game for everybody. We knew it was a big game for us. It was a must win and we took advantage of that.”

As Cameron points out, the MNT was efficient going forward, converting six of their eight shots on goal. In defense, Tim Howard made four saves while the MNT midfield and back line often frustrated the Honduras attack. The U.S. has yet to surrender a goal during Arena’s current tenure, posting three straight shutouts.

“It’s three points,” said U.S. captain Michael Bradley. “It’s the first step in terms of getting ourselves back in a good position in the table. We’ve waited a long time for tonight, especially given the way the two games went in November. I thought across the board, every guy stepped on the field tonight with the right mentality, ready to give everything to make sure we walked off the field with three points.”

Having begun the day at the bottom of the six-team Hexagonal, the U.S. jumped up to fourth place by the end of the night thanks to the win and other results around the region. Now they head south to Panama in search of a result on the road that can push them even higher.

“We can build off tonight and we know it’s going to be a tough game down in Panama,” said Cameron. “We’re not expecting to win 6-0 like we did tonight, but we know it’s wide open now with the results that happened. We know if we take care of business in Panama, we can climb the table and get back to where we belong.”

Bradley added, “I think tonight’s a good first step in terms of re-establishing a lot of things for our group in terms of who we are and what we’re about. We move on and get ourselves ready for Panama where we want to get three more.”

#Get3More

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MNT Mar 25, 2017

Paul Arriola Added to MNT World Cup Qualifying Roster

CHICAGO (March 25, 2017) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena has added midfielder Paul Arriola to the roster ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup Qualifying match in Panama. The Club Tijuana midfielder will join the USMNT in San Jose, Calif., prior to Saturday night’s departure for Panama City.

Additionally, defenders John Brooks and Michael Orozco, midfielder Sebastian Lletget and forward Jordan Morris have been released from camp.

After scoring the opening goal, Lletget was forced to leave Friday’s 6-0 win against Honduras in the 18th minute after suffering a left foot injury and will be further evaluated in Los Angeles. Having dealt with a sinus infection during the week, Brooks also departed in the 70th minute.

Morris (right ankle) and Orozco (right knee) carried injuries into Friday’s game against Honduras and did not dress for the match.

With the changes, the MNT roster now stands at 23 players ahead of the team’s departure for Panama City on Saturday night. The U.S. takes on Panama on Tuesday, March 28 at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, live at 10 p.m. ET on beIN Sports, Telemundo and NBC Universo. Follow both matches on U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@ussoccer) and Instagram (@ussoccer) accounts.

Updated Roster by Position (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 34/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 33/6), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 10/1), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 20/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 13/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 3/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 1/0), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; 0/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 16/3)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 1/0), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX; 1/1), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 7/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 32/6), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy; 16/0), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls; 18/2), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 4/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 6/3)

FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 35/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 37/17), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0)
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MNT Mar 25, 2017

Vexed by the Hex? A Simple Guide to the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying

The U.S. Men’s National Team has played in the last seven World Cups – one of only six nations in the world to accomplish that feat – and some people naturally assume that every four years the U.S. is just penciled into the bracket. Not so!

In fact, qualifying for the FIFA World Cup out of CONCACAF  is a marathon. Since the current qualifying format was adopted for the 1998 tournament, the U.S. has had to play 16-18 matches spanning two years in order to book its place in the FIFA World Cup.

In the case of the current cycle, the MNT began its quest to qualify for Russia 2018 when it started play in CONCACAF’s Semifinal Round in November 2015. Having finished on top of a group that also featured Trinidad & Tobago, Guatemala and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the U.S. now finds itself in the CONCACAF's Final Round of World Cup Qualifying.

The six-team group, nicknamed “The Hex” (short for Hexagonal), pits the top two teams from each of CONCACAF’s three semifinal groups – in this case, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and USA -- in a home-and-away mini-league which began in November 2016 and concludes in October 2017. At the end of the 10-game schedule, the top three teams in The Hex automatically qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Meanwhile, the fourth-place team from CONCACAF will go into an intercontinental playoff with the fifth-place finisher from the Asian Football Confederation’s own qualifying tournament. The winner over two games will be 32nd and final entrant into the World Cup.

Got all that?

Here’s a breakdown of the 10-game schedule the MNT will have to navigate to qualify for its eighth consecutive FIFA World Cup, with a little history added in.

USA 1, Mexico 2 - Nov. 11, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio
Having defeated Mexico 2-0 in each of its previous four Final Round matches played in Columbus, Ohio, the MNT went back to MAPFRE Stadium in November, where they fell 2-1 to a talented Mexico side

A deflected effort from Miguel Layun gave Mexico a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute, before the U.S. suffered another setback when goalkeeper Tim Howard suffered a fractured right adductor while taking a routine goal kick and had to leave the match in the 40th minute. After halftime, the U.S. bounced back through Bobby Wood's 49th minute strike and had chances to push ahead that came up empty. Just as it looked like both teams would settle for a 1-1 draw, Mexico captain Rafael Marquez headed home an 89th minute corner kick from Layun to give El Trí all three points.

WATCH: U.S. Falls 2-1 to Mexico in November 


Costa Rica 4, USA 0 - Nov. 15, 2016 in San Jose, Costa Rica

Four days after falling to Mexico, the U.S. traveled to Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica for a match against Los Ticos. The MNT's success rate in Costa Rica had never been great and while the U.S. nearly went into halftime tied 0-0, but Johan Venegas pushed the home side ahead in the 44th minute. Costa Rica then added strikes from Cristian BolaƄos and a brace from Joel Campbell to run out 4-0 winners.

In the days following the match, Jurgen Klinsmann was replaced by former MNT head coach Bruce Arena, who is charged with righting the ship for the U.S. to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. 

USA vs. Honduras - March 24, 2017

With just eight previous qualifying meetings, there’s much less history with Honduras than some of the MNT’s other Hex opponents. That said, Honduras does have its place in the USA’s World Cup Qualifying history thanks to its 3-2 victory in 2001 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. That result ended the MNT’s then record 19-match home unbeaten streak in qualifying and also stands as the USA’s last home qualifying defeat. The team will enter Final Round qualifying riding a 30-match home unbeaten run dating back to that 2001 loss.

WATCH: Honduras hands the U.S. its first home World Cup Qualifying loss since 1985

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Honduras: 5-2-1
All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Honduras:
2-1-0 

Panama vs. USA - March 28, 2017
Having only first met Panama during qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. has become better acquainted with Los Canaleros in recent years. While qualifying visits to Central America are far from easy, the MNT has fared reasonably well in Panama, going 2-0-1 in its three contests at Estadio Rommel Fernandez. The most recent meeting will be fresh on the minds of Panama after the U.S. eliminated them from contention for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in heart-breaking fashion. With only a few ticks remaining on the clock and Panama’s dream of reaching its first World Cup moments from being realized, goals by Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson elevated the MNT to a 3-2 win on Oct. 15, 2013. Adding a bit of irony, the USA’s comeback win handed its nemesis Mexico a lifeline in their bid to advance to Brazil.

WATCH: U.S. eliminates Panama from World Cup contention in 2013

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Panama: 5-0-1
All-Time Away WCQ Records at Panama: 2-0-1 

USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago - June 7-8, 2017
The U.S. will be best acquainted with Trinidad & Tobago after facing the Soca Warriors twice in the semifinal round. While T&T has offered tough challenges over the years, the MNT has dominated the series overall. The 4-0 win in September in Jacksonville moved the USA’s all-time home World Cup Qualifying record to 8-0-1 against the Caribbean nation. The matchup will bring back fond memories for Jozy Altidore, who in the 2008 edition of the series became the youngest player in history to score a hat trick for the U.S. Men’s National Team, tallying all three goals in the dominating 3-0 victory on April 1, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn.

WATCH: Kljestan, Altidore, Arriola lead MNT past T&T in September

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 12-1-3
All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 8-0-1

Mexico vs. USA - June 11-12, 2017
The second half of the cycle begins with the U.S. visiting Mexico and very likely the daunting Estadio Azteca. The heat and humidity of Mexico City in June combined with the 7,380 feet of altitude will certainly be payback for the potentially cold temperatures of Columbus in November. While the more than 100,000 fans packed into the arena create an even greater home-field advantage, the U.S. has put chinks in the armor in recent years. Having first earned a 0-0 World Cup Qualifying draw there in 1997, the MNT collected its first win against Mexico on their own soil in a 1-0 friendly win in 2012, and went on to secure a point from a 0-0 draw in 2013 during final round qualifying. 

WATCH: U.S. earns crucial 0-0 draw at Estadio Azteca in 2013

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Mexico: 6-16-6
All-Time Away WCQ Record at Mexico: 0-13-2

USA vs. Costa Rica - September 1, 2017
Just as the United States has found little qualifying success in Costa Rica, so the story goes for Los Ticos on U.S. soil, where the MNT holds a 6-1-2 all-time advantage. Costa Rica’s last two qualifying visits have provided memorable moments. In 2009, Jonathan Bornstein’s game-tying goal in the 95th minute not only ensured the U.S. remained unbeaten in home World Cup Qualifying, but also helped Honduras leapfrog Costa Rica for CONCACAF’s third World Cup Qualifying place for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In March 2013, the U.S. earned a 1-0 home win against Costa Rica in a match dubbed the “Snowclasico” for its blustery winter conditions at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. As field conditions worsened during the match, referee Joel Aguilar halted the game in the 55th minute to allow the stadium grounds crew to clear the lines on the field of snow. A gutsy performance saw the U.S. win 1-0 behind a first-half goal from Clint Dempsey as Costa Rica departed Colorado with jittery teeth and a bitter taste in their mouth.

WATCH: MNT grinds it out in the snow vs. Costa Rica

U.S. All-Time WCQ Record vs. Costa Rica: 6-10-3
U.S. All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Costa Rica:
6-1-2

Honduras vs. USA - September 5, 2017
Interestingly, Honduras is the only Hex opponent that the U.S. has won against on the road more times than they have at home. The series dates back to a 1-0 victory in San Pedro Sula in 1965 and has seen the U.S. earn two more wins at Estadio Olimpico – 2-1 in 2001 and a 3-2 result in 2009 in a game that feature two goals from Conor Casey and a Landon Donovan free – as well as a late penalty miss by Honduran striker Carlos Pavon - which clinched a berth for the United States at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Still, the U.S. will return looking to avenge its last meeting there. In the blistering heat of San Pedro Sula – matched only by the intensity of their fans both inside and outside the stadium – the United States suffered a 2-1 defeat to open the final round of qualifying in 2013. 

WATCH: U.S. earns 2010 World Cup berth in San Pedro Sula

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Honduras: 5-2-1
U.S. All-Time Away WCQ Records at Honduras: 3-1-1

October 6, 2017 - USA vs. Panama
Historically speaking, the MNT will still be in need of points to qualify when they host Los Canaleros on Matchday 9. The U.S. has won all three of its previous home World Cup Qualifying matches against Panama, outscoring the Central American side 10-0 in process. Nonetheless, the USA must remain vigilant: Panama has earned two consecutive draws on U.S. soil and won the Third Place match of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup in penalties. The 2004 meeting in qualifying added to the U.S. history books when after entering in the 65th minute, Eddie Johnson ripped off three straight goals to become the first player in MNT history to record a hat trick as a substitute. The U.S. ended with a 6-0 win. 

WATCH: U.S. sees off Panama during 2013 Hex in Seattle 

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Panama: 5-0-1
All-Time Home WCQ Record vs. Panama:
3-0-0

October 10, 2017 - Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA
In 1989, the MNT visited Trinidad & Tobago on the final day of World Cup Qualifying knowing that only a win would take the USA to its first World Cup since 1950. On that day, the task of winning away in Port of Spain was no foregone conclusion, and Paul Caligiuri’s “shot heard ‘around the world’ launched the modern era of U.S. Soccer. Flash forward almost 30 years, and anything less than three points there hasn’t met expectations. The MNT learned that lesson last November following a 0-0 draw in its semifinal round match at Hasely Crawford Stadium. With competition in CONCACAF at its fiercest, the U.S. could very well enter the final game of the Hex needing a result to book passage to Russia. 

WATCH: Paul Caligiuri sends USA to first World Cup since 1950 

All-Time WCQ Record vs. Trinidad & Tobago: 12-1-3
All-Time Away WCQ Record at Trinidad & Tobago:
4-1-2

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MNT Mar 21, 2017

Matt Besler and Sacha Kljestan Added to MNT World Cup Qualifying Roster

CHICAGO (March 19, 2017) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena has called defender Matt Besler and attacker Sacha Kljestan to the team’s training camp in San Jose, Calif. Kljestan has been added as a replacement for the injured Bobby Wood (back), while Besler joins camp to bolster the MNT defense.

Besler and Kljestan will join the 25-player MNT roster as it convenes in San Jose ahead of USA-Honduras, presented by Volpi Foods, on March 24 at Avaya Stadium at 7:30 p.m. PT on FS1, UniMas and UDN. Four days later, the U.S. travels to take on Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, live at 10 p.m. ET on beIN Sports, Telemundo and NBC Universo. Follow both matches on U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@ussoccer) and Instagram (@ussoccer) accounts.

Besler was part of all four U.S. matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Sporting Kansas City defender is also tested in the rigors of World Cup Qualifying, recording 10 caps and a goal during the course of two cycles.

Kljestan became just the second player in Major League Soccer history to record 20 assists in a season in 2016. Like Besler, the New York Red Bulls midfielder has a wealth of World Cup Qualifying experience, carrying 18 caps and two goals earned during three different cycles with him to San Jose.

Updated Roster by Position (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 33/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (10): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 33/6), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City; 10/1), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER; 2/0) Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 19/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 12/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX; 6/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 2/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; 0/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City; 15/3)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 1/0), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 6/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 31/5), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy; 16/0), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls; 18/2), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 3/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 5/2)

FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 33/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 36/13), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0)

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MNT Mar 19, 2017

Graham Zusi Replaces Fabian Johnson on MNT World Cup Qualifying Roster

CHICAGO (March 17, 2017) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena has called Graham Zusi to the team’s upcoming training camp in San Jose, Calif. The versatile veteran of the 2014 FIFA World Cup replaces Fabian Johnson, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Zusi will join the 24-player MNT roster as it convenes in San Jose ahead of USA-Honduras, presented by Volpi Foods, on March 24 at Avaya Stadium at 7:30 p.m. PT on FS1, UniMas and UDN. Four days later, the U.S. travels to take on Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, live at 10 p.m. ET on beIN Sports, Telemundo and NBC Universo. Follow both matches on U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@ussoccer) and Instagram (@ussoccer) accounts.

The speedy, skillful Zusi provides savvy and energy. Those talents were on display at the 2014 FIFA World Cup where he played in all four of the USA’s matches and recorded two assists. He made history in the USA’s last World Cup Qualifying meeting with Panama, scoring a thrilling stoppage-time goal during a 3-2 comeback victory on Oct. 15, 2013, to cap off the USA’s first-place finish in the Hexagonal. 

Updated Roster by Position (Club; WCQ Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids; 33/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 33/6), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER; 2/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 19/2), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 12/0), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX; 6/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 2/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 0/0), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas; 0/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC; 15/3)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 1/0), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 6/0, Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 31/5), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy; 16/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 0/0), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 3/0), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 5/2)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN; 33/16), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC; 36/13), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 3/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 8/3)
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MNT Mar 17, 2017
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