USMNT qualifies for World Cup: Don't let the loss to Costa Rica fool you, the future is bright for USA soccer

The Americans avoided a colossal defeat on Wednesday to punch their ticket to Qatar

July 1, 2014 was the last time anybody saw the United States men's national team at a FIFA World Cup. It was a 2-1 defeat to Belgium in extra time in the round of 16 -- you know the one

Almost eight years later the Chris Wondolowski miss and those 14 Tim Howard saves are still fresh. That defeat still stings. now the biggest stage in all of sports will once again include the red, white and blue, and with it will come the highest expectations this team has ever seen

Wednesday night in San Jose, Costa Rica saw this young USMNT book their ticket to Qatar, though it came following a poor 2-0 loss where the team was inconsistent and struggled with the physicality of their opponent

It was more anticlimactic than it was electrifying, it will raise silly questions due to the poor taste left in the mouths of players and fans, but let's remember -- kids make mistakes. Young teams, at times, simply do not execute, especially on the road

They might not have followed instructions to a T, they at times were a step slow, but there were some encouraging moments early on. And as always, on the road in Concacaf is like nothing else in the sport

The moment of qualification came after what's been a wild qualifying cycle for the U.S., one where depth was tested big time due to a COVID-impacted schedule that was more congested than it was kind, and it is one that manager Gregg Berhalter has handled well

From Weston McKennie being sent home early for off-the-field issues to trying to figure out how to deal with all of the injuries, it's been far from perfect. But, on the contrary, it has shown that the USMNT, in large part, is back

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