Let’s start here: The United States women’s national team is either going to qualify for this summer’s World Cup, or get everyone at U.S. Soccer fired.
While there’s been progress in CONCACAF women’s soccer, the USMNT and Canada dominance remains on a level unlike most confederations.
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ESPN’s Paul Carr summed it up nicely while I was working on this particular post. Take a look.
Almost always held on home soil, the tournament plays right into the hands of the U.S. and Canada regardless of how the groups are drawn.
The top two teams in each group make the semifinals, and the teams that win their semi move on. If a favorite is upset in the semi, they simply have to avoid being upset in the third place game.
That means a USWNT team that has lost one of 28 matches in the tournament would have to lose of two in-a-row (or fail even more miserably against inferior group stage opponent). And the chances of the women sleepwalking into the tournament are very slim, given the Yanks didn’t even advance to play for a medal at the 2016 Olympics.
The USWNT has not lost in 2018, only drawing twice in 13 matches.
Their group mates are Mexico, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The USWNT beat Mexico 6-2 and 4-1 in April. T&T lost 5-1 to Mexico in May. Panama is a league below Mexico, too.
Oh and in terms of long time rivals Canada? A 3-1 win and 1-1 draw in their last two meetings.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t watch, or that the matches won’t be entertaining. The U.S. is bringing six attackers with a total of 308 international goals to go with only five roster members featuring 25 caps or fewer.
What it does mean is that the 2019 World Cup is gonna happen for the confident U.S., don’t worry. If it doesn’t, a lot of people get canned. And none of them are going to sleep anxious tonight despite that reality, but they’ll also have learned the lessons the men have not.
Please don’t read this as a cocky tone, rather measured and honest. It would probably be the second most stunning negative moment in U.S. Soccer history if the women failed to qualify for France.