HTW-March-FIFA-3.23.22

Five Atlanta United players will represent their countries during the March international window: 

Continue below to read more details about their upcoming competitions and how to watch:

U.S.

Teams in CONCACAF like the U.S. play three matches in this window—the final three matches in the final stage of World Cup qualification that will ultimately determine which countries will compete in Qatar later this year. The U.S. needs to finish in third place or better to earn an automatic berth in the 2022 World Cup. (A fourth-place finish would send them into a playoff.)

These three matches will be USA’s last chance to secure its spot before FIFA holds the Final Draw on April 1.

After playing 11 of the 14 matches, the U.S. enters March in second place in the CONCACAF group of FIFA World Cup Qualifying with a 6-3-2 record. If they earn four points or more in this final leg, then the U.S. will automatically qualify for the World Cup. The opponents are top-heavy, so if the United States gets the job done, then it’s proven itself World Cup worthy.

This year, the final round of CONCACAF qualifiers consists of eight teams – known as The Octagonal. In the past, only six teams competed in the final round. In this round, one point is awarded for a draw at the end of regulation (no penalty shootouts) and teams can swap players from game to game (there is no set or final roster). Additionally, although VAR was not implemented until January, it will again be used in this round.

Here's everything you need to know about the USMNT’s upcoming matches and how to watch:

Thursday, March 24 – 10:00 p.m. ET

Mexico vs. USA

Mexico City, Mexico

  • Mexico and the U.S. are two of the top three teams in the CONCACAF table. The Americans are winless in Mexico, going 0-12-3 at Estadio Azteca in qualifying matches since 1949. On Thursday, they’ll be looking to change their luck against their rivals in a high-stakes matchup.

Sunday, March 27 – 7:00 p.m. ET

USA vs. Panama

Orlando, Florida

  • Panama is currently in the playoff slot at fourth place in the CONCACAF table and is knocking at the door of automatic qualification. The U.S. lost the previous qualifier against Panama 1-0, the first loss in its campaign to qualify for Qatar. The team plays on U.S. soil this time around in what many consider a must-win for the Americans.

Wednesday, March 30 – 9:05 p.m. ET

Costa Rica vs. USA

San Jose, Costa Rica

  • The final set of qualifying matches proves to be no easy task for the U.S. as the team travels to Costa Rica to take on the fifth-place nation in the CONCACAF table. The U.S. has only dropped one of the past six matches against Costa Rica, dating back to 2017. However, they’re winless in Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying matches.

Venezuela

While the U.S. is competing for a spot in the World Cup in CONCACAF, Venezuela is competing in CONMEBOL or the South American section. Teams in this grouping include two of the FIFA’s top-ranked teams: Brazil (No. 2) and Argentina (No. 6).

Venezuela has only won three of its previous 16 qualifying matches and is currently ranked last in the group. With just 10 points in the CONMEBOL table, Venezuela has been eliminated from qualifying for the 2022 World Cup but could gain some valuable experience under new manager José Néstor Pékerman, who was handed the reins in late November.

Here's everything you need to know about Venezuela’s upcoming matches and how to watch:

Friday, March 25 – 7:30 p.m. ET

Argentina vs. Venezuela

Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Argentina has already punched its ticket to Qatar and currently sits in second place in the CONMEBOL table, but there’s some history between the two sides that could make this a fun match to watch. Although Argentina owns the all-time record, the teams have played each other close as of late. In the previous five meetings, there were two draws and Josef Martínez scored a goal in the 2016 meeting that resulted in a 2-2 draw.

Tuesday, March 29 – 7:30 p.m. ET

Venezuela vs. Colombia

Guayana City, Venezuela

  • Venezuela faces a Colombia side that is 3-8-5 in World Cup qualifiers. Hernández has two assists for Venezuela and Martínez scored in the most recent match against Uruguay. The two 5-Stripes will be looking to make the most out of Venezuela’s two final qualifying matches.

U.S. U-20s 

Homegrown defender and first-team signee Caleb Wiley was called up to the U.S. U-20 men’s national team for two matches in Argentina. The U-20s will face Argentina U-20s on March 26 and Argentine Primera Division club River Plate on March 29. 

Wiley is just one of 20 players called up, and on March 21 it was announced that Tyler Wolff, a fellow Atlanta United Homegrown, will be joining him. The two will get a chance to impress head coach Mikey Varas as the U.S. prepares for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship taking place this summer in Honduras. The tournament will serve as qualification for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news on our 5-Stripes competing in the World Cup qualifying matches here on ATLUTD.com and @ATLUTD on Twitter.

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