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Pulisic leads USA into the 2022 World Cup despite defeat in Costa Rica

2018 in the rear view

Costa Rica v United States - Concacaf 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Photo by John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Four years on from the pain of losing in Trinidad and Tobago to miss the 2018 World Cup, Christian Pulisic and the USA Men’s National Team have punched their tickets to the 2022 edition, despite another final-day defeat in qualifying.

This time however losing to Costa Rica, 2-0, has meant only a change in the final order of “The Octagonal”, with Canada already confirmed top and Mexico and the US switching places to second and third, respectively. Costa Rica remain fourth, and on their way to an intercontinental playoff against New Zealand, the winners of which will take one of the final three remaining spots at this year’s World Cup. (The other two will come from Europe and either Asia or South America.)

After their Christian Pulisic hat-trick-inspired 5-1 win over Panama on Sunday, the US would’ve had to lose by six goals to fail to qualify today, and in light of that, both teams rotated a fair amount from the weekend. Pulisic did start again however, and played nearly the whole game, so we probably won’t see him this weekend against Brentford — not that it wasn’t going to be a close call either way, just based on the late timing of this qualifier. Keylor Navas pulled off a string of excellent saves for the Ticos, as both teams largely threatened from set pieces (with Pulisic taking a few very good ones).

Either way, congrats, Captain America!