After failing to qualify for 2018, the United States secured automatic qualification to the 2022 World Cup on Wednesday, despite a 2-0 loss away to Costa Rica.
After beating Panama 5-1, the USA had a goal difference healthy enough to block the inter-Confederations Cup, with a three- and a 10-point gap between them and Costa Rica coming into the final qualifier.
It was a heated start, with Keylor Navas present to deny the US in the eighth minute with a good double attempt. Initially denying Miles Robinson a reflex that saved the distance, the Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper was able to prevent the ball from breaking through the American corner.
The game was very tight and the dead ball was a pitch that could reach the goalposts on both sides. The home team finally broke the deadlock in the 51st minute with Juan Pablo Vargas, doubling the line eight minutes from another set by Anthony Contreras.
Both sides finished the third round of CONCACAF by 25 points, but the goal difference separated from the United States by +1 and Costa Rica at +5.
Los Ticos will therefore face New Zealand in an inter-confederation qualifier in June.