Looking back at the USMNT’s last seven WCQ campaigns
Why is the number seven so relevant for the U.S. Men’s National Team?
It just happens to be the number of consecutive times that the Americans have reached the World Cup, which dates back to the U.S. reaching Italy in 1990.
While 1990 doesn’t seem like that long ago, it’s forever for the USMNT, who has taken significant strides forward since falling out of the 1990 competition with three straight defeats and only two goals to show for their entire stay.
Now, the U.S. has their backs against the wall in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for the first time since 2002, when the Americans needed a final day loss from Honduras to reach South Korea/Japan.
Bruce Arena and the American need a positive result on Tuesday, ironically enough against Honduras, in order to see their hopes of reaching Russia next summer lifted. As things stand, the USMNT sits in third place in WCQ on eight points and three matches left to play.
Here, we take a look at the USMNT’s last seven WCQ campaigns and how the Americans fared on their way to each World Cup.
The CONCACAF Championship was used for the final time to determine the two teams that would reach the World Cup, and it was an overall strange year after Mexico was disqualified for fielding overage players.
Finish: 2nd on 11 points
It was a pretty easy route to the World Cup for the United States. They’ll hope to have that same path in 2026...
Finish: Hosts of tournament, didn’t need to qualify
It proved to be one of the more competitive qualifying campaigns, with no nation winning more than four matches in the lead up to France. The USMNT, led by Eric Wynalda’s goalscoring, helped the team finish just behind El Tri at the top of the Hex.
Finish: 2nd on 17 points
Costa Rica was the dominant side during this qualifying campaign, losing just once along their way to South Korea & Japan. The Americans, however, started out hot with five straight positive results, before slowing down significantly and needing assistance from Mexico on the final matchday to take care of business against Honduras.
Finish: 3rd on 17 points
The U.S. and Mexico were riding each other’s coat tails before Germany’s competition in ’06, with the two rivals finishing tied atop the Hex on 22 points. The Americans edged El Tri based on head-to-head results, but that didn’t much matter when the USMNT reached the World Cup the following year and bailed out in the group stage.
Finish: 1st on 22 points
It was a heated race to finish atop the Hex ahead of South Africa’s World Cup, with the U.S., Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica all within four points of one another. The Americans were also riding in hot after their strong FIFA Confederations Cup campaign in 2009, which saw the team capture a historic 2-0 victory against Spain in the semifinals.
Finish: 1st on 20 points
In the build up to Brazil, the U.S. managed to dominate CONCACAF, taking eight positive results out of its 10 Hexagonal fixtures. The Yanks even helped Mexico reach the World Cup with its final-day victory over Panama, who were on the verge of finishing ahead of El Tri.
Finish: 1st on 22 points