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USMNT survives Trinidad, qualifies pre-2026 World Cup test

USMNT's struggles in recent matches overshadowed by their advancement in CONCACAF Nations League and upcoming Copa América tournament. Exciting times ahead!

The U.S. men's national team faced a tense 81 minutes in Austin last Thursday, which carried over into the following week. Despite scoring three late goals against Trinidad and Tobago, the team struggled in the final third, and it was evident in their laborious performance. This was further compounded by Sergiño Dest's red card and Trinidad taking the lead on Monday night.

However, the USMNT managed to secure a 4-2 aggregate win, advancing to the two-leg CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal and qualifying for upcoming tournaments. They are set to participate in the Nations League finals in March and the Copa América 2024, which will feature top South American teams and serve as a 2026 World Cup dress rehearsal.

This is a significant shift from the scruffy CONCACAF games that used to be the benchmark for the USMNT. The team has established itself as the class of CONCACAF and has loftier ambitions. The focus has shifted from overcoming defensive roadblocks to excelling in knockout games against top-25 teams in the world.

The USMNT's readiness for the 2026 World Cup will be tested in the Copa América, where they will face top South American teams. It will be a departure from the familiar CONCACAF opponents and will provide a true measure of the team's capabilities. The upcoming tournament will be crucial in determining whether the USMNT can achieve their goal of "changing soccer in America forever."

The team's performance in the Copa América will be closely watched as it will provide valuable insights into their readiness for the 2026 World Cup. The draw for the tournament will take place on December 7, and the USMNT will have the opportunity to prove themselves on a larger stage. This will be a pivotal moment for the team as they seek to elevate their game and compete against top international teams.

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