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The odds for USMNT vs Uzbekistan have been taken from the SI sportsbook, where you could win $200 in free bets if you bet $20.
As the primary hosts of World Cup 2026, the United States’ preparations for the tournament are already underway. Guaranteed a place at the upcoming competition, which will be the first ever to feature 48 teams rather than 32, the USMNT will be keen to make an impression.
Gregg Berhalter, the man who led them at World Cup 2022 in Qatar, is back in charge. His contract expired at the end of last year and he was then subject to an investigation over historic domestic abuse allegations.
That probe revealed that the incident in 1992 involving his now-wife was a one-off, allowing Berhalter to return to take charge of the national team for a second time. His reappointment was confirmed before the Gold Cup, but interim boss BJ Callaghan remained at the helm for that tournament.
It did not go particularly well for the USMNT. They did win the CONCACAF Nations League earlier in the summer, but the Gold Cup saw the hosts crash out in the semi-finals at the hands of Panama, who went on to suffer defeat by Mexico in the showpiece match.
Some wondered why Berhalter was not calling the shots, but he decided that his second spell should start here with a home game against Uzbekistan. There are more Nations League and Gold Cup campaigns to come before 2026, but the focus from now until then will be on the World Cup.
The USA’s best ever showing at that tournament was in the inaugural edition in 1930, when they reached the semi-finals (albeit after winning only two games). Their next best showing was in 2002 with a quarter-final berth - and that will be the objective in three years’ time too.
The federation has put their faith in Berhalter, who continues to divide opinion among the soccer-watching public. The road to 2026 starts now.
With 16 additional spaces up for grabs at the next World Cup, several nations are dreaming of making their debut. Uzbekistan are among them. The Central Asians have never before participated at a World Cup and they will be desperate to end their wait as soon as possible.
Uzbekistan, a landlocked country of around 35 million people, might not seem like particularly probable candidates for a place at the World Cup. And it is true, they have quite a bit of ground to make up. But the expansion at least gives them more reason to dream.
In the Asian section of qualification for World Cup 2022, Uzbekistan finished second in their group in the second round, five points behind Saudi Arabia. That meant they were not one of the 12 teams competing in the third and final round.
Five Asian nations - Japan, South Korea, Australia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia - competed in 2022, whereas there will either be eight or nine involved next time. In the last qualification process, the extra spots would have been taken by the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Oman.
It would take a huge effort for Uzbekistan to be among the qualifiers, but there will now be 18 teams in the third round rather than 12. There is nothing to say that Uzbekistan, the top-performing nation in the Central Asia region, cannot be one of them.
In qualification for World Cup 2018, the White Wolves finished just two points adrift of the top two. Had they beaten South Korea on the final matchday instead of drawing 0-0, Uzbekistan would have qualified for Russia. Do not write them off entirely.
The USMNT will also play Oman in this international break. In October, they will do battle with Germany and Ghana. Some wondered whether Berhalter would save his best players for those two games, but he has picked a strong squad for the September friendlies too.
Christian Pulisic, Timothy Weah and Folarin Balogun are part of the attacking pool. The midfield selection includes Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, and the promising 21-year-old Malik Tillman. In defense are Sergino Dest, Chris Richards, Tim Ream, and Antonee Robinson.
Uzbekistan, the 101st national team that the USA have ever faced, have the Asian Cup in their sights. The tournament will be held in January and they will be looking to make an impression.
But the USA should have too much quality for the visitors to St Louis, whose squad is mostly made up of players who ply their trade in the domestic league. Cagliari striker Eldor Shomurodov is one of seven squad members based overseas.
Uzbekistan have had some decent results of late, although their opponents have not always been the strongest. They will find it difficult to find the back of the net against the USMNT, so a win to nil is the way to go.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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