USMNT World Cup prep impacted by MLS playoffs, early eliminations

USMNT World Cup prep impacted by MLS playoffs, early eliminations

The U.S. men’s national team’s technical staff is always plugged into what its entire player pool is doing on a match-to-match basis. As the 2022 World Cup nears, that’s especially true. And while rolling with the whims of coaches and whom they elect to start at clubs across Europe may be cause for consternation, it’s unlikely to be as agonizing as what has unfolded in MLS over the last couple of weeks.

It was always known that MLS’s early Decision Day (Oct. 7) and single-elimination playoff format would spell an abrupt end to the season for players eyeing places on the U.S.’s World Cup roster. The league’s compressed schedule was a direct result of the World Cup being moved to accommodate the weather conditions in Qatar, so for the U.S., which marks its return to the World Cup stage on Nov. 21, to be relatively unaffected by it would have taken a minor miracle. And yet now that the cards have fallen as they have, there’s some wreckage to assess.

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