US Soccer has announced the venue for the final home game for the USMNT in their qualification bid for the 2022 World Cup.
Orlando’s Exploria Stadium will have the honors of hosting the Stars and Stripes when they welcome Panama on March 27 in what will be the last World Cup qualifying game on American soil for a very long time.
The game against Panama will be the next-to-last of the current qualifying cycle, with a trip to Costa Rica three days later, as Gregg Berhalter’s squad hopes to reach the final tournament in Qatar in November.
The stadium is home to MLS club Orlando City SC and NWSL team Orlando Pride. It has been a frequent stop for international games since hosting its first, a 4-0 win by the Americans over Panama in October, 2017 in the second-to-last game in their failed attempt to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Nearly five years later, the hope is that this game will already see the team in a safe place in their qualification bid, and not be the prelude to a disaster as was the case before.
More recently, Exploria Stadium was used for several games in the 2021 Gold Cup, however none of these were involving Berhalter’s squad. The last international played by the Americans on this field was on January 31, 2021, where they beat Trinidad & Tobago by a 7-0 score.
The US will avoid having to qualify for the 2026 tournament, due to co-hosting duties with Canada and Mexico, which will likely make this the final home qualifier until the build-up to the 2030 edition.