Bruce Arena’s legacy is looking vulnerable as the United States men’s national team head into the last two matches of qualifying for the world’s biggest sporting event, the World Cup 2018 in Russia and he has called for support from fans.
Sitting in joint fourth place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal they need to secure a third place finish to gain an automatic qualifier. The fourth-place finisher will play the fifth-place finisher from the Asian Football Confederation, which will be either Australia or Syria in November, in a home-and-home playoff for a berth.
The US face Panama who currently sit in fourth place with 10 points, on Friday 6th October in Orlando and then have a road date next Tuesday against Trinidad & Tobago.
Ahead of the all important matches, Arena sent a letter via social media, claiming his side has the right mentality to advance and asked the fans to help.
Addressing the letter “all of our amazing U.S. national team fans” Arena writes: “Win.
“That’s the message to our players. Easier said than done but that’s all there is to it.
“Yes, we will be prepared. Yes, we will work hard. Yes, we will be ready.
“But winning isn’t just about effort. Winning is a mentality. It’s about fighting for every ball, hunting for every opportunity, staring down your opponent and saying ‘You’re not beating me today.’”
“So why are we confident? I believe in our players. I believe in their skill, their will and their ability. And yes, I believe that we will win. Just as important, we have something our opponents don’t.
“We have you.
“We have fans of all ages. We have fans from all walks of life. We have fans who give everything they have and inspire us to do the same. And when the chips are down and when we need it the most, you are standing with us.”
This will be the first time the U.S. plays its final qualifier with a berth uncertain since 1989, when Paul Caligiuri’s goal in a 1-0 win at Trinidad put the Americans in the World Cup for the first time since 1950.