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Soccer: U.S. men draw with Mexico, move closer to World Cup berth

Soccer: U.S. men draw with Mexico, move closer to World Cup berth
Miles Robinson (L) and the United States Men's National Team could clinch a spot in the 2022 World Cup this Sunday. Photo by Jose Mendez/EPA-EFE

March 25 (UPI) -- The United States Men's National Team didn't punch its ticket to the 2022 World Cup in its latest qualifying match, but did move closer to a major tournament berth with a 0-0 draw with rival Mexico.

Mexico outshot the Americans 11-9, but trailed 4-2 in shots on goal in the CONCACAF qualifier draw Thursday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Mexico owned 63% of the possession in the deadlock.

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"It was definitely a tough game," U.S. forward Christian Pulisic told reporters. "It took a lot out of us. I'm really proud of the way the guys just put in a shift. Just the effort to make sure we got that point in the end was really big."

The draw provided a point to each team. The Americans remain second in the CONCACAF standings, three points behind first-place Canada. Mexico and Costa Rica round out the Top 4.

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The Top 3 teams in the standings automatically qualify for the World Cup. The fourth-place team will enter a one-leg playoff against the winner of the Oceania region.

Panama and Honduras ended in a 1-1 draw Thursday in Panama City. That result landed Panama in fifth place, four points behind the Americans with two games left in qualifying.

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Costa Rica beat Canada 1-0 on Thursday in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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The Americans battle Panama in another qualifier at 7 p.m. EDT Sunday at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. They could qualify for the World Cup with a win and if Costa Rica doesn't beat El Salvador on Sunday in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Americans DeAndre Yedlin and Timothy Weah will not be available against Panama due to yellow card accumulation.

The 2022 World Cup runs from Nov. 21 through Dec. 18 in Qatar.

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