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Cerritos Sporting Hero Makes World Cup Prediction


December 30, 2021

Marcelo Balboa grew up on the streets of Cerritos, attending college here before going on to achieve great things with the US Men’s National Soccer Team.

That included helping them to their first World Cup appearance in forty years, a record only broken by failure to qualify for Russia 2018. The defender made 127 appearances spanning 12 years, scoring 13 goals. He played much of his domestic soccer for Colorado Rapids, for whom he is now a color analyst. He’s still heavily invested in US soccer, and he claims the game is on the rise across the nation.

“Soccer is on the rise here in the United States,” he told CPR. “The US is in a battle to qualify,” for the 2022 tournament, said Balboa. “We know that 2026 is going to be in the United States. FIFA is going down to their finals of who’s going to host, Colorado’s in the mix. So, these are exciting times.”

The US will co-host the competition in 2026 with Mexico and Canada, two of the teams they’re currently battling to be at the next competition, Qatar 2022. That will be the first winter competition in history, with temperatures in the Middle East not conducive for summer soccer.

One of the players that Balboa believes will be a key figure for the USMNT is midfielder Kellyn Acosta. The 26-year-old features for the Rapids and has been watched closely by our famous sporting son. He believes the former FC Dallas man will be a key figure in any success the team has in Qatar, and maybe even on home soil in five years.

“He’s a hard worker. He wears his heart on his sleeve when he plays for the US and the Rapids,” said Balboa. “He fought through those difficult times. And now he’s back where he belongs as a big, big part of the US national team.”

The team is on the verge of qualifying for Qatar, with a brace of huge games coming up in the New Year. Firstly, a winnable tie against El Salvador on Jan 27, before a crunch clash with Canada three days later. Two wins and six points would take them into the final game of three against Honduras in a strong position to qualify for Qatar with three games to spare. They’re currently amongst the outsiders with Bwin to lift the World Cup but are well ahead of Canada, Panama and Costa Rica, suggesting they are fancied to be in Qatar. Even a draw with Canada and two wins would put them in a commanding position to erase the bitter memories of Russia 2018 and the abject failure to make the finals.

As for Acosta, Balboa mentioned his struggles; he didn’t appear for the USMNT for two years and only returned 12 months ago after some fine form for the Rapids. He tends to come off the bench for Gregg Berhalter’s team, although he started the 1-0 defeat against Panama in October, which dented the team’s hopes of qualifying early. However, with his current form for his club looking solid, he’s sure to play a serious part in the next few months for both the Rapids and the USMNT.

That will only have our famous sporting son purring into his microphone during upcoming matches!


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