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Last Word on Soccer 2022: A Memorable Year for NA Soccer

Last Word on Soccer 2022 Classic as the CanMNT Qualifies for the FIFA World Cup for the First Time Since 1986

Last Word on Soccer 2022 was a memorable year for the site. Forge FC became the first-ever CPL team to make the Concacaf Champions League and the Seattle Sounders FC won their first-ever Concacaf Champions League.

The CanWNT also continued their Celebration Tour Games from 2021, this time in Vancouver and Langford. They then played a friendly in Toronto at BMO Field for the first time since Canada won the Summer Olympics in 2021. Also, the CanMNT defeated the USMNT for the second time in four years as they qualified for their first-ever FIFA World Cup since 1986. The USMNT also qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 2022, finishing third in World Cup qualifying.

Meanwhile, the USWNT got revenge against the CanWNT from the Summer Olympics as they won in the Concacaf W Championship Final. Los Angeles FC won their second Supporters’ Shield in MLS while Atlético Ottawa finished first in the CPL regular season. LAFC though was the only one of the two to win their club championship. Los Angeles FC defeated the Philadelphia Union in the MLS Cup Final.

Forge FC has created a dynasty, winning three of the first four North Star Shields with a road win at TD Place against Atletico Ottawa.

Canada, unfortunately, did not get a single point in their first FIFA World Cup appearance in 36 years. Costa Rica and Mexico did not do much better as they also failed to get out of the group stage. Only the USMNT, who drew with both Wales and England, was able to go through to the Round of 16 thanks to a win against Iran.

That is where the story ended for the USMNT as they lost 3-1 to the Netherlands to end their FIFA World Cup journey.

This article was done in collaboration with our four editors, Matt Pollard, Rachael Kriger, Raheem Bashir, and Harvey Cruz, and our authors, Jamie Rooke, Riley Frain, and Robert Jalon.

Last Word on Soccer 2022: Year of the Ages for NA Soccer


Matt Pollard

Matt served as an Editor at Last Word on Soccer this year. He was again the local beat writer for the Colorado Rapids. He continued to lead the two podcasts at the site, Last Word Soccer Club Radio and Holding The High Line. In April, he travelled to the Netherlands to cover Rapids homegrown on loan at Feyenoord. He has since been one of the lead reporters on news and analysis for the player.

What the Cole Bassett Loan to Fortuna Sittard means for all parties


On July 14th, he covered his 100th Rapids home game as a member of Last Word. He was at the front lines of covering Diego Rubio’s record-tying season and Denver’s failed bid to host World Cup games in 2026. Matt provided expert analysis on big moves the Rapids pulled that ultimately led to them missing the playoffs, from Bassett’s loans to trading Mark-Anthony Kaye, Auston Trusty, and Kellyn Acosta.

Analyzing the Mark-Anthony Kaye Trade to Toronto FC from all sides 


He contributed regularly to the site’s general MLS coverage, with a focus on the LA Galaxy. Along with Rob Jalon, the site covered four ridiculous games in El Trafico, the Gs’ return to the playoffs, and their run in the Open Cup.

How and why the Denver World Cup bid failed


Matt led the coverage of the USMNT in 2022, from qualifying for Qatar all the way back in March to the Round of 16 just a few weeks ago. He provided analysis, instant post-game opinions, and insightful player features. Matt showed an emotional touch when needed, with a heartfelt article on the night of Grant Wahl’s death in Qatar.

American Journalist Grant Wahl Dead in Qatar, Brother Accuses Foul Play

Rachael Kriger

Rachael Kriger was one of the site editors this year. This year saw plenty of firsts for the Pittsburgh native: seeing the Sounders be the first-ever team to lift the SCCL trophy and hosting the Last Word SC Radio show (i.e. the NWSL Contenders-Pretenders podcast).

Seattle Sounders make history with first MLS win in Concacaf Champions League

Rachael led our Seattle Sounders and U.S. women’s national team coverage, also helping with the U.S. men’s coverage. She was on hand in Orlando, Florida, for the USMNT’s victory over Panama in March to help qualify for the World Cup. It was the greatest game she covered in person.

USMNT tops Panama, 5-1, building crucial goal differential cushion

Rachael also had a conversation with retired U.S. international Jay DeMerit about World Cup qualifying and the USMNT’s chances in Qatar.

Jay DeMerit previews USMNT vs. Mexico, talks World Cup Qualifying

And, despite all the excitement of the MLS season, Rachael had to lament a bit after picking D.C. United to finish in first place in the East. It’s a mistake she will never make again.

Last Word SC Radio: Can you really believe in DC United?

And while she didn’t write as much as she wanted to this year, Rachael can’t go without thanking her Last Word on Soccer and Last Word on Sports family for helping her, calling her, and offering support to her when her brother passed away unexpectedly in August. The outpouring of love truly bolstered the fact that LWOS is a family.

Raheem Bashir

The CanMNT qualify for the 2022 World Cup with a 4-0 win


Raheem was the last Site Manager for Last Word on Soccer. He has been with the site since December 2019 and has made a name for himself in the sports world, recently writing his 300th article for the site last month. His proudest moment was attending his first CanMNT game (a big thanks to Matt Pollard for helping him get media accreditation for the game). In that game, Canada made history and won 4-0 against Jamaica, allowing Canada to qualify for their first-ever FIFA World Cup since 1986.

CPL and MLS: The growing relationship with Canadian MLS teams

He is also a key contributor to the content produced with the Canadian Premier League as he covered Forge FC and Pacific FC in the Concacaf competitions. This includes a well-researched article on the Canadian MLS teams and their relationship with CPL teams.

Raheem is also in charge of the CanMNT/CanWNT. For the FIFA World Cup and World Cup qualifiers, he created articles on player profiles, which included information about the players’ childhoods. His most notable articles included discussing the careers of both Stephen Eustaquio and Milan Borjan. He is also a regular writer for Toronto FC and made his first-ever media-accredited appearance when TFC tied with the LA Galaxy in September and also saw the CanWNT tie with South Korea in the summer at BMO Field.

Also, Raheem was able to do an article on his hometown team with both Jonathan Osorio and Federico Bernardeschi. Lastly, Raheem interviewed WPSL Canada Commissioner Santiago Almada earlier this year. Raheem Bashir is excited about what this means for soccer in Canada, especially with a pro women’s soccer league also coming up in 2025.

Harvey Cruz

In Daniel Edelman, the Red Bulls have their next midfield general


Harvey Cruz is Last Word on Sports and Last Word on Soccer’s beat writer for the New York Red Bulls and El Salvador. Harvey has been a consistent high-performer for the site, publishing unique articles for the New York Red Bulls to gain traction. A great example of this was talking about Daniel Edelman, and why he could be the next midfield general.

There were a lot of personal milestones for this long-suffering Red Bulls fan. The first was writing his 100th article for the site on Independence Day. It was also a memorable game as Aaron Long scored the game-winning goal on the road against Sporting Kansas City. Secondly, Harvey became an author early this year and then made a huge step with Last Word on Soccer as he became an editor in the middle of 2022. He is now an important voice within the site and now one of the leaders that LWOS relies on. Harvey also makes the article interesting, using expressive words and giving his analytical opinion on games.

El Salvador, Harvey’s other passion, gives Last Word on Soccer a unique voice within the site. As the only El Salvador writer for the site, Harvey gives a personal point of view of his national team, as he was the lead beat writer for the team in World Cup qualifying.

A high-performing writer for Last Word on Soccer, Harvey will look to continue his high production with the site when 2023 kicks off for both the Red Bulls and El Salvador. He has been with the site since May 2021 and has now earned the right to be considered one of the more seasoned writers for Last Word on Soccer.


Jamie Rooke

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Jamie is one of the newer members of the team and is the dedicated writer from over the pond. He may well have Plymouth Argyle closest to his heart, but MLS is a close second and he has covered every game of a disappointing 2022 season for the New England Revolution. This year, Jamie has taken a step up to being an author which he is immensely proud of.

His first proper interview was with Brad Friedel in the November of last year, but in 2022, he has pushed the boat out so as to secure similar opportunities. It began with Jon Bell prior to the season starting and three other Revolution players have followed. Damian “Tico” Rivera, Sebastian Lletget now of FC Dallas, and, most recently, midfielder Matt Polster.

The highlight of Jamie’s year came very recently when he was in attendance at Wembley Stadium for the Lionesses’ win over USWNT. It may not be strictly LWOS but he also writes for Last Word on Football and covered this game for them, our sister site. A preview and an analysis article were written from the match and to top it off, he met USA and OL star Lindsey Horan early the next morning whilst getting a coffee!

This year was a very different and difficult one for the Revolution but he loved it all the same and is looking forward to the next season of Major League Soccer action already.

Riley Frain

Berhalter Breaks Down USMNT 2022 World Cup Roster Selections

In his second season with Last Word on Soccer, Riley Frain was promoted to the position of author having covered both NYCFC and the USMNT. Year Two saw lots of involvement for the New York native spending time at both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field with NYCFC and getting to report on the United States World Cup Roster release which took place in Brooklyn.

Furthermore, Frain played a key role in Last Word’s coverage of MLS throughout the 2022 season cataloguing events such as the departure of Taty Castellanos and Ronny Deila or the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Heading into the 2023 campaign, Frain is looking forward to returning to the press box in both Queens and The Bronx for continued coverage of NYCFC and hopes to have an opportunity to see his hometown club return to the MLS Cup Final.

Robert Jalon

Robert has been part of the Last Word team for the past two MLS seasons. As a Los Angeles native, he focuses on covering the Los Angeles Galaxy and all aspects of the soccer community in the city of angels.  He also covers all things Ecuador in honor of his parents.

Galaxy Should Be Proud, Despite Defeat

Starting as a contributor to the site, Robert was moved up to author midway through this past MLS season. He was in attendance for the incredibly highs and lows of the Galaxy 2022 campaign. From beating the original Chivas in a packed Leagues Cup match and their return to the playoffs to the collapse against Sacramento FC and also their defeat in the playoffs to Los Angeles FC.

He’ll be ever-present again this new season as the Galaxy look to add a sixth star and hope to make a good showing in the new Leagues Cup. Already the “jewel” of MLS, he hopes to be there to capture the moment when the Galaxy is able to claim they are the first tournament champions.

Other Contributors for Last Word on Soccer

John Herdman reveals CanMNT roster for September International Friendlies


Two regular contributors that regularly contributed many articles to the site from January to December are Elias Laradi and Edward Vento. Elias was our regular CanMNT/CanWNT writer. He wrote articles for the CanWNT in the Arnold Clark Cup and also on CanMNT roster reveals and was also a regular contributor to CF Montreal. Everyone at Last Word on Soccer wishes him all the best as he recently said his goodbyes to the site earlier this month.

The leaked USMNT World Cup kits are a national tragedy


This is while Edward Vento consistently wrote about the USMNT. This included articles about transfers and a preview of the USMNT FIFA World Cup. He is an active writer, putting a lot of effort into his “American Abroad Weekly” articles for the site. His most notable work this year was grading the USMNT’s national team kits for the FIFA World Cup earlier this year.

Looking at the other writers, Connor Marshall is a stand-out writer, who has consistently written about the NWSL and what it means for the FIFA World Cup to come to Boston and also on the Yates report, which shows how NWSL and U.S. Soccer failed its players. Felipe Vallejo and Adam Kennedy are also making a great impression and making their name with Last Word on Soccer. Vallejo wrote about the ground-breaking new professional women’s league coming to Canada while Kennedy wrote fantastic analytical pieces, including an article on why Ryan Gauld did not make the Scottish national team.

Additionally, Justin Laniuk and Kiril Anastasov are also writers for the site as Laniuk covers Valour FC and the CanMNT while Anastasov covers Chicago Fire FC.

We also had other writers who are now alumni that contributed a lot to the site. First off, Ben Righetti was an author when he left the site, and his last article was about attending his first-ever CanMNT at BC Place earlier this year against Curacao. Kyle Watson was our York United FC writer, who consistently wrote articles about the CPL team.

Other alumni writers include Daniel Sperry, Alan Hainkel, Megan Swanick, and Trebor Tracy.

The Last Word on Soccer 2022 Overview and What is Coming up Next

Embed from Getty Images

There is always change that happens as years go by. With Apple TV, MLS viewing will change dramatically. Changes are also taking place within Last Word on Soccer. Starting this month, everyone at Last Word on Soccer has officially become a permanent part of the Last Word on Football family. They do great stuff writing about European soccer.

As a result, LWOS will add a North American component to the LWOF for the FIFA World Cups. The LWOS site will still exist though as the site will cover the national teams and club teams in Concacaf like before.

Last Word on Soccer has a great roster of alumni writers who have moved on to notable sports jobs. First, former Managing Editor, Daniel Sperry, is now working for the Kansas City Star. Righetti now works for the Abbotsford Canucks and Watson currently works with the NHL.

Last Word on Soccer wants to thank everyone for viewing and reading our articles. The site wants to wish everyone happy holidays and a Happy New Year.


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