The USA is bidding for the 2018 or 2022 World Cups, the two tournaments up for grabs this December. The FIFA inspection team is set to arrive next week to tour the proposed facilities, and though there's a sense the American bid has little chance of getting the 2018 tourney, the committee has yet to remove themselves from consideration.
According to chief executive David Downs, in an interview with insideworldfootball, the US will only drop their 2018 aspirations if they deem it beneficial to their chances of getting 2022; with Australia already pulling out of the 2018 race, the United States could be next to focus solely on the latter edition.
But Downs isn't ready to make that leap yet, and believes it's unfair for the US to be forced to choose at this point. His assertion that the previous policy of continental rotation would have brought the tournament back to CONCACAF in 2018, and with the US as the only CONCACAF bidder, is tantamount to stating that the US bid should be considered for that edition. Though most observers see little chance any continent by Europe wins the 2018 bid, Downs clearly believes there is a reason to keep the USA's name in the running.
Downs is also not buying that vote-trading will ultimately decide the race, one reason the US has not pulled out for 2018. While acknowledging that his statements might just be a public stance, the US bid risks losing out if their hesitant to play FIFA game. World soccer's organizing body is perhaps the most political of sporting constructs, and it behooves Downs and the US bid to "play by the rules" if they hope to win a bid. In that sense, holding out on 2018 is a dangerous strategy that could lead to neither tournament going to the US, as he acknowledged when addressing the idea of dropping 2018.
The US bid has a lot going for it, and the committee gets their chance to impress the inspection team next week. There's little doubt the country is ready to host a World Cup tomorrow, if necessary; perhaps the real question is whether Downs' attitude towards to the dual-bid ultimately could hurt American chances, or if, as the decision date approaches, politics dictate that USA 2018/2022 become just USA 2018.