DOHA, Qatar — The USMNT lost to the Netherlands 3-1 in the World Cup Round of 16 on Saturday. The U.S. exits the tournament, while the Netherlands advances to the quarterfinals to meet Argentina or Australia.
Thanks for your coverage of the team, and the Cup as a whole, Grant!
This was a worst case scenario outcome. The Dutch outplayed and out-coached the US comprehensively. By 15 minutes into the game, the Dutch looked like they had sorted the US tactics. Both the Dutch goals exploited US weak points. And I think Grant is completely on target when he notes that the team just looked tired, physically and mentally.
I think this is hard lesson for these players, that there's a big difference between what it takes to get out of a group and what it takes to progress in this tournament. I think it'll make them more competitive in the next cycle.
Keeping Gregg for another 4 years would be a criminal waste of talent. There are many reasons why he should not continue but thinking Ferreira should have been on the field in a knock out game (over Gio who is an infinitely more talented player) against a quality side should remove all doubt. Ferreira and Wright and Moore are so obviously out of their league - yet Greg stubbornly played them. We have enough talent to significantly progress over the next four years. But the real question is do we have the leadership in US Soccer?
Big picture could we really expect more? In qualifying we avoided the playoff on goal differential. Then we tied a mediocre Wales team, had a great game vs England and snuck by Iran. At some point you’re going to get exposed for what you are.
Berhalter. What a divisive topic. I have come to believe he did a fantastic job in certain ways. He recruited spectacularly. He built a family of guys who loved playing with and for each other. I think in this World Cup he put his players in positions to succeed.
But I have always believed that he coaches scared. He coaches to prevent bad things from happening more than he coaches to help his team soar. And I think in the end it was his undoing. That type of coaching has a pretty low ceiling, and I think the US bumped into it hard today, in terms of tactics and the exhaustion that stemmed from not having rotated players enough in the first three games.
I work in youth development, and the same kind of debate exists in my field. Do you focus on remediating problems, or on leveraging strengths? My field has moved pretty strongly in the direction of being strengths focused. I think the US needs a coach that does that, too.
A lot of you guys are being VERY harsh.
They made THREE mistakes in the first half. Pulisic couldn’t miss Noppert. Tyler got caught and let Memphis get behind him. Dest lost Blind. That’s about it. Unfortunately, down 2-0 at halftime with a *mountain* to climb in the 2nd half. The guys who scored those 2 goals are VERY experienced, and have been on their national team for years.
Were they exhausted? No doubt! But they had to go 90 hard minutes each group game just to get out. It would’ve been nice if they’d held on to beat Wales and managed to beat England - wholesale rotation would’ve been possible. But that didn’t happen and they had to scramble every single minute all the way. NOTHING came easy. That takes its toll.
The only starter who probably won’t be there in ‘26 is Tim Ream. The core will be in their primes. Guys, the future is brighter than it’s ever been. They need to find a way to get into multiple Copa Americas. CONCACAF isn’t enough. They ALL need super-competitive tournaments against classy competition - players, coaches, staff.
GOT to find a striker.
I think Coach showed us what we already knew. That our”quality” depth is paper thin. Ferreira isn’t close to what Josh Sargent is, and Aaronson is the only threat off the bench ( assuming that Reyna is on the pitch). Missing Miles Robinson drained the CBs and there was no rest for Jedi or Durst . Not to mention that we depended upon a 38 year old ( Tim Ream) in three straight matches. Gregg’s choice of over working the starters is proof that he had no faith in 80% of the back-ups. The energy was gone, as you point out. And Pulisic’s shots were lame all day. But, even at far less than 100%, he was better than any other choice.
Dutch have better coach, had better strategy and have more quality. US needs much more quality up front; CBs will age out by 2026. Is USMNT on the right track? Yes. But the steps become much steeper when you approach the summit.
While the goals today were mostly due to poor defending/marking, our style or tactics and lack of forward play put so much on our outside backs to play the full 120 yards that they were spent in this game. Hard to kill Robinson and Dest when they have to play fullback, mid, and forward each game
The team looks like it’s heading in the right direction. It’s not a finished product, but much better than it has been in a while. I’m not convinced Berhalter is going to improve this team. As you mentioned, the strategy and substitutions are baffling to me.
What are your thoughts on USSF prioritizing the 2024 Olympics?
I know there are issues with clubs not releasing players. But our U23 talent will be medal-worthy at the Paris games.
The Olympics would be a great springboard for 2026, too.
And we have enough talent to send another solid team to whatever CONCACAF or Copa America tournament is happening then.
I agree with you about Reyna ... but seriously, what did he do with the 45 minutes he was given today? I felt he was a complete non-factor, so maybe there just wasn't a compelling reason to get him on the field.
Calling the team exhausted is lazy. The US was outcoached. Obviously the Dutch saw a weakness in the cutback cross and they exploited it. We have absolutely zero game plan in the attacking third and it shows.
Folarin. Balogun. (And maybe Jesse Marsch at some point too).
I think we should try and move on from Berhalter, but I'm not convinced a different coach would have made all that much of a difference. It's also pretty harsh to compare him to a coaching staff of Louis van Gaal, Danny Blind and Edgar Davids. Those guys will outcoach damn near anyone.
Yes, this is the most talented US squad with the most potential we've ever had, but none of these guys are world beaters yet. Pulisic barely plays for Chelsea. Weah hasn't scored a single goal in France this year coming back from injury. Reyna can't keep himself healthy. Our midfielders are great in possession, but none of them have more than 1 goal for their clubs this year. And we expected that lineup to all of a sudden learn how to put the ball in the net? These guys need to learn how to score.
I know US soccer twitter wants to say otherwise, but Memphis is WAY better than Christian. Cody Gakpo is one of the brightest young stars in the game and better than anyone we have. Their fullbacks are seasoned pros who are way clear of ours. It wasn't a bad loss, and it's not that big of an indictment on our coach. We simply got beat by a much better team.
I think there are two things
1. The vitriol from US fans about the roster. Especially bench, who rarely play. Jordan Morris is an example..played a whopping 3 minutes
2. We need a real striker. Pulisic is a floater and a piece, but not the sole answer. We had no real physical presence on Corner of Free kicks. We looked like a bunch of midgets.