USMNT qualifies for World Cup: Don’t let loss to Costa Rica fool you, future is bright for American football

July 1, 2014 was the last time anyone saw the United States men’s national team at a FIFA World Cup. It was a 2-1 loss to Belgium in extra time in the round of 16 — you know the one. Nearly eight years later, the Chris Wondolowski misses and those 14 saves from Tim Howard are still fresh. That defeat still hurts. now the biggest podium in all sports will once again feature red, white and blue, and with it will come the highest expectations this team has ever seen.

Wednesday night in San Jose, Costa Rica, saw this young USMNT book their ticket to Qatar, although it came after a poor 2-0 defeat that saw the team inconsistent and struggle with their opponent’s physicality. It was more anticlimactic than exciting, it will raise stupid questions because of the bad taste in the mouths of players and fans, but let’s not forget – kids make mistakes. Young teams sometimes just don’t perform, especially on the road. They may not have followed the instructions to the bone, they were a step slow at times, but there were some encouraging moments early on. And as always, on the road in Concacaf there is nothing else in the sport.

The qualifying moment came after what has been a wild qualifying cycle for the US, one in which depth was heavily tested due to a COVID-influenced schedule that was more congested than it was, and it’s one that manager Gregg Berhalter has handled well. From Weston McKennie being sent home early due to problems off the field to trying to figure out how to deal with all the injuries, it was far from perfect. On the contrary, it has shown that the USMNT is largely back.

In 14 games, only two players, Antonee Robinson and Tyler Adams, played more than 1000 minutes. Just two more, the center back duo of Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman played over 800. So getting this job done was a real team effort, it took a next-man-up mentality and a pool of players committed to making the moment. intensify and meet,

“It’s definitely been a roller coaster,” Christian Pulisic told CBS Sports after the game. “It is never easy to play in these Concacaf countries. We know that. We have endured the most and at the end of the day we are in the top three and going to the World Cup. We are proud.”

Through the ups and downs, through the good and bad results, this team has once again gained a foothold under Berhalter and achieved what they set out to do. Truly Qualifying in 2022 is a continuation of a year 2021 that truly was the time when this generation of players came into their own. That summer they won not only the Nations League but also the Gold Cup. And now 2022 is their chance to show the world that American boys can play too. They have earned that right, through 14 grueling matches and 1260 minutes where the qualification was uncertain, when the game was not always beautiful but where there was a heart and determination that inspired fans who were offended by what they saw not too long ago .

Don’t let this match fool you — this team has been more good than bad, and they’ve been way better than what we saw during the 2018 cycle. Never has the USMNT had so much talent and never before has a team this young worn these colors and managed what they did. They won half their games, conceded just 10 goals in 14 games and averaged 1.7 points per game after just 1.2 in the 2018 cycle. And, perhaps most importantly, this was the youngest USMNT in qualifying history. — 23 years old, 302 days old on average, and they did what the plow couldn’t the previous cycle.

The fan base has been scarred by what happened in 2017. On this evening, the healing begins with a future that has not been brighter.

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