Netherlands beat USMNT 3-1 in the knockout round


USMNT lost to the Dutch
Picture: beautiful pictures

How far do moral victories and defeats really go for the U.S. men’s national team? After losing to the Netherlands at the World Cup, the US team needs to look at themselves in the mirror.

There is a word to describe the place United States men’s national team set in the context of international football: Purgatory. The Americans’ third consecutive World Cup appearance ended in the Round of 16 taking place on Saturday. The second youngest team in the tournament – and the youngest to reach the knockout stages – will leave Qatar with more experience, but also full of unknowns. Coming out of the last 16 is better than missing out on the World Cup, as the USMNT did in 2018. It’s entirely fair to treat the business trip to Qatar as a dress rehearsal as North America hosts the four-day event. once a year in 2026. Only the higher-ups at US Soccer know the answer to this question, but it’s important that it be answered quickly – how far will moral victories go. ?

The inexperience of the Americans showed themselves against the Dutch, with a score of 1-3. The killer instinct needed to become a global power is not there. Four years have passed, a 28-year-old person Christian Pulisic will definitely have it. 27-year-old Tyler Adams was on his way to becoming one of the best midfielders in the world at the time. But why isn’t it there now? 20-year-old Landon Donovan did it in 2002 at the age of 20 in the only World Cup in which the United States qualified for the knockout stages.

When assessing the tournament – and indeed the past four years of American football, when everything was headed for the World Cup – the first thing that needs to be assessed is the job status of head coach Gregg Berhalter. The best way to judge whether he should lead the Stars and Stripes team forward is by his own edict. Think of the World Cup as two different tournaments — the group stage and the knockout stage. The head coach oversees everything. When you grade America, you rate Berhalter. USMNT impressed in the first three games as the only Qatar team to not concede a goal in an open game during that period. The two goals in the first half were the Americans’ only scoring attempt in the group stage. So it’s not perfect. The Yanks have progressed and that’s really the most important thing. Undoubtedly, a Senegal without Sadio Mane would be an opponent more easily knocked out. The winners of Group B, England took that right. I gave the US a B+ in the group stage.

Now to that loss to the Netherlands. This is a master class from the Netherlands on how to take advantage of scoring opportunities. The USMNT had a great start, had many chances in front of the Dutch goal and played better overall in the first half. Against good teams, there is no goal, that is not good enough. Dutch-American defender Sergiño Dest had his best 45 minutes in an American uniform to start the game — and was beaten once in the final minute of the game and Daley Blind scored. Adams has been exemplary in the league. The first time he lost track of the opposing player he was responsible for defending, Memphis Depay scored. America’s usually solid midfield looks average in Qatar for the first time. Yunus Musah looked like she was suffocating for about half an hour and never gave up. Weston McKennie didn’t make a huge difference. Adams has put out a lot of fires, but that’s less important in the middle of a hell.

Knockout matches tend to expose every problem a national team brings to the World Cup if you’re on a losing streak. In 2014, the lack of experienced players to finish at the international level affected the USMNT. Jürgen Klinsmann decided to leave Landon Donovan at home didn’t hurt him until the knockout loss to Belgium. For Berhalter, it was his overall personnel choice. He should be applauded for bringing in Tim Ream and playing Fulham’s centre-back every second when the United States is on the field in Qatar. Berhalter brought in the introduction of three strikers, two of which proved to be underperforming at the World Cup – Jesus Ferreira and Haji Wright. When Josh Sargent was injured in the game against Iran, Berhalter had essentially left the US with his pants down, ready to be whipped. Dutch required.

Wright scored the only goal against the Netherlands where either a wrong shot was the perfect decision or his bounce was a stroke of genius. It didn’t matter, he touched the ball clearly and it went into the net.

Wright had two other and unsuccessful golden chances against the Netherlands and he looked completely useless in his other three World Cup appearances. Ferreira started the match against the Netherlands as a central and invisible striker, being substituted at half-time for Gio Reyna. Why is the Borussia Dortmund striker unable to start? Reyna didn’t have a standout performance but wasn’t placed in her ideal position either. Moving Tim Weah into the middle and putting Reyna on the right side of the US attack was a move in the right direction. Having Reyna’s back to goal was an odd tactical decision. Berhalter was late in making substitutions for the entire tournament. He waited too long to put Brenden Aaronson on the field in a win-lose match. You throw everything forward at the risk of your league life and the United States still has a twist in injury time.

In America’s weakest position, bringing three strikers to Qatar was a mistake from the leap. If you’re not going to play Joe Scally or Luca De La Torre for a second of the tournament, why leave Jordan Pefok and Ricardo Pepi at home? Of course, you can’t predict injuries, but Berhalter’s bet on Wright and Ferreira to make the difference is a misstep and speaks to his isolationist mentality more than any other decision. any other decision from the World Cup. Your strikers have scored one goal in four games. No country hoping to win on the international stage has that result. In addition, Aaronson and Reyna have a total of zero starts in Qatar. Two of America’s top five players only featured in the second half of the game. Berhalter’s score for the knockout stage was a D-, just not a total failure because of how majestic the USMNT looks at times.

Tabulating the results results in 75 out of 100. B+ gets 88 and D- is represented by 62. Definition of average. That’s the hard part about leaving the World Cup. This league is like American progress and stagnation coexisting. Berhalter had four years to find a reliable striker but failed. If that guy isn’t in the USMNT talent pool, rely on your system for top notch and Berhalter didn’t make those moves.

The decisions to change franchises are made in the NFL around the starting quarterback position. No team won the Super Bowl without the right signal caller. No team has won the World Cup without a dangerous striker. Without both, you cannot effectively commit the offence. We have seen the United States blow up in Qatar without a strong arrow.

The last two USMNT managers to lead the team to the Round of 16 of the World Cup have resumed their work the following year but are struggling. Bob Bradley was fired in 2011. Klinsmann made it in 2016 and should have been boxed a year earlier. With the biggest risks US Soccer has ever faced coming in 2026, we should soon know Berhalter’s employment status will continue. Did he help enhance the way American football is portrayed at home and abroad? Sure. Has he made enough progress in four years of work? It’s a real coin flip. And why take the risk? chance to win money hold the World Cup on top or tail? That’s why I believe Berhalter needs to go. He left considerable doubt as to whether he was the right man to lead the Yanks forward. And the USMNT can’t afford to go back to the states.


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