I mean, of course this happened. Why wouldn’t it have happened? A draw or a win against a team with nothing to compete for to qualify for the World Cup. That’s all we needed. Hence why our doom was written in the stars. Slamming my laptop shut when the stream ended was the perfect way to end my hopes for the 2018 World Cup. But you know, it’s 2017 and nothing makes that much sense anymore, except for this. This is the most ‘of course’ thing to happen this year, and that’s ahead of the Browns naming their 28th starting QB since 1999. 

The fingers are easy to point: the blunders of Jürgen Klinsmann, the underwhelming 11 we fielded (that is, of course, with the exception of Christian Pulisic, but we’ll get to him later), the field or just that Bruce Arenas is just U.S. version of Sam Allardyce in that he’ll get the job done and that’ll be that. No, the blame is USMNT and the culture of the sport as a whole in the U.S. 

Put your pitchforks down for just one second and hear me out, then promptly beat me senselessly so I can forget about this embarrassment, if only for a little bit. 

The U.S. isn’t a soccer country–maybe because we call it soccer and not football. Sure, the sport is on the rise in our country. Yet, everyone becomes baffled as to why the U.S. can’t produce a world-class team then suddenly becomes a soccer fan and just goes to the aforementioned fingers to point. 

I, by no means, am a soccer expert. Certainly, I’m an involved fan, but there is only one way palatable way to recover from the most embarrassing loss in USMNT history – 2026.

Yep, it’s time to start thinking nearly a decade in advance. Though the own goal will now live in USMNT history as the most dismal mistake by the foot of Omar Gonzalez, those things happen and it’s time for the future. With promising youth talent such as Pulisic, DeAndre Yedlin and Matt Miazga, it’s hard to not be at least a bit hopeful. It’s time to breakaway from the burden of inconsistency that’s Jozy Altidore upfront and the inconsistent nature of Clint Dempsey. The sooner we let the youth take the international level, the quicker we’ll finally have a team that’s of the quality to beat the mighty Trinidad and Tobago. 

Even if all those things happen, there’s still one dire problem – the fans. The U.S. is so used to being a dominant force in all athletic competitions that when we are finally put in our place, we have a tendency to be a bit erratic. We have this sense of athletic entitlement that we are to be the best at all sports, no matter the sport. American sports fans could show up to a sport we have no familiarity with, but would make the argument that Tom Brady would be the best at it somehow because that’s how we are. 

But this, this makes sense. Of course, Pulisic was the only hope in this game, we fielded a terrible 11 and Bruce Arenas is the hospital light of managing. At the end of the 90 minutes, none of that should have been surprising. Despite us being the high and mighty U.S., we deserved this because we don’t deserve the World Cup as a nation. Maybe, just maybe, in 2026, we’ll finally have a manager that cares about the lads we field and the team he manages. And we’ll have a team that isn’t a mix of 18-year-olds and 30-year-olds, and maybe then we can be the dominant team in the CONCACAF. However, with how things are nowadays, there’s a better chance of Count Chocula being available year-round.

@chuck_greenlee

cg153314@ohio.edu

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