The USMNT Won't Be in the 2018 World Cup
For the first time in 28 years, the USMNT won't participate in the World Cup and things don't look great for soccer in this country.
The USMNT was eliminated from making the 2018 World Cup after losing to Trinidad 2-1. The last time the U.S. Men’s soccer team didn’t make the World Cup was ten years before I was born in 1986. The 1990 World Cup ended a drought of 40 years, and if the U.S. is headed in that direction with soccer, Lord help us all.
America’s soccer team is, uh, not good. They have a single shining spot on the team in Christian Pulisic, the 19-year-old phenom who scored the only goal Tuesday night for the U.S. Men's. Tim Howard has been the keeper for the National team since I can remember even paying attention to soccer, which has been around ten years. I’ve never followed soccer religiously, but I have followed the National team casually. I’ve found a recurring theme with the team: it’s players are old. Tim Howard is 38, which doesn’t seem too old when you compare him to Tom Brady, but Brady is still extremely good at throwing a football at 40 years old. Howard has been great though; back during the 2014 World Cup he set the record against the Belgium national team in the round of 16 with at least 48 saves. He really had 16 saves that game, but the point is that his best is behind him.
Michael Bradley is only 30 years old, but playing with him on FIFA 17 was a struggle because he got outrun by literally any player on that game. I know it’s just FIFA but if you can’t outrun someone in FIFA, I don’t think you can outrun many players in reality. Jozy Altidore has been playing for at least 19 years and he’s only 27. Altidore was a hot commodity when I was in middle school, but hasn’t amounted to all of the hype. Graham Zusi is 31 years old and got moved out of his forward position on his MLS squad, Sporting KC, at the beginning of this season because, well, he’s old.
The USMNT is using DeAndre Yedlin, who I fell in love with during the 2014 World Cup, because he’s a short speedy guy that got every U.S. fan hyped when he subbed in. The team used Dom Dwyer, Orlando City’s forward, during some qualifying and exhibition matches over the summer, and he completely blew me away. He scored goals and had tons of other opportunities and spread the field for others to get opportunities. Dwyer, however, did not make the final roster for some reason. Other than Pulisic, Yedlin, and Bobby Wood, I can’t really tell you any players that I get super excited to watch play soccer for our National team. The theme of the team has been Clint Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, and Howard for around two World Cups, plus this failure to even qualify.
The U.S. will not have a team in this upcoming summer’s World Cup for the first time in 28 years, and I’m not sure how many people that casually watch will care. Soccer fans will be pissed, and casual fans will probably forget that the World Cup is even on next summer. The attitude needs to change about soccer in this country in order for the U.S. to even compete at the World Cup. USMNT made the round of 16 in 2014 by a miracle of getting out of the Group of Death, but in 2018 they won’t even get to participate in the Group Stage at all. Someone let Dom Dwyer on the team, someone make the team get younger, someone get some excitement in the sport of soccer for younger kids, someone make the USMNT great for once, someone fix this because this is bad.