The Biggest Takeaway From U.S. Soccer Not Qualifying for the 2018 World Cup
When the next World Cup begins on June 14, 2018 U.S. Soccer will not be part of the festivities due to the gut wrenching loss to Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night 2-1. This will mark the first time that U.S. Soccer has not qualified for the World Cup since 1986.
The U.S. controlled its own destiny, get a result (a win or a tie) against Trinidad and Tobago, the worst team in the CONCACAF tournament, and you were qualified for the upcoming World Cup. Unfortunately, it didn't happen like that.
Often in soccer matches one big mistake is all it takes to swing the game one way or another. We saw two outstanding goals, one by each side that would have left us in a draw and a trip to Russia in summer 2018. However, the one big mistake would come off the shin of an American defender.
Omar Gonzalez was defending a pass into the middle of the field in front of his own goal and attempted to clear the ball. Instead, the clearing attempt went array off his left shin and landed just out of the reach of goalkeeper Tim Howard's outstretched arm for an own goal.
I'm not blaming Omar Gonzalez for this loss because there are plenty of fundamental things wrong with the way U.S. Soccer has conducted itself in the past. I believe it starts and ends with not holding people accountable and not changing up the status-quo.
There has been plenty made of bringing former Manager, Bruce Arena back into the fold and an attempt to utilize a system or strategy that doesn't fit his players. But that's not my biggest takeaway from this devastating underachievement.
What most upsets me and should upset you as well is that we won't be able to witness the most talented, young U.S. Soccer player perform on the worlds biggest stage for another four years....
Christian Pulisic has been a revelation for U.S. Soccer. We were all curious as to who was going to carry the torch after Clint Dempsey decided to hang up his cleats like London Donovan did before him.
The 19 year old has been truly special to watch, the way he not only scores but his ability to set up his teammates to score has been impressive as well. It's a shame that in a day and age where soccer is growing in popularity rapidly throughout the United States that our nation won't be part of the largest world wide tournament.
There's a new star being born and not only will the casual U.S. Soccer fan who only watches during the World Cup not be able to watch him but the world won't be able to either. That fact is an absolute shame and the United States Men's Soccer organization needs to re-calibrate and rebuild around youthful Christian Pulisic.
Hopefully this stunning loss will motivate U.S. Soccer to reevaluate what they're doing and truly put a plan in place to build a program that'll be well respected internationally among the powerhouses of soccer. It starts with the youth programs and developing a system that will breed young players for the big time international stage. We certainly have the money, now we have to make it happen. Christian Pulisic needs help and again the biggest travesty to the U.S. not qualifying for the World Cup is that we won't get to see the best player perform on the biggest stage.