On the USMNT, and their first World Cup since 2014

I can tell you exactly where I was on October 10, 2017.

It was a fall evening in Atlanta, and the United States men’s national team was about to win against Trinidad and Tobago in Cuba. I remember pictures of the heavily flooded Ato Boldon stadium a few days before the match, because it’s Concacaf and that sort of thing happens, I guess.

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But at a crowded Ri Ra Irish Pub (RIP) in midtown Atlanta, I believed the USMNT would do its job. Simply put, a win will qualify for the World Cup.

It didn’t happen, obviously.

The shock and pain on the faces of the fans gathered there is one image that will always stay with me, I guess. Of course, the USA isn’t exactly the UK when it comes to the world game, but qualifying for the World Cup in a country of over 300 million has got to be a given, right? Especially since you haven’t missed it since 1986 and after reaching the round of 16 in the second round in 2014, 4 years after one of the most dramatic moments in the team’s history played in South Africa to get you to your first round. 16 out of 94 right?

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If anything, the night brought us one of the most memorable television moments in sports history. You know that.

US Training and Press Conference - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Fast forward to now, and the USMNT is back at the World Cup. Let’s not expect the journey to be smooth sailing.

Sure, there were high moments: the 4-1 defeat of Honduras, Dos a Cero in CincinnatiDefeating El Salvador Cold (and snowy) Columbus, Raffle at Azteca The Gold Cup final against Mexico in Las Vegas was probably the last USA-MEX qualifier in its current form thanks to an extra-time header by Myles Robinson and heroics from Ethan Horvath and Christian Pulisic. In last year’s Concacaf Nations League final L Tri.

But then came the lows: a loss to Canada (!) in Hamilton, a deserved draw and the overall frustration of watching a team bereft of ideas. Robinson, in his stratospheric rise from Syracuse University standout to best XI MLS defender and national team mainstay, lay helpless on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium turf, his Achilles torn and his place alongside Walker Zimmerman in the center back pairing. Qatar was gone in a few brutal seconds. There were other injuries, too: not as serious as Robinson’s, but at least you wonder if they can stay healthy long enough to get on the plane.

But the United States has made it incomplete.

Saudi Arabia and the United States - international friendly

Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Even as I type this, it’s hard to believe Christian Pulisic is playing in his first World Cup at just 24 years old. Four years ago, Captain America was supposed to help advance Russia’s attack. Instead he was forced to watch it from home, just like you and me as a mere spectator.

Since then, some fresh, young faces have emerged.

There is 22-year-old Sergino Dest, an up-and-coming fullback in the world who trained at the prestigious Ajax academy but chose to represent the country his father immigrated to as a child.

The son of one of the most popular players in US history, 20-year-old Gio Reyna is poised to make his own mark on the game. He also plays with memories of his brother Jack, who lost his battle with cancer 10 years ago.

Another footballer’s son, 22-year-old Timothy Wee, hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps. his Score in the game. Not sure if he will eventually become a statesman like his father, but we’ll see.

There is 20-year-old Yunus Musa, born in New York but partly raised in England, a youth international with the Three Lions who eventually moved to play for the country of his birth despite his choice of 4, yes, 4 countries.

22-year-old Jesus Ferreira, born in Colombia, raised in Texas, and exported from one of the country’s top youth academies. He spent most of 2022 in search of MLS’s Golden Boot. However, he probably won’t be in MLS.

Brendan Aaronson, who turned 22 last month, hails from about half an hour outside of Philly, came up through the MLS youth circuit, tore it up in the league for a few years (scoring in his MLS debut against…Atlanta United) and now for an American coach in the Premier League. is playing A real life in Wisconsin who grew up around the game, not a fictional one in Kansas, a former successful college football coach.

There’s Josh Sargent, a 23-year-old redheaded Midwesterner who is 17 years old and the father of an 11-month-old, who should be in the USWNT discussion in time for the 2043 Women’s Worlds. Cup.

What if I told you now? It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Reyna, Musa, Joe Scally (19) could be around 2038 after the “old guys” like JD Robinson, Christian Pulisic and Matt Turner are hung up. Heck, with Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Robinson, and Weston McKennie (and maybe even Sargent, Dest, and Ferriera) stepping on the tires for the last time in 2034 should be enough. But more eyes of USMNT fans will be on that 19-24-year-old core than the late-20s/early-30s guys on the team who draw their share of hateful observers and critics. Will this moment be too bright for the youth? Is the campaign fair? Did Greg Berhalter get the roster right, from an overall squad standpoint, including the old players?

Preparations ahead of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

As I write this, in the early morning hours of November 20, 2022, there are still many questions to be answered as the US Men’s National Team prepares for its opener against Wales on Monday. The country in its first World Cup since 1958, but in Gareth Bale is one of the best players in the game. I think we’ll be one step closer to knowing the answer for them on Monday around 4pm (midnight in Qatar) when we celebrate a win/difficult result or commiserate after a loss to England. On Black Friday.

Anyway, a new chapter is about to be written. No one is sure what the ending will be yet. Together we hope it will be a very happy one.


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