The United States Men’s National Soccer Team has missed out on being in the World Cup for the first time since 1986. They have played in every single World Cup tournament since then. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s not something that the fans, nor the National Team, are used to. The USMNT is in a very, VERY bad place. How can you, as a national team, miss out on playing in the BIGGEST tournament in the world by losing to a team like Trinidad & Tobago? This is a disaster. There needs to be action now, not wait and patiently reflect on the situation. ACTION NOW.
I listened to the commentators on television call the USA loss to Trinidad & Tobago a “big wake up call”. This isn’t a wake-up call. This is like not waking up when the alarm clock goes off multiple times, and you’ve missed the most important meeting of your career. It’s like sleeping through an earthquake.
The USMNT has been in a bind since the Jurgen Klinsmann days when he was coaching the National Team, making a lot of bad tactical decisions. They played Trinidad & Tobago in an away game back in November of 2015 for a CONCACAF qualifier match which ended in a 0-0 draw. Alarm bells were ringing back then. Also, for the first time in US Men’s National Team history, they lost to Guatemala in March of 2016, a team that is so subpar, it shocked everyone. To put it into perspective, Guatemala was ranked 131 out of 211. Another red flag.
Their World Cup qualification matches this time around were something else. We lost 4 games, tied 3 games, and won only 3 games. That’s 3 games won out of TEN. CONCACAF is the weakest soccer confederation out of any in the world in my opinion. The only real difficult competitors in the group were Mexico. With all the talent on the team, there was no reason the US shouldn’t have made it in the top 3 of the group. Just because the other teams in the group are weaker than you, does not mean you should be lazy and not give it your all to qualify for the WORLD CUP.
It all comes down to leadership. We need better leadership. When I say better, I mean WAY better. We need someone that’s not gonna lose the locker room. Someone who makes good tactical decisions. Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t do it before, and recent coach, Bruce Arena, isn’t doing it now for the US. Someone needs to step in that demands the best out of their team. Someone who has vision and plays the players in their best positions. Quite possibly someone who’s won big silverware needs to step in and whip the team into shape.
We need to get back on track. Back to winning ways. The whole US Soccer Federation needs to adjust everything within completely. We have the talent, we need to use it and flourish. Alexi Lalas, a person I almost always don’t agree with, said what we were all thinking, “SO, what are you guys gonna do? Are you gonna continue to be a bunch of soft, underperforming, tattooed millionaires? You are a soccer generation that has been given everything. You are a soccer generation that is on the verge of squandering everything”.
As much as there are negative comments on television or people like me that are writing things like this, we still have your backs. We love you. It’s called tough love. You don’t reward your kid and tell them it’s alright when they’ve gotten an F in math class. You tell them to get their asses back in their room and start studying. You punish them by saying no more video games for a long time, which might be paying the players less for performing badly in the case of the USMNT. There are a lot of us that still believe in you and will stick with you, no matter what. Make the people happy.