AL-RAYAN, Qatar (AP) – Christian Pulisic covered his face as he left. Tyler Adams, Weston McKinney and Clean Acosta gathered for a group hug. Tim Weh, DeAndre Yedlin, and Shawn Johnson sat on the field in a small circle with their cleats open.
“It pains us after such a tough loss when we feel we could have had more,” Pulisic said, managing a voice just above a whisper. “We don’t want to feel like that again.”
USA return to the World Cup It ended with a 3-1 loss against the Netherlands on Saturday in the round of 16. While the Orange team extended its unbeaten streak to 19 matches and advanced to the quarter-finals with Argentina.the Americans thought about how far they had come and how short they were.
Defensive lapses gave the Dutch a treat, with Memphis Depay scoring in the 10th minute and Daley Blind scoring in first-half stoppage time.
The United States’ hopes were rekindled when Pulisic’s cross hit the late foot of second-half substitute Haji Wright, went over goalkeeper Andres Nobert and into the net in the 76th minute. But Denzel Dumfries, named after actor Denzel Washington, scored with a volley in the 81st minute after assisting the Achieve the first two goals.
“The American public should be hopeful,” said Greg Berhalter, the first person to play for and coach the U.S. national team in a World Cup. “When you look at the way we wanted to play and we actually played, it has to be positive.”
The United States has not reached the quarterfinals since 2002 and was eliminated in the first knockout round, just like in 2010 and 2014.
After the American failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament, Yedlin was the only one left on the list who was the second-youngest player in the tournament, averaging just over 25.
“They now know that the feeling of what they might lose after they put so much into it, the sense of defeat from the past can only enhance future success,” said the 29-year-old defender.
The United States have not won 12 matches against European opponents at the World Cup since 2002 and have won once and lost seven in knockout rounds since the tournament’s inception in 1930.
“This tournament has really brought back a lot of confidence, brought back a lot of respect for American football and soccer in our country,” said McKinney. “I think we’ve shown that we can be giants eventually. We may not be there yet, but I think we’re definitely on our way.”
Before a crowd of 44,846 at the renovated Khalifa International Stadium, Pulisic had a chance to put the United States ahead in the third minute. McKinney threw a poor takedown into the box, however Nobert blocked his shot from the starting point with his left thigh.
“I thought I was offside when it happened, but I still hit the ball and made good saves,” said Pulisic.
The Dutch took the lead when Cody Gakbo played the ball to Dumfries on the right flank. Depay sprinted into the box where Adams failed to track him down and Dumfries once crossed a cross which Depay redirected into Matt Turner’s far center For the first goal against the United States during the tournament’s round of play.
Blind scored in the first minute of injury time. After a throw-in, Dumfries got a cross around Adams and Blind beat late player Sergino Dest to the ball at the penalty spot for his first international goal in eight years..
Wright entered at 67 y He scored his second international goal with an extraordinary touch from three yards out, raise the hopes of the United States. But Dumfries was left unmarked by Tim Ream and Anthony Robinson and headed in a cross from Blind from six yards for his sixth goal.
“When you play with a team that’s that high of quality and give them three or four chances, they’ll put up three or four chances,” said Adams. “We can show that we can stay with some of the best teams in the world, some of the best players in the world, and that’s huge progress for American football.”
The players don’t want to leave the field at first, and they want more time together.
“Just putting perspective and thinking about the trip,” Yedlin said. “Just thank the Earth. After every practice and game we try to do something called grounding. It just helps put the future into perspective, good or bad.”
Others absorbed the defeat without words.
“Just looking around that locker room, the silence is deafening,” Turner said. “We all want to create moments for people at home to fall in love with the game and tonight wasn’t one of those nights, unfortunately.”
Depay alone grabbed the second spot on the Dutch top scorer list with 43 goals, trailing only Robin van Persie’s 50.
The Americans begin the 2026 tournament with a game against Serbia on January 25 in Los Angeles.
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