The Verde Report: US national team lags behind Qatar World Cup – Sport

With Major League Soccer on international break and the FIFA World Cup 2022 Just around the corner, The Verde Report comes to you this week as the Red White & Blue Report. Stay tuned The Austin Chronicle through the winter for World Cup coverage and analysis you won’t get anywhere else.

Hey, at least they qualified?

That’s pretty much where we are with that United States men’s national soccer team on the way to the World Cup, which is scheduled to kick off in Qatar on November 20th. At least and unlike four years ago, the Stars and Stripes will not be watching the world’s most famous sporting event from their home sofas. They’ll be in the mix…it just doesn’t look like they’ll make much noise when they get there.

Aside from the World Cup itself, the US team essentially picked their worst possible time this past week to put together what is arguably their worst 180 minutes of football of the current four-year cycle. Two complete no-shows: first a 0-2 defeat Japan Last Friday, when the Americans recorded zero shots on goal, then on Tuesday a listless 0-0 draw against them Saudi Arabia in a practically empty stadium in Murcia, Spain. head coach Gregory Berhalter certainly wasn’t pleased.

“I think if we all evaluate, which I would say in general terms, there aren’t many players who have reached their normal level in this camp. And that’s just the way it is,” said Berhalter. “So you can ask me about centre-backs, full-backs, forwards and midfield – anyone you want to ask I’d say we’re below our normal level.”

So…no one was good. Great. Those were friendlies, yes, but they were also the last 180 minutes of action that the USA will see before landing in Doha in November. Not that it felt like that. In a typical World Cup year, US Soccer typically schedules three high-profile friendlies on home soil in the weeks leading up to the tournament. It’s big events, typically in NFL stadiums, that create a big buzz atmosphere more akin to a World Cup than you’d ever get at a neutral European venue.

But it’s not a typical World Cup year. Players must return to their club sides for games as early as this weekend before the Winter Mundial disrupts domestic leagues around the world. Most of the US squad is based in Europe, which required that games should be played across the pond for the sake of convenience.

In theory, it’s a good problem that more talented Americans are involved in Europe’s top leagues than ever before. But that talent hasn’t translated into inspiring results since a 2-0 win Mexico in World Cup qualifiers more than a year before the start of the actual tournament. There are problems in central defence; In particular, Berhalter could not find a suitable replacement for Miles Robinson, who tore his Achilles tendon in May. There are problems in attack, with the US appearing no closer to identifying a starting forward than they were at the start of the cycle four years ago. These issues are no longer a work in progress. They are incomplete orders, and they bode ill for a long stay in the Persian Gulf.

For some optimism, fans can check out the latest US injury report and see key names like Tim Weah and Yunus Musah, two differentiators that appear healthy by the start of the tournament. Add to that – for lack of a better word – the magic of the World Cup, where unexpected things happen every four years. Right now the US needs all the magic it can get.

Comments are closed.