"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." - President Ronald Reagan
For years, baseball fans would compensate for another bad season by looking forward to the next season. Brooklyn Dodger fan Doris Kearns Goodwin even wrote a book about it: Wait Till Next Year.
Well, it's wait 'til the next Cup for U.S. soccer fans. I don't know about you but I've been hearing about the U.S. becoming a soccer superpower for some time. In 2022, the problem is that this team could not score, as Jeff Carlisle wrote:
While there was progress in some areas, there is one where the Americans still have considerable catching up to do. The name of the game -- and the hardest part of the game -- is scoring goals, and for all of the impressive play by the US in this World Cup, the Americans found the back of the net just three times in four games. In terms of expected goals per game, the US were in the bottom half of teams that reached the round of 16 (tied for 12th), and also the tournament as a whole (23 out of 32.)
So, for all the talk about how this is the most talented team in the history of the US men's program, there is one area where you could argue that, say, the 2010 side was better -- at least relative to the competition: that team had goal scorers and this one doesn't. Sure, that 2010 side didn't get enough goal production from forwards at that World Cup, but goal scorers can be positioned elsewhere on the field. In Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, that team had a pair of goal scorers that gave the US hope they could win against anyone.
On this current USA team, the reason for such belief has yet to emerge with enough consistency to really take the Americans to the next level, where they can genuinely threaten to beat the best teams enough times to go deeper at a World Cup.
So how does the U.S. team get better? It's not money or resources or a nice play to play! We've got all three. In my opinion, we have to do what the top players in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay do. Our guys need to play in the elite European leagues. Yes, some do but not enough.
A few days ago, my friend in Argentina said that all of their best guys play in Europe, or as he said, they go for "los dolares" or dollars. Maybe they do, but Messi and Neymar are clearly better players because they play away from home. It frustrates the locals that they only see their heroes on TV but it does make them better players.
So I guess that's my last soccer post for four years. The tournament will be in the US in 2026 and do wish the best to this young team.