The United States got outclassed by the Dutch as they head out of the World Cup

After showing their strength in the group stage, the U.S. met their match in the knockouts.

The United States’ World Cup aspirations are over as they taste defeat to the Netherlands 3-1 in the knockout stage of the World Cup. A tactical masterclass by the Dutch was too much for the U.S. to overcome. 

The U.S. started well, instantly attacking the Dutch defense. It looked like the U.S. would take the lead in the third minute. The Dutch defense played forward Christian Pulisic onside,  however, his shot was saved by Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert. A chance that Pulisic had to put away against a Dutch side that does not give many.

The U.S. would concede an early goal in the 10th minute when Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries played an early ball to the middle, finding forward Memphis Depay who slotted it home. An abysmal display of defense by the U.S. as Depay was left wide open with nobody marking him.

The Dutch would let the U.S. have a lot of possession throughout the game but the U.S. could not score from the chances they created. In the 42nd minute, the U.S. would have another chance to score when forward Timothy Weah had his shot saved by Noppert. However, in the last minute of stoppage time in the first half, the Dutch struck again.

Just like the first goal, it’s another poor display of marking by the U.S. defense. U.S. defender Sergiño Dest was caught flat-footed as Dumfries passed the ball to the middle to find Dutch defender Daley Blind, making it 2-0 before the end of halftime. 

In the second half, the U.S. would start well again. From a corner kick, U.S. defender Tim Ream would see his shot cleared off the line by a Dutch player. The U.S. piled on a lot of immense pressure in the Dutch half of the field, but could not find the back of the net. A bad pass from the Dutch fell into the feet of U.S. forward Haji Wright in the 75th minute. However, Wright took a poor first touch leading to his shot being cleared away for a corner.

The U.S. would squander the corner kick but won the ball back. Pulisic squares the ball to Wright who’s shot windup hits the back of the net. A ridiculous shot attempt to get the U.S. back within one with 15 minutes to go.

However, five minutes after Wright scored, the Dutch would put the dagger into the hearts of the U.S. Dumfries, already with two assists, added a goal to his name being left wide open at the back post sealing the deal for the Dutch to move onto the quarterfinals. 

The U.S. was beaten by a better side. They worked hard to create chances, but the Dutch were superior to them. “We deserved more in this tournament,” Pulisic said in his post-match interview. “We wanted it so bad, and I hope we gave you some kind of excitement and showed you what this country is about, what this team is about.” 

Goalkeeper Matt Turner earned the Man of the Match honors, making four saves. “We all know what we put out there tonight wasn’t our best stuff,” Turner said. “We all want to create moments for people back home to fall in love with the game, and tonight was not one of those nights unfortunately.” 

Midfielder Weston McKinnie echoed the same thoughts. “We know that we could have won this game,” McKinnie said. “We didn’t want the journey to end, but we have to keep our heads up because I think this group exceeded expectations that people had for us and I think we’ll continue to do that.”

U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter was proud of his team’s performance throughout the World Cup. Adding that the U.S. has made progress in this tournament. Berhalter will receive a lot of hate in this loss as his team selection and substitutions were questionable. Especially starting forward Jesús Ferreria at striker who had not played any minutes in the tournament and has not played since October. Berhalter was outclassed by Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal tactically.

This young U.S. squad had the country interested in soccer. From being the laughingstock of the sporting world in 2018, the resurgence of U.S. Soccer in this World Cup has earned the respect of others. This group of players now has that World Cup experience under their belt and has something to build on in the coming years. The lack of a true goalscorer and being defensively strong was the downfall of the U.S. in the World Cup. But, the future looks bright, and with the amount of talent the U.S. has they will be back fighting in 2026.

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