Why expectations are higher than ever for U.S. soccer

Christian Pulisic #10 of the United States (Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
Christian Pulisic #10 of the United States (Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images). /

The expectation of US soccer and particularly the US National Team is at its highest…

Years of Failure

After failing to qualify for the 2018 world cup, the U.S. Men’s team was crucified by every pundit covering the sport. It was their abysmal loss against Trinidad and Tobago that solidified their fate and had everyone questioning the future of U.S. soccer.

The team lost 2-1 against a Trinidad and Tobago squad that had already been eliminated from the tournament after losing eight of their last nine matches.

Despite having everything to play for, they were thoroughly outplayed and appeared to be without any passion.

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It seemed like such a distant reality from the one that we knew during the 2014 world cup. Despite having lost in the round of 16’s, the team performed better than expected. After being placed in the group of death, the expectations for the USMNT were low.

Group Of Death

They were matched in the same group as Germany, Portugal, and Ghana.

Germany went on to win that World Cup, Portugal had Ronaldo, and the U.S. couldn’t seem to beat Ghana. It was safe to say that the U.S. had their hands full and that no one would be upset with elimination from the group of death.

However, led by Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard, the USMNT played with the heart required to continue in the tournament.

The U.S exacted their revenge against Ghana, who had eliminated them from the 2010 world cup In South Africa. Center-back John Brooks scored one of the most historic goals in U.S. soccer history after heading in a corner during the 86th minute of the match.

After coming away with a point against Portugal in a tightly contested draw, the USMNT shocked the world and made it past the group of death.

So how did the U.S make it past the group of death in 2014 and not even qualify for the tournament in 2018?


Former USMNT players, Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas ranted about the issues that plagued the squad.
Twellman called the performance “an utter embarrassment” and questioned why the U.S. had not been competing in the Olympics.

Lalas referred to the team as “a bunch of soft underperforming tattooed millionaires,” and proceeded to call out the leaders of the team.

“Howard. Tim, the Belgium game ended three years ago. We need you to save the ball now. Geoff Cameron. Clean it up, or let’s get someone who will,” Lalas said. “Clint Dempsey. Yeah, you’re a national team legend, now we need you to be a national team leader.

Michael Bradley, the U.S. does not need you to be zen, the U.S. needs you to play better. Jozy Altidore, is this really as good as it gets? Because it’s still not good enough.”

Even Christian Pulisic, who was only 18 at the time, was referred to as “wonder boy” by Lalas. Pulisic responded to the comments after a champions league match with Borussia Dortmund.

He told NBC sport’s Joe Prince Wright, “I heard about it. I am not going to lose sleep about what Alexi Lalas has to say about us. He can say what he wants.”

It was a seasoned response by a young player who was only scratching the surface of how good he could be. Fast forward a couple of years and Pulisic is scoring timely goals for Chelsea and looking like their most dangerous attacker at times.

A New Era

Not only is he the exact type of player that U.S. soccer needs, but he is coming into form at the perfect time. It was unfair to ever blame an 18-year-old “wonderboy” for the travesty that was U.S. soccer in 2014. He was too young and inexperienced on the international stage to make up for the many flaws associated with the team.

However, after years of developing and improving in Europe, Pulisic seems ready to lead a U.S. team that has an abundance of talent available to them. With just two years to go before the World Cup in Qatar, it is time to start placing expectations on the side that has been scoffed at by experts over the past several years.

American success outside of the MLS

Tyler Adams, RB for Leipzig, scored the winning goal in the quarterfinals of the champions league against Atletico Madrid. Adams’ late heroics propelled Leipzig to the semifinal round against PSG, where they were defeated in a game for the ages.

The 21-year-old became the first American ever to score a goal in the UCL quarterfinals or later.

Gio Reyna is another young prospect, 17-years-old, who has shown tremendous promise with Borussia Dortmund. Although there has been speculation that Reyna could turn his back on the USMNT, he made sure to put an end to those rumors.

In an interview with ESPN, Reyna spoke about the potential success that he and Pulisic could bring to the team. “I think the idea of us playing together is exciting which, you know, I think people should start looking at that more than comparing us,” said Reyna.
Weston Mckennie has also solidified his status as a more than capable defender for Shalke. Just like Pulsic, Mckennie is only 21-years-old. Each prospect that has been mentioned is extremely young and has been successful outside of the MLS.

Weston Mckennie has also solidified his status as a more than capable defender for Schalke. Just like Pulisic, Mckennie is only 21-years-old. Each prospect that has been mentioned is extremely young and has been successful outside of the MLS.

Yahoo sports soccer writer, Doug McIntyre has already labeled Pulisic as the greatest U.S. soccer talent of all time.

“This is unprecedented,” said McIntyre. “We have never seen this many young players from America be this good.”

dark. Next. Doug Mcintyre labeling Christian Pulisic as the greatest American soccer talent of all time

Not only are these the highest expectations have placed upon a U.S. side, but they finally have the talent to make some real noise in the tournament. By the time of the next world cup, these young prospects should turn into seasoned veterans, ready to take U.S. soccer to the next level.