By RONALD BLUM
AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Christian Pulisic lined his face as he walked off. Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Kellyn Acosta gathered for a gaggle hug. Tim Weah, DeAndre Yedlin and Sean Johnson sat on the sphere in a small circle with their cleats off.
“It hurts after a tricky loss like that after we really feel like we may have had extra,” Pulisic stated, managing a voice solely simply above a whisper. “We don’t need to really feel like this once more.”
The USA’ return to the World Cup ended with a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands on Saturday within the spherical of 16. Whereas the Oranje prolonged their unbeaten streak to 19 video games and superior to a quarterfinal with Argentina, the People contemplated how far they got here and the way brief they fell.
Defensive lapses gave the Dutch a deal with as Memphis Depay scored within the tenth minute and Daley Blind in first-half stoppage time.
U.S. hope revived when Pulisic’s cross hit the trailing foot of second-half substitute Haji Wright and popped over goalkeeper Andries Noppert and into the online within the 76th. However Denzel Dumfries, named after actor Denzel Washington, scored on a volley within the 81st after helping on the primary two targets.
“The American public needs to be optimistic,” stated Gregg Berhalter, the primary individual to play for and coach the U.S. workforce at a World Cup. “Whenever you have a look at the best way we wished to play and did play, it needs to be optimistic.”
The U.S. hasn’t reached the quarterfinals since 2002 and was eradicated within the first knockout spherical, similar to in 2010 and 2014.
After the American failure to qualify for the 2018, Yedlin was the one holdover on a roster that was the match’s second-youngest, averaging simply over 25 years.
“Now they know that feeling of what it’s wish to lose after placing a lot into it,” the 29-year-old defender stated, “and the sensation of defeat from the previous can solely gasoline success sooner or later.”
The U.S. is winless in 12 video games in opposition to European opponents on the World Cup since 2002 and has gained as soon as and misplaced seven in knockout rounds because the championship launched in 1930.
“This match has actually restored a whole lot of perception, restored a whole lot of respect to U.S. soccer and to soccer in our nation,” McKennie stated. “I feel we’ve proven that we might be giants finally. Perhaps we is probably not there but, however I feel we’re positively on our method.”
Earlier than a crowd of 44,846 on the renovated Khalifa Worldwide Stadium, Pulisic had an opportunity to place the U.S. forward within the third minute. McKennie knocked a poor clearance again into the penalty space, however Noppert blocked his point-blank shot along with his left thigh.
“I assumed I used to be method offside when it occurred, however I nonetheless hit it and he made an excellent save,” Pulisic stated.
The Dutch went forward when Cody Gakpo performed the ball to Dumfries on the best flank. Depay sprinted into the penalty space as Adams failed to trace him, and Dumfries one-timed a cross that Depay redirected inside Matt Turner’s far put up for the primary purpose in opposition to the U.S. throughout the run of play within the match.
Blind scored within the first minute of stoppage time. Following a throw-in, Dumfries acquired a cross round Adams and Blind beat a late-arriving Sergiño Dest to the ball on the penalty spot for his first worldwide purpose in eight years.
Wright entered within the 67th and scored his second worldwide purpose on the weird contact from three yards out, sparking U.S. hopes. However Dumfries was left unmarked by Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson and scored off Blind’s cross from six yards for his sixth purpose.
“Whenever you play a workforce with a lot high quality like that and also you give them three, 4 possibilities, they’re going to place three or 4 away,” Adams stated. “We are able to present that we will cling with a number of the finest groups on the planet, a number of the finest gamers in world, and that’s a whole lot of progress for U.S. soccer.”
Gamers didn’t need to depart the sphere at first, wanting extra time collectively.
“Simply placing perspective and reflecting on the journey,” Yedlin stated. “Simply giving because of the Earth. After each coaching and recreation we attempt to do a factor known as grounding. It simply helps put in perspective to come back, good or dangerous.”
Others absorbed the defeat with out phrases.
“Simply trying round that locker room, the silence is deafening,” Turner stated. “All of us need to create moments for folks again at house to fall in love with the sport and tonight was not a kind of nights, sadly.”
Depay took sole possession of second within the Dutch profession scoring record with 43 targets, trailing solely Robin van Persie’s 50.
The People start the 2026 cycle with a match in opposition to Serbia on Jan. 25 in Los Angeles.
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