The United States Men’s National Team’s dream run at the 2022 FIFA World Cup came to an end on Saturday morning following a 3-1 defeat to the Netherlands in the Round of 16.
Lined up against one of the giants of European soccer, the young USMNT side came flying out of the gates. Christian Pulisic nearly opened the scored in the 2nd minute and managed to carve out a couple of half chances immediately afterwards.
Unfortunately, the Dutch punished America’s profligacy in the 10th minute when Memphis finished off a flowing sequence of passing in transition with a first-time shot into the bottom corner. The Dutch conceded possession for the duration of the first half, which slowed the tempo and the U.S. struggled to adjust.
As the first half edged to a close, it looked like the Stars & Stripes might find an equalizer. In the 42nd minute, Sergiño Dest weaved his way into the box past four defenders but his cutback pass was blocked. A few minutes later, Tim Weah uncorked a venomous volley from the edge of the box that drew a diving save out of the Dutch goalkeeper.
But once again, the Netherlands capitalized on the USMNT’s inefficiency in front of net as they scored a nearly identical goal to take a 2-0 lead into halftime,
Head Coach Gregg Berhalter made some tactical and personnel changes to start the second half and the United States grew into the game. Following a series of half chances and quality attacking sequences, the Americans finally pulled one back when Pulisic’s cross was redirected into the goal by Haji Wright to make it 2-1.
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It looked like the USMNT might find an equalizer, but the Dutch re-established their two-goal lead with another bit of clinical play in front of goal. In the 81st minute, a wide-open Denzel Dumphries smashed home a volley on a cross to the back post.
The United States piled on the pressure in the closing stages of the match and came close to scoring a second goal but were unable to find the breakthrough.
Seattle Sounders winger Jordan Morris entered the match in stoppage time and nearly got on the end of a couple of crosses with some clever movement in the box. Fellow Sounder Cristian Roldan was an unused substitute. Sounders Academy product DeAndre Yedlin also provided a spark as a substitute in the second half and helped set up the USMNT’s lone goal.
Although the result was disappointing, the United States’ run at the 2022 World Cup should leave fans everywhere excited about the growth of soccer in our country. The young Americans turned plenty of heads with their excellent performances against some of the top sides in the world. With the United States – and Seattle – set to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the future of the beautiful game in our city is extremely bright.