Gregg Berhalter is taking a wide view when it comes to the United States Men's National Team's mixed emotions from Wednesday night.
If anything, the game itself was a distraction, with the USMNT running out 2-0 losers away in Costa Rica, leaving themselves with a 0W-10L-1D qualifying record in this particular part of the world.
It was another of those worrying, lackluster performances that had fans questioning just how this team will cope back at the World Cup, coming up against some of the giants of Europe and South America.
But then, Costa Rica needed a six-goal win to leapfrog the US. So with qualification already assured barring divine intervention, it was clear players and fans alike were distracted. Understandably so.
Berhalter was obviously disappointed to lose, but clearly sees the progress being made by a young, exciting group.
“When you're in this business, man, it's about winning. And when you don't win, even though you get the reward of qualifying, there is a brief moment of disappointment,” he said after the match. “For us, it's about keeping things in perspective. And the perspective is we're the youngest US team to ever qualify for the World Cup, and we'll be the youngest team at the World Cup. That's an accomplishment for these guys. It really is.
“We're competitors and that's why there was a little bit of a lack of celebration on the field. In the locker room, we're partying, we’re going nuts.”
For Christian Pulisic, the contrast in emotions between Wednesday night and Couva in 2017 couldn't be any bigger. The Chelsea winger's tears are among the most prominent images of that painful night and any disappointment at losing against Costa Rica on Wednesday will have been washed away instantly by the joy of simply qualifying.
“I mean, It was one of the toughest days of my life when we didn’t qualify for the World Cup. We’re all extremely proud and – I don’t know, this is where I’ve always wanted to be and right now, just the emotions are a bit crazy,” said Pulisic.
“I think we’re allowed to be happy and proud that we’re qualified for a World Cup, because this process is not easy.”
Now, the USMNT await their fate in Pot 2 of the World Cup draw, which takes place on Friday at 12pm ET.