USMNT reacts to World Cup elimination

Lizzy Becherano
USMNT players react to the 3-1 loss against the Netherlands.
USMNT players react to the 3-1 loss against the Netherlands. / John Todd/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The US men’s national team was eliminated from the 2022 World Cup, after losing 3-1 to the Netherlands on Saturday in their round of 16 fixture. 

The American side kicked off strong, and could have taken the lead within the first five minutes when Christian Pulisic found himself one on one with Andries Noppert, but the Chelsea winger failed to beat the Dutch goalkeeper.

Louis van Gaal's side then responded well, quickly growing into the match and catching the USMNT out with smart counter-attacks. The Dutch took advantage of the USMNT’s defensive weaknesses too easily, inspiring the goals by Memphis Depay and Daley Blind. 

Despite the 0-2, Gregg Berhalter’s team came back stronger in the second half. A string of errors by the Netherlands inside their own box saw Haji Wright send the ball into the back of the net, to half the deficit and reinstate hope. 

But it was only five minutes later that Denzel Dumfries responded with the third and final goal to seal the victory for the Oranje. 

“Looking around that locker room, the silence is deafening,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner after the game. “We all know what we put out there tonight wasn’t our best stuff. There were some great moments, but front to back it wasn’t our best performance. 

“That’s the disappointing part because 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. We want to inspire another generation and I think that’s the clear message within our locker room. When you have opportunities against top opponents on the world stage, you want to put your best foot forward and be able to do that. Unfortunately tonight we weren’t up for it.”

Christian Pulisic echoed Turner’s message, before apologizing to supporters. 

“I’m really proud of this team, how far we’ve come. I hope we showed a lot of people what we can do. It really is a shame. I thought we deserved more from this tournament. We’re sorry, we wanted it so bad. I hope we gave you some kind of excitement and showed you a little bit of what this country is about, what this team is about.”

While USMNT Captain Tyler Adams pointed out he feels the team remains on a positive trajectory, after sharing the stage with the Dutch team. 

“We showed that we can hang with some of the best teams in the world, some of the best players in the world. That’s a lot of progress for US soccer. We’re moving in the right direction for sure, but we need to keep pushing because we’re not there yet. But we’re close,” said Adams. 

“We have four years where we’re all going to be on our own journeys,” added Weston McKennie. “There’s going to be ups and downs in our careers, but hopefully a lot of the guys fight and keep performing in their individual clubs to get back, because there’s no other guys I’d rather go to battle with. I can’t wait.”

After failing to make the 2018 edition of the tournament, the USMNT entered Qatar with high hopes. The American side managed a draw with Wales and England, before beating Iran 1-0 to qualify for the knockout round and face the Netherlands. 

The US men’s national team can now look ahead to the 2026 World Cup, where they will serve as hosts alongside Canada and Mexico.