PHOENIX RISING FC

USA bows out in World Cup round of 16 with loss to Netherlands

Dec 3, 2022, 9:55 AM | Updated: 4:45 pm
Daley Blind of the Netherlands, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the World Cu...

Daley Blind of the Netherlands, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between the Netherlands and the United States, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

(AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

The United States men’s national soccer team is heading home from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands in the round of 16 on Saturday.

The USA (No. 16 in the world according to FIFA world rankings) won the possession battle over the Netherlands (No. 8) 58-42 and had 17 shots with eight on target but could not find the back of the net more than once despite many great chances.

The Netherlands had two shots on target in the first half, both of which were slotted past USA goalie Matt Turner.

Its second goal was scored by Daley Blind in the last breath of the first half which created an uphill climb the USA couldn’t overcome.

“When you play a team with so much quality like that and you give them three, four chances, they’re going to put three or four away,” USMNT captain Tyler Adams told reporters postgame.

“We can show that we can hang with some of the best teams in the world, some of the best players in world, and that’s a lot of progress for U.S. soccer.”

The United States clawed back in the second half with a deflected goal from striker Haji Wright in the 76th minute to cut the deficit to just one goal.

The momentum was short-lived after the Netherlands put the game out of reach with a third goal in the 81st minute.

One of the best chances of the night for the red, white and blue came early in the 3rd minute when Christian Pulisic was slipped behind the back line but could not slot the ball past Dutch goalie Andries Noppert.

“I thought I was way offside when it happened, but I still hit it and he made a good save,” Pulisic said.

“It hurts after a tough loss like that when we feel like we could have had more,” he added, managing a voice only just above a whisper. “We don’t want to feel like this again.”

The United States finished the World Cup campaign with one win over Iran, draws against Wales and England and one loss.

However, the team could only manage three goals across the four matches.

While the Netherlands extended their unbeaten streak to 19 games and advanced to a quarterfinal with Argentina, the Americans contemplated how far they came and how short they fell.

“The American public should be optimistic,” said USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter, the first person to play for and coach the U.S. team at a World Cup. “When you look at the way we wanted to play and did play, it should be positive.”

The U.S. hasn’t reached the quarterfinals since 2002 and was eliminated in the first knockout round, just like in 2010 and 2014.

After the American failure to qualify for the 2018, DeAndre Yedlin was the only holdover on a roster that was the tournament’s second-youngest, averaging just over 25 years.

“Now they know that feeling of what it’s like to lose after putting so much into it,” the 29-year-old defender said, “and the feeling of defeat from the past can only fuel success in the future.”

The U.S. is winless in 12 games against European opponents at the World Cup since 2002 and has won once and lost seven in knockout rounds since the championship launched in 1930.

“This tournament has really restored a lot of belief, restored a lot of respect to U.S. soccer and to soccer in our country,” USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie said. “I think we’ve shown that we can be giants eventually. Maybe we may not be there yet, but I think we’re definitely on our way.”

Players didn’t want to leave the field at first, wanting more time together.

“Just putting perspective and reflecting on the journey,” Yedlin said. “Just giving thanks to the Earth. After every training and game we try to do a thing called grounding. It just helps put in perspective to come, good or bad.”

Others absorbed the defeat without words.

“Just looking around that locker room, the silence is deafening,” USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner said. “We all want to create moments for people back at home to fall in love with the game and tonight was not one of those nights, unfortunately.”

EXTRA TIME

– The United States trained at Phoenix Rising FC’s former stadium and practice facilities at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler during the team’s January camp.

UP NEXT

The USMNT begins the 2026 cycle with a match against Serbia on Jan. 25 in Los Angeles.

Our World Cup coverage is presented by Estrella Jalisco.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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