October 11, 2017: The day that will curdle the blood of any United States soccer fan’s heart. This was the day that the United States Men’s National team would lose 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, therefore being eliminated from World Cup 2018 qualification. But as we look back a year later, has the state of U.S. soccer changed much?
Unfortunately, not much has changed. Since then, U.S. soccer has made some changes, but nothing really significant has happened since. Former U.S. Soccer Association president Sunil Gulati resigned and the former Vice President Carlos Cordeiro replaced him. Bruce Arena also stepped down, with Dave Sarachan taking the position has the new head coach of the USMNT.
There has been a lot of other things going on within the organization, such as the other leagues, like Major League Soccer (MLS), United Soccer League (USL) and North American Soccer League (NASL). Unfortunately, change doesn’t seem to be coming any time soon, especially during matches.
On October 11, the United States Men’s National Team faced off against the Colombia national team in an international friendly match. And from the very beginning, it didn’t look good for the U.S.
Despite the team being much younger and containing a lot of fresh faces, the U.S. still struggled in almost every aspect of the game. There were some notable omissions, like Christian Pulisic, Weston Mckennie and Tyler Adams, all of which were withdrawn from the squad due to injuries. Even with these omissions and some new faces joining the team, the USMNT could not pull off a win against Colombia. In the first ten minutes of the game, the team kept losing possession and nearly gave up 2 goals. Colombia’s attack was just decimating the U.S. defense. Even with the center back partnership of Matt Miazga and John Brooks, the team still had struggles containing the Colombian attack.
Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez took first blood, scoring an unbelievably curling shot past U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen in the 35th minute. Kellyn Acosta would eventually equalize in the 49th minute with an incredible run into the box to put it past Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina. The team would show a glimpse of hope, as Bobby Wood scored in the 52nd minute to make the score 2-1 and get the comeback started, but once again, that’s where the team’s struggles came back to haunt them. The USMNT would not be able to maintain the lead as Colombia scored 3 more goals to make it 4-2 to the Colombians.
Despite the team being built around young players who look to build the team’s future, there’s still many problems that the team faces. Even with the great center back partnership of Miazga and Brooks, the defense still needs work. The team has great young attackers like Tim Weah and Bobby Wood, but without a creative player in the midfield like Christian Pulisic, it’s not easy for the midfield to create chances for the strikers. Overall, the team needs depth, and that’s unfortunately what the USMNT lacks now.
Of course, that is only one of the many problems the United States Men’s National Team and U.S. Soccer faces right now. Hopefully 2019 will be a better year for the team, and it can start rebuilding and focusing towards qualifying for Qatar 2022.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at