USMNT eliminated from the World Cup 3 things we learned

The USMNT got dumped out of the World Cup on Saturday following a 3-1 defeat to the Netherlands. Here’s what we learned. 

The United States, despite having plenty of heart and grit, ran out of steam in Qatar on Saturday, losing 3-1 to the Netherlands in the round of 16 at the World Cup.

The Americans, one of five undefeated teams at this tournament entering the knockout stage, were unable to get the best of a Dutch team who was lethal with the ball and clinical in their finishing.

The Netherlands advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face the winner of the Argentina versus Australia game. The USMNT have not reached a quarterfinal at a World Cup since doing so at the 2002 tournament.

The USMNT made the country dream over the past two weeks after drawing Wales and England, then defeating Iran to finish second in Group B and advance to the round of 16.

With the USMNT out, now comes the post-mortem. Here are three things we learned from this team.

USMNT eliminated from World Cup: 3 lessons learned

Too naive for such a big game

The Americans were not as astute as their Dutch opponents, giving them too much space in the midfield and allowing the Netherlands to generate plenty of offense.

Down 2-0, the U.S. did pull back a goal but didn’t track back enough and the Netherlands made them pay for it. The U.S. fielded a young team at this tournament and it showed in such a big match.

Elimination play at the World Cup brings the best out of teams. It certainly did for the Netherlands as strikers Memphis Depay, who scored the opening goal, gave U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner and the American backline fits all game. They gave up a third goal and it was lights out.

Should have started Gio Reyna

Another big storyline of this game and tournament was the USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter’s inability to figure out who to start.

Against the Netherlands, Berhalter started Jesus Ferreira. Down 2-0 at halftime, Berhalter put in Gio Reyna for the second 45 minutes and the attack got some of the spark it needed. Why not start Reyna? That’s a question U.S. fans will be asking for years.

This was a talking point in earlier U.S. games at this tournament. Against England, for example, Reyna came in very late in the game. He never even featured against the must-win game against Iran.

The future is bright

The USMNT’s roster averaged just 25 years of age, the second-youngest squad at this competition. Only Ghana had a younger team.

While that youth and inexperience hurt them here, it will serve the team well in 2026 when the United States co-hosted the World Cup with Mexico and Canada.

We will see many of these players in four years time. Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams are all likely to be back. America fell in love with this team the past two weeks. It was great to see. Hopefully, we will see it again in 2026.

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