First Touch

What Went Wrong at World Cup?

Gregg Berhalter’s US men’s national soccer team bowed out at the first round of the 2022 World Cup knockout stages with a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands. The USA finished second in Group B behind England after a victory over Iran in their final group match secured a berth in the last 16.

What Went Wrong for USA in Their World Cup Loss to the Netherlands?

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A clash with Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands seemed okay on paper. The Dutch had by no means been at their best in the group stages and the Americans were fancied to frustrate them, having done so impressively against England.

An evening of “what might have been” for the USMNT

Unfortunately for the US, they just fell short on the big stage, despite winning the statistical battle on the night. The US posted 17 shots to the Netherlands’ 11 and had 58% of possession too. However, their lack of big game nous proved costly. Even star man Christian Pulisic proved himself to be fallible with a miss one-on-one early in the first half prior to Memphis Depay’s 10th-minute opener.

Nevertheless, several of the USA’s overseas-based players like Matt Turner impressed throughout the tournament. The Arsenal squad keeper looked dependable and could provide sound competition for the Gunners’ keeper Aaron Ramsdale back in the English Premier League (EPL).

Getting game time must be the main goal for Turner, although that could prove difficult with Ramsdale and Arsenal currently five points clear at the top of the EPL. In fact, the Gunners are now priced as +220 second favorites to win this season’s title with FanDuel. This sportsbook is well-known for its focus on fantasy sports but more recently launched a dedicated sports betting portal in 2018. It’s now one of the leading operators in the US market and the FanDuel promo code is similarly competitive for anyone planning to wager on soccer for the first time.

Plenty of positives for Berhalter and the US ahead of World Cup 2026

Two of the US’ starting line-up were players from Major League Soccer (MLS). To have a fifth of the XI as MLS-bred players should be a feather in the cap of Berhalter. In fact, the roster that flew to Qatar had nine MLS-bred players in total. In addition, more than two-thirds (18) of the roster comprised of current or former MLS players, or those who had spent time training with an MLS academy team. The MLS is certainly improving its quality year-on-year and already the attention is shifting to the next MLS campaign.

The biggest weakness for USA on the night was the left back area. All three of the Netherlands’ goals derived from this region, with Denzel Dumfries doing most of the damage and handing Antonee Robinson a torrid evening. Pulisic will certainly look back at what might have been. Had his early chance hit the back of the net, things could have been all too different.

We saw against England that the American side can press and hold its shape with the best of them. However, when chasing the game, the team quickly lacks shape and this is something for Berhalter and his team to build on for the 2026 World Cup, which they will host alongside Canada and Mexico.

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