Last night, the U.S. men’s national team suffered yet another loss at home, this time in front of a measly crowd of 9,214 at a ⅔-empty Red Bull Arena. Costa Rica won 1-0 thanks to a goal from the ever-elusive Joel Campbell in the 72nd, his first since the World Cup.
It was the red, white, and blue’s third straight loss at home – the fourth in six. You’d think that after so much disappointment the team would come out with a little pep in their step, but they were once again lifeless, apparently a bit hungover from the loss to Mexico over the weekend (as per Jürgen Klinsmann):
The U.S. struggled to maintain possession through the midfield, their linkup play with the forward line was often atrocious. They were, simply put, very bad.
Fans probably expected a win from this match. It’s 2015, after all, and the U.S. should be at the top of the CONCACAF thunder ladder, right? Wrong. SI’s Grant Wahl suggested that it might be time for a lesson in humility in the U.S. camp, and I think he’s got a point; CONCACAF competition is fierce right now, and teams like the Ticos aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Just look at the U.S.’s fourth-place finish at this year’s Gold Cup behind Mexico, Jamaica, and Panama if you need a reminder. They aren’t the pride and joy of the confederation, nor are they the guiding light for all to admire from afar (sending home key players who may or may not be injured doesn’t help, either).
Can they make their way to the top? Maybe. Can they do it under Klinsmann? Eh. (Under El Piojo perhaps?) What’s clear is that stopping this downward spiral will involve a major transformation, one that – as Ian Darke suggests – should probably start with a defensive overhaul. Don’t get me wrong, the offense is pretty miserable at the moment too.
Is it time to see if someone else can lead this team to CONCACAF glory?