The USMNT made the same mistakes that led to their elimination from the World Cup: Can they learn from it before the Copa América?

LANDOVER, Md. — It has been a year and a half since the United States men’s team was eliminated from the World Cup. Qatar at the hands of Netherlands, 3-1 in the round of 16. Against the main rivals before the Copa América, similar questions remain. During a 5-1 rout at the hands of ColombiaThe USMNT paid for their mistakes and coach Gregg Berhalter criticized his team for a lack of respect not only towards their opponents but also towards football.

With less than two weeks left until the Copa América, the only major tournament the USMNT will play in before the 2026 World Cup, this is the exact opposite of what one would like to see. Some difficulties were expected due to the absence of Sergiño Dest, but in reality, the right back was not one of the five main problems in falling against Colombia. Under Berhalter, the USMNT is 35-5-8 against Concacaf opponents but just 8-7-7 against the rest of the world. While it can be difficult to find opportunities for friendlies against major nations, the USMNT has so far proven unprepared for those opportunities as they are still searching for a signature victory and continue to make silly mistakes, like they did against the Dutch. A year and a half ago.

Speaking before the game against Colombia, Berhalter mentioned how these friendlies can help build confidence ahead of the Copa America, but now the result has been chalked up as a reality check before facing off. Brazil in Orlando on Wednesday. There isn’t much time left before facing Bolivia on June 21 to kick off the group stage of the Copa América, but Berhalter and the team will need to find a way to come together and do what is necessary to not only get out of a group that contains Uruguay but also win a knockout phase match.

“Of course, that’s what it is. We were nowhere near the level we need to play to win games before the Copa America.” Christian Pulisic he said in reference to Berhalter’s reality check comment. “Absolutely, yes, for sure. It’s better that it happened now, but we can’t come close to playing like that and expecting to win games.”

Delving into how he got to this point, all Pulisic could say was: “I don’t have any answers for you right now. I have to go watch a little video.”

Pulisic’s opinion is shared by other members of the team and no one made excuses for the performance but they were destroyed by Colombia on the counterattack. It was a pro-Colombia crowd, sure, but that’s something that should only push the team to do better to give their fans something to cheer for rather than the opposition.

“A lot of negative things. I mean, that’s what happens in life. You just have to bounce back,” Tim Weah said after the match. “I think we are a team with a strong mentality and I take full responsibility for what happened there, but we just have to get back to training and recover. Playing against a high-quality team like that is always difficult. Obviously, when I scored, I thought “We had a little momentum. I thought we were going to recover. But it turned out that it wasn’t our day. We just have to recover for the next game.

The accountability factor shown by both Pulisic and Weah will be something that helps the USMNT overcome this result, but faith cannot be the only thing this team relies on. It will only take them so far, and when facing tactically well-drilled teams, it won’t be enough on its own to prove a difference-maker. It takes tactics and skill to take down the top 20 teams in the world and on Saturday, the USMNT lacked in both, just like they did against the Netherlands a year and a half ago.

Louis Van Gaal, the Netherlands coach at the last World Cup, was able to get his players into space with ease because even if the United States knew what they were going to do, no one was stopping the Netherlands from doing it.

“I’m still trying to figure it out. I don’t have much to say right now,” Pulisic said when asked what he would say to the team as captain. “I need to hang out, I need to watch some movie, but I think we need to start right now and hold each other accountable because, I would say, it just has to be better.”

It is necessary to reflect on this result and also how to avoid it again in the future because even if the United States could get out of its group in the Copa América, unless that comes with a victory over Uruguay, it would not have done much. to show that they can win important games. There is another chance to dispel that narrative on Wednesday against Brazil, but being indecisive on the ball will lead to him being smashed again. Losing to Colombia was a lesson, but it’s up to the USMNT to dictate where they go from here. Without a change of course, the only move that awaits them is an early elimination from the Copa América.