Top Stories

Few bright spots for USMNT in lackluster showing against England


The odds were always going to be against the U.S. Men’s National Team heading into its showdown with World Cup semifinalists England on Thursday. Facing a team that was coming off a strong summer performance at the World Cup, paired with the added energy of Wayne Rooney’s final international appearance was a lot for Dave Sarachan’s side to handle.

A 3-0 loss to the Three Lions at Wembley extended the USMNT’s winless streak to three matches as the hosts showed their class against their youthful opponents. Despite some wonderfully taken goals by Gareth Southgate’s squad, the USMNT had chances to change that scoreline and give them a spark heading into its final match of the calendar year. Sadly that moment never came as the Concacaf side finished second best on the night.

“It was tough, they came out with a lot of energy and that’s how we wanted to start, but we had a few half-chances,” Christian Pulisic said. “I had a really good chance in the first half that I need to score, and I could’ve changed the game. After that they scored two quick ones, and yeah, that’s how soccer is. It changed real quick, and it was just tough for us to recover.”

The best chance for the USMNT offensively fell to the feet of its most dangerous weapon. However, despite a great run by Pulisic the Dortmund midfielder was unable to beat Jordan Pickford from point-blank range. On the ensuing restart, England picked out the USMNT as Jesse Lingard curled home a beauty past veteran Brad Guzan.

Right back Trent Alexander-Arnold added a second for the hosts before halftime, while international debutant Callum Wilson iced the result late in the second-half with a sublime finish. Pulisic cannot be blamed for the entire result as the USMNT rarely posed a threat outside of his effort. The 20-year-old was the lone star of the match for Sarachan’s bunch who lacked intensity and focus on both sides of the pitch.

“We never got close to them, we allowed them too much time and space on the ball and they’re too good,” Guzan said. “They showed in the summer they’re a good team. Individually they’re good players, and then collectively they’re a good team. When you give them time and space, like we did they’re going to pick you apart.”

“The first half we defended for 45 minutes. I think we had one chance, and that was it. In a game like this you’ve got to make sure you’re ready from the start. We were ready, we just never got up to the speed of the game.”

What looked to be an intriguing starting XI put out by Sarachan, underachieved for most of the match. Bobby Wood was ineffective while being called offsides on numerous occasions. Timothy Weah was a non-factor on the wing while Weston McKennie and Wil Trapp had to put in a lot of running off the ball. Defenders John Brooks and Matt Miazga had a tough battle eventually losing to England’s speedy options; Wilson, Lingard, and prodigal 18-year-old Jadon Sancho.

With Sarachan’s reign likely to come to a close next week, the USMNT need end the year on a high. Like the USMNT, Italy are in the midst of a rebuilding period under Roberto Mancini as they try to get back amongst the world’s elite. After some highs and lows under Sarachan, the need of a strong performance against Italy has never been needed more with the team lacking direction.

“You’re never happy to lose 3-0, it’s a tough result tonight,” Pulisic said. “We need to get a lot better as a team. We can talk about continuing gaining experience, but that’s not why we’re here. We want to win now. We want to win these games. I’m a competitive guy, and I know everyone else in that locker room is. It wasn’t good enough today.”

“We have a lot of talent on this team. I think you guys can see that. We have a long way to go, we have a lot of young guys, and I know we can be better. We’re going to improve day by day.”


  1. I never expected the US to win or even draw this game and predicted that England would win comfortably. What is disturbing is how poorly the US played. Anyone remember how the US played vs. the Czech Republic in the opening round of the 2006 WC? They came out like they were awed and afraid, even though most of them had done well in 2002. That’s kind of how the US looked against England. It was like they had resigned themselves to a beat down even before they came onto the pitch. They played much better vs. Portugal, France, Colombia, and even Brazil. Some of that has to be a failure of the coach to get them prepared mentally.

    • 2006 opener vs Czech Republic remains the most depressing game we have ever been involved in. Thanks for the terrible memory GP!!!

      • The loss to T&T is #1 in my book. The Czechs were rated the 3rd best side in the world going into that game and their big striker Koller just steamrolled our defense. The loss to T&T was a national embarrassment.

  2. Sarachan appears to be trying to get a result in these games. But his only meaningful purpose is to generate game video footage of individual players to be reviewed by the next coach. Everything else is a joke. Just like the USSF.

      • no, what i want to know is how these players play with the national team. that footage only comes with the national team, not off you tube or with their clubs. if sarachan leaves someone off to chase a result then i do not get that footage and can only speculate how they’d fare at an international level. i then have 10 game tapes of some mediocrity and none of his competition. the “Robinson Problem” is an example of this. what if the player has a weakness. What if the player gets hurt?

        There is an arrogance to the narrowing of a young pool in pursuit of results. we have no proof this bunch gets results. the results would instead suggest some combination of “continue to look” or at least “not now.”

    • IV, I understand your point and if we had a deeper pool of players it makes total sense. I agree their are a large number of players that have been good players for their club, usually in MLS and then can’t do anything for USMNT. However, I really scratch my head to find a player who wasn’t good for his club that was good the USMNT?

  3. this is not a galaxy of stars kind of schedule. this is a break my team down and show me which couple players are ready for that level schedule. it’s pretty pointless, like tossing your kids in the deep end without swim lessons. these games should have been progress points a year down the road, or maybe one isolated test, not an unrelenting buzzsaw. we have not implemented a system or really even learned which players to rely on. we’ve just learned a team that missed Russia is not as good as a knockout round team. could have pretty much told you that before the ball got kicked once.

    • It’s as if they’ve already decided this group is too good for CONCACAF and want to see how high they can take them.
      Any and all conclusions taken while the team is getting its collective ass kicked by a much more talented side is useless. A complete waste of time.

      • and ironically with the exception of a Mexico B friendly we have no idea how they would fare against the regional competition we will face in games that count. maybe certain players could handle that but not England or Brazil. or maybe they can’t handle anything. we don’t know. the schedule was not calibrated to test what level the players could handle, other than the couple or three who look decent in each game.

      • The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is some in US Soccer were looking for a paid European vacation. Sending a coach-less u20 team that has had no direction for a year in for the slaughter against top level teams away from home makes no other sense.

    • To add to your point, it makes even less sense with an interim manager who has no idea what style, formations, players, etc. the permanent manager will want to use.


Leave a Comment