US and Chile Eliminated from World Cup

David Peng

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The World Cup is the largest international stage for soccer and comes around only once every four years. However, this time, we won’t be able to watch the American team represent our country on the field.

Last week, the United States men’s team was officially knocked out of qualifications for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will take place in Russia. With a crushing 1-2 loss against Trinidad and Tobago on October 10th, the US was placed fifth out of six other countries in a regional competition.

Another nation that surprisingly will miss the World Cup is Chile, but for different reasons. Chile played decently, but in the process of appealing and arguing that a player on an opposing team was ineligible, the Chilean team screwed itself over and just missed qualifying for Russia. Frustrating, but not to same the extent as the American team’s poor performance.

Before their game against Trinidad and Tobago, the US put themselves in a risky situation. For this game, they could win or draw, yet still advance. Even if they lost, their spot would be secured if Panama and Honduras lost their respective games.

However, the situation turned out as unfortunate for the Americans as it possibly could have. In the first half of the game, the US was sluggish and unfocused as they let in an own-goal and a shot from 35 yards out, making the score 2-0. In the second half, even though rookie star Christian Pulisic scored a tough goal, Trinidad and Tobago managed to keep the US at bay, holding them out until the end of the game.

Both Panama and Honduras won their games, which made the US fifth out of six in the region, and officially out of the World Cup.

Fans around the nation have voiced their disappointment, anger, and embarrassment. They have blamed the loss on different reasons: that the coaches lacked fundamental skills, even after the head coach was fired and replaced; that the players were unmotivated; or that the US team was getting old and had a missing generation (the ‘lost generation’) of fresh soccer talent. “At the moment I think it’s the point of just revamping the entire system of the team and pushing us there with the younger kids,” said Fayez Merchant ’18, the captain of the boys varsity soccer team.

Also, the American team’s loss is a step back for soccer in the US; as the national team is not participating in soccer’s largest event, the sport could begin to lose popularity. “It’s actually really disappointing because the only time I watch soccer is when I watch the US in the World Cup,” shared Will Dundon ’20.

Additionally, the impact of America’s absence in the World Cup will be felt by other countries and by the competition. Put simply, “People want to beat the US,” explained Will Rittmaster ’18.

However, there is hope that the US will improve. “At the moment I think it’s the point of just revamping the entire system of the team and pushing us there with the younger kids,” said Merchant. Pulisic exemplifies young talent on the rise as he, a rookie, scored the only US goal against Trinidad and Tobago.

Though US soccer may feel disappointed by their failure, the program must reevaluate itself and fix its issues so that they can dominate in the 2020 World Cup.