Former Sounders defender Yedlin: USA needs to set winning World Cup as aim

Kellyn Acosta - Christian Pulisic - DeAndre Yedlin - US national team - walkout at Azteca

The aftershocks of the US national team failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia continue to reverberate. But for at least one of the regulars on the USMNT, even with the temporary setback, the ultimate goal on the international stage remains the same.

“For me, I want to win the World Cup. If that’s not the goal then I don’t think you should be playing,” Newcastle United defender DeAndre Yedlin said in an interview to NBC Sports this week. “A lot of people will say that isn’t realistic but for me, I will say ‘Why?’ Why isn’t that realistic? Leicester City won the Premier League and nobody thought that could happen but it did. If that’s [winning the World Cup] not the ultimate goal then I think we should reevaluate things.”

Yedlin started and went the distance in the US national team's biggest failure of the modern era, a 2-1 loss on the road against Trinidad & Tobago in October that confirmed the Yanks would not make an eighth consecutive World Cup tournament.

But the Seattle Sounders academy product player says the failure – as well as the motivation to win it all – keeps the players going.

“I wouldn’t call it a blessing in disguise but I think now, especially the guys that have come through it, now we feel what disappointment is like, not making the World Cup,” Yedlin explained. “Now there is going to be an extra gear that is hit to make sure we make the next one but not only make it but do well in it. Nobody wants to feel this way again. It gives us extra motivation but it shouldn’t come to the point where you need to feel that. But that’s what it is and hopefully it helps us.”

You can read the full interview with Yedlin over at NBC Sports.