Asked to describe the mood in the postgame locker room after the US Under-23 men's national team's 2-1 defeat to Honduras on Sunday, which eliminated the group from Concacaf Olympic Qualifying, head coach Jason Kreis didn't mince words.
"Devastated," Kreis told reporters on his postgame video call. "Absolutely devastated. In our locker room, the guys are, it's like a tragedy. I think we all wanted this so bad. So badly, for so many different reasons. And I think it could be that when you want it too bad, you put yourself in a position where you can't perform to the level needed.
"At the end of the day, I just don't think we had enough."
Facing a win-and-in scenario after their group stage victories over Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic qualified them for Sunday's semifinal, the US struggled to maintain much attacking fluidity in a matchup with a Honduras side that has now qualified for a fourth straight Olympics.
Plenty of time will be spent taking stock of the defeat in the coming days, and Kreis was quick to say that he'll look inward first when he assesses why the group came up short. Ultimately, the coach said that he felt as though the quality was there on a roster that was debated extensively when it was released, but that his team didn't exhibit enough composure in key moments, whether that was due to general nerves or other external factors.
"I think there's a lot of considerations," Kreis said. "First and foremost just the time of the year that the qualification is in, I think it puts an American team in a difficult place because of the fact that we are just now entering preseason. I felt like last year the timing of it was a little bit better because the MLS season already played three or four matches. So I think that's difficult. The only solution I would say there is that if you can get the European players that are in midseason, then perhaps you're in better shape, but we all know the difficulties of that as well.
"Those are the couple of things that jump out to me that just make it a difficult prospect. Not to say we weren't good enough to get it done, because I do believe we had enough quality in our team, we had enough ability in our team, we had enough fight and commitment. But just at the end of it, at the end of it, tonight I didn't think it was quite enough."
Jackson Yueill, who scored the team's lone goal on Sunday with a highlight-reel distance finish, described the mood within the group similarly. The San Jose Earthquakes midfielder emerged as the team captain and was arguably the standout performer of the group throughout the tournament.
"I think disappointment," Yueill said. "I think we wanted to win this game and make it back to Tokyo. We're disappointed. I'll say that I'm proud of the group. I think we gave it our all every game. These tournaments are challenging and we knew that coming into it. We're sad with the loss, and I know the guys are probably going to have to take a bit, and hopefully bounce back stronger after this.
"Disappointment but I'm proud of the group and the effort that they gave in this qualifying and prior to it. I know they're all going to do great things."