You see it in a Round of 16 loss like this, where it's pretty clear what the Netherlands were doing. They let the US bring the game to them and they were going to catch us on the break. The Netherlands were clinical in key moments and it’s 3-1 at the end.
Play better teams
We need to play better teams moving forward. That will be the challenge over the next three years or so, going into North America 2026, to get our team ready for the World Cup. Look at how Concacaf teams performed in Qatar. They played 13 games at the World Cup and won just three – it's not even close to being good enough.
Now, there’ll be opportunities with tournaments and teams are going to want to come to the US anyways to prepare. It will get better, but I’ll repeat how important it is.
We also have to figure out how to be more dangerous in the attack because we scored three goals in four games. It's hard to advance far at a World Cup that way.
The other big question, after tournaments like this, is always what happens with the coach.
You have to see if Gregg Berhalter wants to stay, that's the starting point for everything. Then secondly you have to decide what your plan is at the federation level. They have to decide if, in these three years or so, do you think Gregg did a good job and do you think he's the right guy to coach when we host the World Cup in 2026?
The question becomes: What are our expectations for 2026 and how do we want to get there? Does U.S. Soccer want to bring in a highly-experienced manager who's had success? Or do they think the way we're going is at the right pace? That's their decision to make. You’re expected to probably make the semifinals at the World Cup when you're hosting, whether that's realistic or not, so it’s a big decision.
All said, when you scrutinize this World Cup, we did a good job. We didn't do great. There's a lot heading in the right direction, but now it's also a time to really have a plan and have the right people in place. If you do that, that help answers the question of the coach.
Now, we're not among the top teams in the world yet. We certainly want to be. But there's a long way to go, a lot of people are working to take U.S. Soccer in that direction. The challenge at the next World Cup is a great one, and it’ll be here before we know it.
Using the same grading scale as the group stage, here’s how I felt the US performed vs. the Netherlands and what lies ahead.
- 1-4: Below average or worse
- 5-6: Average
- 7-8: Good to very good
- 9-10: Excellent or outstanding
Matt can’t be at fault for the three goals against and made several great saves in the second half to keep the US alive in the game. Like the team, this was the first time he was truly tested at the World Cup.
Now, Matt’s going to fall in line with the likes of Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller one day. He has to move out of Arsenal to start playing on a regular basis, but he's proven himself to be a very good goalkeeper for the US.
Dest had some promising chances going forward but struggled to deliver a quality ball, then he failed to track Daley Blind on that gut-punch goal just before halftime.
He's a player with a great future and clearly has a lot of talent as the team’s top right back.
Walker had an okay performance on the day. He’ll learn from this, though. His passing needs to get better and he needs to go up against top-level international players on a regular basis to continue to grow as a center back.
Ream looked a bit fatigued on the day and was under a lot of pressure from Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo at times. He probably isn't going to play in another World Cup at age 35, but you can see why he was brought in for that leadership and organization.
Robinson had a good World Cup, especially good going forward, and he delivers a good ball. The US ask an awful lot of him and he was beaten up at the end of the game. He was asked to get forward over all four games, which took its toll.
Adams could’ve done better with tracking on the first goal. Big picture, he knows his position very well and understands his role in the team. He'll become better on the ball by picking out passes, but he had a very good World Cup. A very well-respected leader who’s a key figure.
Musah wasn’t really a huge factor in the game, but he never quit. He's a real talent and has a great future in the sport. It’s amazing he only just turned 20 years old.
Weston came into the World Cup with an injury and that certainly slowed him down. It wasn't a good performance with four games in 13 days.
However, Weston has been among the best US players the last few years and has played very well at Juventus for long stretches. He'll be a big part of things for 2026.
Weah had his moments in this tournament – he was a little quiet at times against the Netherlands – and we'll always remember that Wales goal. He brings a lot of pace and directness out wide and was a deserved starter.
Ferreira hadn't played at the World Cup and was quiet in his 45 minutes. I also think he's really not a No. 9 – he's probably a second 9, maybe even a No. 10. But he's not a No. 9 at that level. He's lining up against Virgil van Dijk and that’s a big mismatch.
Even coming off his injury from the Iran game, Christian was the best US attacking player. He got an assist on Wright's goal and was always looking to create.
We’ll see what his club future holds now. I don't know why he doesn't play more at Chelsea, but it's important for him to continue to grow as a player and find consistent minutes. It won’t be an easy move if he leaves – Chelsea paid over $70 million for him and he gets paid a lot by them.
The US were ready to play. However, against a more experienced and technically/tactically better team, they were caught on the counter too many times. With pushing the pace of the game from the start, the team looked physically beat in the last 60 minutes of the match. I also think Pulisic could be more effective by playing centrally. Overall, a solid job in this World Cup when put in context.
Gio played up top and out wide, but was not a huge factor in his 45 minutes of play.
Gregg, at this tournament, decided his best options up top in those wide positions were Pulisic and Weah. How can you argue against that? The way the US played, too, he doesn’t have the same profile for the McKennie and Musah midfield roles. He ended up being the odd man out.
Aaronson brought some energy, yet there was very little to show for it. He’s a good player, a different kind of player. He plays more without the ball than with it – a good runner into space, tracking back. He'll be a part of things at the next World Cup.
Give Haji credit. He scored an unusual goal (that might have been an accident) and brought some energy to the team.
Is he a long-term solution up top? I haven’t seen enough yet, but time will tell with him. He's doing well in the Turkish league after bouncing around.
DeAndre’s almost 30 and will be a question mark for the next World Cup. But he was good today and delivered an important pass on the US goal shortly after coming on. His competitive bite was important.
Morris came on late, so no rating for him. I personally think he's a No. 9, not a wide attacker. When I had him in 2017 with the US, he did a good job as a No. 9 and helped us win a Gold Cup.