Semifinals in 2018. That’s the goal laid out out by US men’s soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann. We’re two years away from the World Cup in Russia, but this team looks to be two decades away from being able to achieve that goal.
The run through the Copa America tournament was a nice surprise when you look at how far they advanced, but when matched with world class opponents, the United States was outclassed. Wins over Costa Rica, Paraguay and Ecuador are all nice, but the red, white, and blue are supposed to beat those teams. Losses to top 3 world ranked teams in Colombia (twice) and Argentina (where the US wasn’t competitive) make it clear just how much work needs to be done.
On any given day Klinsmann’s team can beat anyone in the world. To get to the semis of the biggest tournament of the world you’re going to need to beat probably 2-3 world class teams along the way. There’s talent and youth on the roster with guys like Bobby Wood, Fabian Johnson, John Brooks, Christian Pulisic, and Jordan Morris, but none of them would sniff the field for a top-tier team outside of maybe Johnson.
Enjoy the run that the US made, but let’s keep it in perspective here. The US beat the teams they were supposed to beat. They got a lucky draw when Brazil fell apart late against Peru and Colombia ran out their B team in their final group stage game.
Progress? Maybe, but I’m not ready to say this team is in the elite group yet….or anywhere close to it.
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