The US Men’s National Football Team (USMNT) has gone from tres-a-cero to Mexico to dos-a-cero to Canada in five weeks and thirty-four years.
Yesterday in Toronto, Canada, playing in Group A of the new FIFA CONCACAF Nations League, the USMNT lost to the Canadian Men’s National Football Team for the first time since an April 2, 1985 friendly in Vancouver which the USA lost 2-0 thanks to a brace from Igor Vrablic (68th and 80th).
About five weeks from the USA’s cosmetic 7-0 victory over Cuba, the USMNT will play Canada (November 15th in Orlando, FL) and then play Cuba again in George Town in the Cayman Islands on November 19th. Those two matches may well ring the death knell for the current US Soccer (USSF) foray into reimagining the USMNT program. Let’s just hope the next USSF stab doesn’t take us into a thirty-four year tailspin just as we seem to have brought up to the fore a potentially successful generation of home grown talent.
Yet, presently, we must deal with what we are achieving on the pitch, and five weeks ago we lost 3-0 to Mexico, and on Tuesday it was Canada’s Alphonso Davies who opened the score at the 63rd and Lucas Cavallini who closed the account down at the 90+1 to sentence the USMNT to another defeat.
The USA performance on Tuesday was compared by many to its lackluster outing against Trinidad and Tobago (1-2) which prevented the USMNT from competing in the 2018 World Cup and led to the downfall of coach Bruce Arena and the long search for and eventual hiring of his replacement in the person of Gregg Berhalter. The new coach is now in hot water himself given the poor outings of the team recently.
The issues at hand are many and the unsatisfactory performances are just the manifestation of much that needs repair on a systemic level, but, as we have now often said, the casualties pile up—in terms of ground lost by the men’s program overall, the youth program that continues to hop along not finding or developing the talent we all know the nation possesses. It continues along the path of the untenable travel team system and the lack of a consistent coaching and playing system for the USNMT players to adapt to, grow up in, and eventually thrive in.
For now, the USA is ranked 21st in the world according to FIFA, while Canada, who leads Group A with a perfect three wins, is ranked 75th. Mexico, ranked 12th in the world (the team that beat the USA 3-0 in East Rutherford, NJ on September 6th, following a 1-0 win over the USA on July 7th, in the Gold Cup final in Chicago, IL) leads Group B with two wins in two matches. Honduras ranked 67th leads Group C with a perfect two wins in two matches, and Curacao, ranked 76th, leads Group D with a win and two draws.