Jackson Lauber ’25
After nearly 100 minutes of open play, the United States Men’s National Team faced defeat at the hands of the Dutch National Team, ending their run at the 2022 World Cup. While the game was marred with missed chances from both sides, it became frighteningly clear as the game went on that the USMNT lacked the firepower to produce goals.
The USMNT both out-shot and out-possessed the Dutch, but failed to capitalize on many of their opportunities. Something that is important to note is that the United States struggled to score goals throughout the tournament, totaling 3 goals in 4 matches, and almost scoring the least in their initial group. This concern is one that has plagued the USMNT, and many critics are quick to point out that the U.S. does not have a reliable striker, oftentimes the leading scorer on a given team. Their only goal against the Dutch, a tap-in from Haji Wright (the only U.S. goal from a striker) in the 76th minute, seemed more lucky than anything.
Despite this unfortunate ending to the USMNT’s run, hope remains for the American side on the global football stage. With the honor of hosting the 2026 World Cup delegated to the U.S, Canada, and Mexico, the USMNT has automatically qualified for a seat at the next World Cup. Beyond this, the United States fielded the youngest (calculated by finding the average player age on each squad’s 26-man roster) team in Qatar and still managed to make it to the knockout stage. However, the young American squad showed their inexperience against the Netherlands, and look to come back as a more seasoned team in 2026.
Many American players do not represent top clubs, and those who do often do not play very much. However, this is something that looks to change in the next few years, as the USMNT players continue to mature and grow as players. When coupled with the USMNT’s arrival in the knockout stages, the average age of the American squad paints a bright future for Americans in 2026. In 2026, the U.S. can expect to look like a much more experienced team, as well as a potential contender for the trophy. With their World Cup run over, the USMNT can now focus on finding a reliable striker, as well as taking the next steps from 2022’s result to fight for a World Cup trophy in a few years.
Photo by Ebrahim Noroozi/AP
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