It wasn’t too long ago when the U.S. Men’s national team was walking off the pitch in disbelief and embarrassment, after losing 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, and failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup for the first time in decades.
In truth, it has been a turbulent journey for the USMNT over the last two plus years since the departure of Coach Jurgen Klinsmann. They’ve fallen under serious criticism by a nation that was just starting to gain serious momentum in the soccer world. They’ve had three coaches since 2016 when Jurgen parted ways with the United States Soccer Federation; Bruce Arena, Dave Sarachan, and now Greg Berhalter. And above all else, they’ve lacked a real identity in playing style for quite some time.
Despite a rough start to the Berhalter era, the USMNT managed to fight off some demons from their not too distant past when taking on Trinidad and Tobago over the weekend in game two the 2019 Gold Cup’s group stages. Although many players said revenge wasn’t on their minds, you could see from the demeanor of the players throughout the game, that this game meant a little extra. Often physical and chippy throughout the match, the USMNT clearly played with an edge, and managed to break open the scoring just four minutes before half time to take a 1-0 lead.
Scoring a goal before halftime can be a major momentum shifting moment, and on this day, it was certainly the case. The Americans would pour on an onslaught of goals in the second half, five to be exact, including one by international star Christian Pulisic. The game would end 6-0 in favor of the USMNT.
“Every time we step on the field we want to make a statement,” said U.S. forward Gyasi Zardes, who scored twice and barely missed a third. “We’re trying to change the way the world views American soccer.”
Overall there is still a lot to be done with in the men’s national soccer program to reach the levels of success and consistency so many believe this country is capable of reaching. There is still a lot to be done this summer in their quest for another Gold Cup trophy. However, maybe, just maybe, a big win, over the team that knocked the USA out of the World Cup a little over a year ago, is the first positive step forward for this new tenure in it’s journey to establish themselves as a formidable soccer nation.