BOSTON (CBS) – The ratings for the US games at the Brazil World Cup have been off the charts, but unfortunately for domestic soccer fans we won’t be getting a taste of the action any longer.
The US Men’s National Team fought hard for 90 minutes against Belgium on Tuesday and the game was ultimately decided in extra time in favor of the Red Devils.
The Belgians jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the extra frame and were able to stave off a late flurry from the US and hold on to a 2-1 victory.
Now we’re left to ponder what’s next?
Soccer is not a top four sport in this country, even though it’s made great strides in the past decade. However, exactly how far along is USA soccer?
To summarize the World Cup: The US won a game they should have lost (Ghana), tied a game they should have won (Portugal) and lost twice to much better teams (Germany and Belgium).
Taking all this into consideration, did the USA take a step forward in this World Cup?
Jon Arnold of Goal.com came on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show to discuss just that.
“International soccer is tough to judge because you really only get it every four years. I think this is progress for the United States, even though they have advanced farther in previous competitions. It’d be like if you had a NCAA tournament every four years and judged coaches just on that. It’s a difficult metric, but I think that Jurgen Klinsmann’s team showed really well. They had a really tough group and they were able to get out of that.”
Arnold was impressed with the fight the US showed against Belgium and credits the coaching job of Jurgen Klinsmann.
“Things against Belgium didn’t go their way but they were still able to force extra time, which is a positive. It was an inspired performance honestly. A lot of it was done with young players and a lot of it was guys brought in by Klinsmann to do specific goals that maybe we haven’t seen”
Arnold concluded, “Overall I think this tournament is a step in the right direction and I think American fans have plenty of reason to be optimistic for 2018.”
On Klinsmann, Arnold applauds the coach’s boldness for leaving Landon Donovan off the roster, going with such a young team to compete against the world’s best and for the most part proving all the doubters wrong.
“I think he got everything about as right as he could tactically. I don’t think it’s an A+ by any stretch of the imagination when you go out at the Round of 16, but you’re probably looking at a B+ or an A- if you had to assign Klinsmann a letter grade.”
Listen below for the full discussion, including Jozy Altidore’s injury and how much of an impact he could have made if healthy: