USMNT’s Run in the World Cup: Performance and Expectations

Qualifying for the first time since 2014, the USMNT showcased a respectable performance in the 2022 World Cup, advancing to the round of 16 before bowing out after a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands.

Group Stage: Wales vs. USA
In the World Cup Group B opener, the United States and Wales fought head-to-head for a 1-1 draw. The USA had a dominant start to the game, playing aggressively and taking advantage of the seemingly lagging Welsh team. An assist from Christian Pulisic to Timothy Weah resulted in a goal in the 36th minute, allowing the USA to take the lead. After 81 minutes with no goal from the Welsh team, the USA hoped to secure a win. But the score was leveled out after US defender Walker Zimmerman fouled Welsh player Gareth Bale in the penalty area late in the second half. Bale then delivered a spot kick to ensure a goal for the Welsh team, evening out the score and finally resulting in a draw. Despite the disappointment of the game’s result, the USA took the draw in stride and continued looking ahead to the rest of the group stage.

Group Stage: England vs. USA
In the matchup against England, the USA secured another draw amidst overwhelming probability of an English win. Despite not scoring against England, the United States showed dominance during the game, attacking persistently, and staying collected defensively. The US seemed to have better chances during the first half, with Christian Pulisic kicking a possible goal, only denied by the crossbar. US players Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah also showcased impressive performances, staying assertive throughout the match. However, the United States couldn’t manage a goal, and the two teams played to a 0-0 draw.

Group Stage: Iran vs. USA
The United States advanced to the round of 16 after winning 1-0 against Iran in their final matchup in the group stage. The game against Iran only had two outcomes for the US: win or go home. Luckily, a goal from Christian Pulisic secured the United States’ win. In the first half, Pulisic took advantage of Sergio Dest’s headed cross to score a goal, suffering an abdominal injury in the process. The injury led to Pulisic’s replacement at half-time, but it was his goal that advanced the US past the group stage. The match ended with a much-needed USA win, and the team now prepared to face the Netherlands.

Round of 16: Netherlands vs. USA
A 3-1 loss to the Netherlands ended the USMNT’s hopes of advancing further in the World Cup. During the game, the US failed to keep up with the Dutch, missing chances of possible goals, while the Netherlands capitalized on their opportunities, leading to three Dutch goals. In the 10th minute of the match, Dutch player Memphis Depay scored an easy goal into the lower left corner of the US net. Denzel Dumfries, another Dutch player, scored a similar goal just before halftime. Both players had escaped the attention of the US defense, remaining wide-open before scoring. The only US goal came from chance, with Christian Pulisic kicking the ball and Haji Wright somehow managing to push it into the goal. After, Dumfries scored another goal to create the final score of 3-1.

Future Expectations
The USMNT arrived in Qatar with modest expectations, being the second-youngest team at the World Cup. Reaching the round of 16 exceeded US hopes and was enough reason for celebration. The USMNT displayed an inspiring representation of the United States, cultivating hope for the future of American soccer.