Will the USMNT miss the World Cup? The short answer is probably not, but the fact that we’re even questioning this with two qualifying matches to go isn’t fun. As we discussed on last night’s show, everything hinges on that Panama match in Orlando. We HAVE to win that one, and then take a point in Port of Spain and we should avoid the Asian playoff against Australia or Syria.
But we just had a disappointing draw with Panama two months ago in Nashville, and we’ve struggled in our away qualifiers, so I’m not betting the house on the US making it to Russia. It feels like a 60-40 thing right now.
We also discussed why our team tends to be so old right now. There are quite a few regulars in their 30s, including Michael Bradley, who just joined the club a month ago. For the Costa Rica match, four of our starters were over 30. In Honduras, we had six over 30, including 35-year-old DaMarcus Beasley. If you consider a soccer player’s prime to be 24-28 years old, in our player pool we have Jozy Altidore (27), Bobby Wood (24), John Brooks (24), Darlington Nagbe (27), Omar Gonzalez (28), DeAndre Yedlin (24), and Jorge Villafana (27).
We also a have a long, strange age gap when it comes to star players. Landon Donovan is retired, and Dempsey (34) is close to it. Bradley is 30. If you consider Altidore (27) a star, and I probably would by US Soccer standards, there’s one guy in his prime. Nagbe (27) is among our best players at the moment, but I don’t know that he’s a star. Likewise for Brooks (24) and Yedlin (24).
You could argue I’m missing someone, but the ages of our star players goes something like this Howard (38), Donovan (35, retired), Dempsey (34), Bradley (30), Altidore (27), and then Christian Pulisic (18). That’s a pretty big gap, and it’s even bigger for those who wouldn’t put Jozy on this list. What happened? Did we cause this somehow? Did guys fall through the cracks? Or is this a normal? With countries like Germany and France cranking out players this good or better every year, I’d like to think we can do much, much better.
Thanks for watching and reading our stuff, as usual. You might notice this show goes a bit off the rails at the end, when you guys demanded an update on Chris’ car situation. One of you–I can’t remember who–called it USfanTV Extra Time, which is something I think we should do more often.
See you Tuesday for our next show!