The United States have been knocked out of the FIFA World Cup by Belgium in the first round. Both teams were scoreless by the end of regulation, but Belgium was able to score two and the U.S. only scored one and after the dust settled, the final score was 2-1. The loss was a heartbreaking one after expectations were set pretty high for the men’s national team. In the 93rd minute, Kevin De Bruyne scored for Belgium to take the lead and then substitute striker Romelu Lukaku kicked one in 12 minutes later. The U.S. fought back when their substitute striker, 19-year-old Julian Green, knocked in his first international goal on his first touch to give his team a spark of hope. However, time ran out for the United States and their World Cup journey has come to an abrupt end.
Superstar goalkeeper Tim Howard had one of the best performances of his career with 16 saves. That’s the most by any goalkeeper in the World Cup since 1966! However, he couldn’t do it all by himself and the United States’ offense couldn’t produce anything during regulation time after both Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski had chances to score late in the game.
The U.S. team will have to wait another four years and hopefully Tim Howard will remain in good form by then. He is currently 35 years old and is getting near the end of his soccer career. Clint Dempsey should definitely return, but he will be 35 by the time the World Cup comes back around in 2018 at Russia.
One of the biggest struggles facing the men’s national team was Jozy Altidore’s hamstring injury in the first game against Ghana. Latest news says that he will be good to go for Sunderland’s next match. In 2018, Altidore will have to emerge as America’s top soccer player at the age of 28. For now, he is a 24-year-old looking to make his impact in the world of soccer. Other players like Graham Zusi, Michael Bradley and John Anthony Brooks will definitely return for the next World Cup and will be a big help for the United States in other international matches. Hopefully next time, the U.S. will have a good solid foundation to work with against other international clubs.