US knocked out of World Cup, loses to the Netherlands 3-1

Soccer fan Karla Rosales, center, watches during watch party Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Los...
Soccer fan Karla Rosales, center, watches during watch party Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Los Angeles, after the United States scored a goal on the Netherlands in the Qatar 2022 World Cup Round of 16 soccer match. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)(Ringo H.W. Chiu | AP)
Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 11:59 PM EST
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AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Christian Pulisic covered his face as he walked off. Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Kellyn Acosta gathered for a group hug. Tim Weah, DeAndre Yedlin and Sean Johnson sat on the field in a small circle with their cleats off.

“It hurts after a tough loss like that when we feel like we could have had more,” Pulisic said, managing a voice only just above a whisper. “We don’t want to feel like this again.”

The United States’ return to the World Cup ended with a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands on Saturday in the round of 16. While the Oranje extended their unbeaten streak to 19 games and advanced to a quarterfinal with Argentina, the Americans contemplated how far they came and how short they fell.

Defensive lapses gave the Dutch a treat as Memphis Depay scored in the 10th minute and Daley Blind in first-half stoppage time.

U.S. hope revived when Pulisic’s cross hit the trailing foot of second-half substitute Haji Wright and popped over goalkeeper Andries Noppert and into the net in the 76th. But Denzel Dumfries, named after actor Denzel Washington, scored on a volley in the 81st after assisting on the first two goals.

“The American public should be optimistic,” said Gregg Berhalter, the first person to play for and coach the U.S. team at a World Cup. “When you look at the way we wanted to play and did play, it should be positive.”

The U.S. hasn’t reached the quarterfinals since 2002 and was eliminated in the first knockout round, just like in 2010 and 2014.

After the American failure to qualify for the 2018, Yedlin was the only holdover on a roster that was the tournament’s second-youngest, averaging just over 25 years.

“Now they know that feeling of what it’s like to lose after putting so much into it,” the 29-year-old defender said, “and the feeling of defeat from the past can only fuel success in the future.”

The U.S. is winless in 12 games against European opponents at the World Cup since 2002 and has won once and lost seven in knockout rounds since the championship launched in 1930.

“This tournament has really restored a lot of belief, restored a lot of respect to U.S. soccer and to soccer in our country,” McKennie said. “I think we’ve shown that we can be giants eventually. Maybe we may not be there yet, but I think we’re definitely on our way.”