ALAINE, Qatar (AP) — Christian Pulisic covered his face as he walked away. Taylor Adams, Weston McKenney and Kailyn Acosta came together for a hug. Tim Weah, DeAndre Yedlin and Shawn Johnson took off their cleats and sat in a small circle on the court.
“It hurts after such a tough loss when we feel like we could have had more,” Pulisic said, his voice a little above a whisper. “We don’t want to feel like that anymore.”
U.S. returns to World Cup Saturday’s last-16 tie ended with a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands.Oranje extended their unbeaten run to 19 games and advanced to the quarter-finals with ArgentinaAmericans consider how far they have come and how far they have fallen.
Defensive errors gave the Dutch a treat, with Memphis Depay scoring in the 10th minute and Daley Blind scoring in first-half stoppage time.
The US’s hopes were revived when Pulisic’s cross hit the back foot of second-half substitute Haji Wright and hit goalie Andries Noppert in the 76th inning. But Denzel Dumfries, named after actor Denzel Washington, scored with an 81st-minute volley after assisting the first two goals.
“The American public should remain optimistic,” said Greg Berhalter, the first man to play and coach the U.S. team at the World Cup. “When you look at the way we want to play and the way we actually play, it should be positive.”
The U.S. hasn’t reached the quarterfinals since 2002 and was eliminated in the first knockout round, as they were in 2010 and 2014.
Yedlin is the only surviving player on the tournament’s second-youngest roster after the U.S. failed to qualify for 2018, with an average age of just over 25.
“Now they know the feeling of losing after giving so much, and the sense of failure in the past will only fuel future success,” the 29-year-old guard said.
Since 2002, the U.S. has gone 12 times without a win against European opponents at the World Cup, and since the World Cup was launched in 1930, the United States has won just one knockout match and lost seven.
“This game really restored a lot of confidence and respect for American football and our national football,” McKenney said. “I think we’ve shown that we can eventually be giants. Think we’re definitely on the way.”
In front of a crowd of 44,846 at the refurbished Khalifa International Stadium, Pulisic had a chance to give the U.S. the lead in the third minute.McKennie brought a poor clearance back into the box, but Norpert blocks his shot from close range with his left thigh.
“When it happened I thought I was offside but I hit the ball and he made a great save,” Pulisic said.
The Dutch took the lead when Cody Gakpo passed the ball to Dumfries on the right wing.With Adams failing to track him down, Depay charged into the box and Depay was repositioned inside Matt Turner’s far post after a one-off Dumfries cross The first goal against the United States during the game.
In the first minute of stoppage time, the blind scored. After the throw-in, Dumfries rounded Adams’ cross, The blind beat a late Serginio Dest from the penalty spot to score his first international goal in eight years.
Wright enters Game 67, Scored his second international goal with an unusual touch from three yards out, Light up America’s hopes.but Dumfries, unmarked by Tim Liam and Anthony Robinson, scored his sixth goal from six yards out from Blind’s cross.
“When you play against a team that good, you give them three or four chances and they give up three or four times,” Adams said. “We can show that we can play with some of the best teams in the world, some of the best players in the world, and that’s a big step forward for American soccer.”
The players didn’t want to leave the field at first and wanted more time together.
“Just putting in perspective and reflecting on the journey,” Yedlin said. “Just thank you Earth. After every practice and game, we try to do a thing called grounding. It just helps put the future into perspective, for better or worse.”
Others accepted defeat without saying a word.
“Looking around the locker room, the silence was deafening,” Turner said. “We all want to create opportunities for people back home to fall in love with the game, but unfortunately tonight was not one of those nights.”
With 43 goals, Depay is second only to Robin van Persie’s 50 goals in the Dutch career goals list.
The U.S. kicks off the 2026 cycle with a match against Serbia on Jan. 25 in Los Angeles.
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