Winners, Losers From USA’s Round of 16 World Cup Defeat vs. Netherlands originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The United States’ journey in the 2022 FIFA World Cup has come to a disappointing end.
After losing to the Netherlands 3-1 in an entertaining round of 16 battle on Saturday, the U.S. will be wondering what went wrong in a game that could’ve been won.
Memphis Depay’s opening goal completely changed the complexion early on as the Stars and Stripes established their foot on the game. Then another mistake happened when the U.S. conceded another right before halftime.
Haji Wright got the U.S. on the board and reignited the faith, but another mistake saw the Dutch kill off the game when the USMNT looked threatening in attack.
Let’s recap the loss with some winners and losers for the U.S.:
Winner: Matt Turner
This game could’ve had a worse scoreline if not for Matt Turner’s heroics in front of goal. The 28-year-old goalkeeper made four saves on the day, including one preventing an own goal from Walker Zimmerman. His double save in the 71st minute, in particular, proved to be vital as Wright scored five minutes later.
The Arsenal goalkeeper conceded just a penalty in group stage play but can hold his head high for his performances throughout the tournament. He certainly established himself as the nation’s best No. 1 moving forward.
Loser: Gio Reyna, Gregg Berhalter
Combining two in one, Gio Reyna’s lack of minutes came back to bite Gregg Berhalter and Co. in the end. It wasn’t a coincidence that the USMNT looked far more threatening and had more space to work with when Reyna entered the game at halftime as a replacement for the underwhelming Jesus Ferreira.
Reyna did not feature in two of the three group stage games — Wales and Iran — but is clearly the nation’s best creative outlet in the attacking third and should’ve played a bigger role, particularly considering the USMNT’s lack of goal threat. If Berhalter stays on as the manager, finding a way to get Reyna involved in midfield will be key in the 2026 cycle.
Winner: Haji Wright
Wright is the only other winner for the U.S. from this game.
He had a huge chance in the 75th minute when a Depay giveaway saw Wright break free in front of goal, but his first touch was too heavy and he lost his angle to beat Andries Noppert and lost the opportunity. But just a minute later, he scored with an absurd backheel touch that flicked over everyone’s heads and dropped into the back of the net.
It might not have been intentional, but they all count the same.
Loser: Defensive fundamentals
The U.S. came into this game with defense as their key strength. The only goal they conceded was a penalty that came on a Zimmerman tackle inside the penalty box that didn’t need to be made. Otherwise, Sergino Dest and Antonee Robinson were sensational running up and down their flanks while 35-year-old Tim Ream rarely put a foot wrong despite not featuring much heading into Qatar. Turner, as aforementioned, logged two clean sheets in group play.
But when it mattered the most, defensive fundamentals hurt the U.S. Tracking runners inside the box, preventing crosses from becoming dangerous and man-marking all played a factor in the Dutch’s three goals.
Based on expected goals, the U.S. actually had the advantage, highlighting that this game was in their hands.
Netherlands (1.85) 3-1 (1.89) USA
— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) December 3, 2022
Loser: It’s called soccer
On a more lighthearted note, the United States’ “It’s called soccer” chant that went viral in Qatar came to an end by a nation that calls it football.
Expect the American fans to revive the chant in full force when the 2026 World Cup comes to U.S. soil.