Spoiled Tattooed Millionaires – A Phrase used to describe the USMNT in 2017
Revisiting A USMNT Nightmare
October 10th, 2017
Where were you on that fateful day? If you were like me, you were sitting somewhere in front of the television, nervous but confident that the USMNT would qualify for the World Cup. After a CONCACAF Gold Cup win three months prior, the United States should have cruised through the “Hexagonal.” As we know, they lost, in the most embarrassing moment in USMNT history, knocked out by Trinidad.
As we approach the fourth anniversary of that horrible memory, we have seen a similar path emerge. A successful summer, winning a Nations League and a Gold Cup, followed by two disappointments in the opening two games of World Cup qualifying, despite having what most would call a “Golden Generation,” gave us reminders of a darker time. Gone are the days of an all-MLS roster or being laughed out of CONCACAF domestic tournaments by Mexico’s Liga MX and embarrassed by European teams in major domestic and international competitions.
A Bright Future Ahead For The USMNT
In its place are many young Americans playing in the UEFA Champions League and European top five leagues. Then USMNT started World Cup qualifying; the United States was humbled by a draw vs. El Salvador and Canada.
Then, Weston McKennie was sent home for Covid misconduct. Gio Reyna is not available, and after 45 minutes vs. Honduras, the United States trails 1-0. Making a bad situation worse, Christian Pulisic; taken down and exits, but not before a beautiful goal from Antonee Robinson. However, spirits were still low as some fans knew that a draw would not be good enough. Even head coach, Greg Berhalter, knew that it might mean walking papers for him.
After Robinson’s goal, the team had a fight energized by 18-year-old Ricardo Pepi. A Mexican-American dual-National is making his senior team debut. Every major event from there on out involved Pepi; he found the back of the net on the right side off of a great cross by Yedlin to head one in and put the US ahead in the 75th minute, moments later he found Brenden Aaronson, who connected on a goal to further extended the lead to 3-1 and Sebastian Lletget capped off the scoring to end the game at 4-1 in favor of the United States.
American fans everywhere sighed in relief after having flashbacks to 2017. If Honduras won 1-0, this upcoming window would be different. But the USMNT is still here to show the world why they are ready to compete on the global stage.
Time will tell how things look, but the future is bright leading up to the following fall’s World Cup in Qatar. Led by young stars in Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna, and Christian Pulisic, the time is now for the USA. While 2022 may not be the year for the USMNT, 2026 could be huge as they will also host its edition of the World Cup. One thing is for sure this team will always have an entire country standing behind them, waiting for their days of glory as they look to transform into a soccer superpower.