To be a United States men’s national team supporter over the past four months is to be constantly shrouded in uncertainty, disunity and existential contemplation.
Missing the World Cup back on October 10 has brought wide-ranging questions about the entire soccer construct in this country to the forefront. The USSF presidential election, to be held two weeks from now, dominates headlines as fans supporting any of the eight candidates debate hotly-contested issues all over the American soccer world.
Star 18-year-old midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez switching his allegiance to the Mexican national team exposed serious top-down scouting and talent identification problems. Change candidates like Eric Wynalda in the election have pushed for dramatic changes to MLS’ status quo. Rather than uniting in our appreciation for top young American talents, as we did much more often a few months ago, we spend our time focusing on the negatives — to be expected following a gut-check disaster.
The second USMNT senior match since October’s loss in Trinidad and Tobago took place on Sunday night, and it did little to uplift the American soccer community. Bosnia and Herzegovina visited the StubHub Center in LA and walked away with a scrappy 0-0 draw.
It was messy from the start, as one would expect from a game in late January. The US, headed by interim coach Dave Sarachan, primarily deployed 20-something MLS players as Europe and Mexico-based nationals were unavailable. Bosnia’s XI was filled with young up-and-comers as well.
The visitors had the two best (and only, really) chances of the game. In the first half, Bill Hamid was forced to come up with a big save coming off his line, and in the second half, Bosnia managed to draw a ticky-tac penalty that was rung off the post by Philadelphia Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin.
Not a lot happened in this game. Sarachan’s 4-1-4-1, featuring three shuttling central midfielders, was conservative, and the two inexperienced teams struggled to gel. The US found their way into the final third occasionally, but they were dreadful anywhere within 30 yards of the goal. Eastern time zone viewers, watching from 9:30 pm on, had trouble staying awake.
All we can hope for in the future is that more Tyler Adams-types will get minutes for a side that does not play a competitive game for another year and a half and is still in the process of hiring a coach and a technical director. Legitimate criticisms can be made of Sarachan for relying on players in their mid-to-late 20s rather than younger up-and-comers like Brooks Lennon, Danilo Acosta and Justen Glad, none of whom made the gameday roster.
Positivity exists in the US soccer world, though it can be hard to recognize in this divisive and introspective time. A boring 0-0 draw with Bosnia does not add much to the discussion. But they can only go up from here.