USMNT World Cup dream ends in 3-1 loss to Netherlands

Denzel Dumfries Netherlands USMNT World Cup
Denzel Dumfries celebrates his goal against the United States (Photo: FIFA World Cup)

The United States Men’s National Team’ (USMNT) road at the 2022 FIFA World Cup has come to an end, falling in the Round of 16 to the Netherlands 3-1 on Saturday at Khalifa International Stadium. 

Denzel Dumfries of the Dutch ripped apart the American defense, recording a goal and two assists to overshadow Haji Wright’s circus second-half goal, which brought the USMNT back to within one with 15 minutes remaining in the match.

Ultimately, the United States will be left to rue their missed opportunities against a well-organized Netherlands defense that it just could not break down — opening a lethal counter-attack that crashed the US out of the tournament. 

Christian Pulisic found himself alone on Andries Noppert’s goal just 120 seconds into the match when, from a soft attempted Dutch clear, Tyler Adams played the star in the box. His left-footed shot was far too tame as it found the leg of a sprawling Noppert. 

The Netherlands had no issue making the most of its chance. A quick counter saw the Oranje gash the American midfield, ultimately working it to Denzel Dumfries down the right wing. A low cross found Memphis Depay, who with his first touch side-footed a shot past the out-stretched hand of Turner in the 10th minute.

It was the first time at this World Cup that the United States trailed. 

The Netherlands settled into its defensive shell, which gave the United States an abundance of possession, but not much more throughout the first half.

They finally worked a chance in the 42nd minute when Sergino Dest and Tim Weah dissected the Dutch defense. Off a bobble, Weah cannoned a shot from just outside the box that Noppert was able to fight off. 

Dest went on a bounding run of his own in the 44th minute but with two Dutch defenders on him, he scuffed a right-footed attempt from inside the box. 

The Netherlands provided the backbreaker with the last kick of the first half when Dumfries again provided the perfect low cross off a throw-in for Daley Blind — who scored his first goal in eight years for the Oranje — and finished nearly identically to Depay. 

The Americans called on Gio Reyna, Brenden Aaronson, and Haji Wright to try and provide an attacking spark — but the Dutch bossed most of the major chances. Had it not been for Turner, it could’ve been much worse. He made a leaping save on Depay before a double save in the 72nd minute in which he turned away a Teun Koopmeiner drive that came right to the head of tournament joint-leading-scorer Cody Gakpo. 

Turner extended a hand while on his knees to keep it away.

Just four minutes later, the Americans were on the board through Wright, who missed a golden opportunity just a moment earlier. Pulisic found acres of space on the right wing before driving into the box and sending a low cross that Wright managed to get a foot on, redirecting it high into the air where no Dutch defender was — a lucky goal but one that will be claimed nonetheless.

The Americans’ deficit quickly sank back to two, though, as shambolic defending allowed Dumfries to get wide-open for a cross that he volleyed home with ease to put the Dutch back in the driver’s seat. 

The Netherlands will play the winner of Argentina, Australia in the quarterfinals.

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