Do losses in Gold Cup define U.S. Men’s Soccer?

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Face Mexico in qualifying match for 2017 Confederations Cup

Kyle McDonald

Sports editor

UVU Review head shots on the Wasatch Campus of Utah Valley University in Heber City, Utah, Friday August 7, 2015. (August Miller, UVU Marketing)

On July 22, Jamaica defeated the U.S. Men’s soccer team in the Gold Cup Semifinals by a score of 2-1.  It was the second time in 23 tries that the Jamaicans had defeated the U.S. and it marked the first home loss by the U.S. to a Caribbean team since 1968.  They followed up with a loss to Panama in the third place game.  Those losses by many standards don’t mean a whole lot.

Had the United States won the Gold Cup, they would have guaranteed themselves a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup. The loss to Jamaica forces the U.S. into a play-game against Gold Cup winner Mexico in order to qualify for the Confederations Cup.

With the success of the U.S. Women’s team winning the World Cup and dominance during international play, fans might wonder when the U.S. Men will become more relevant on the international level.

The Men’s team has failed to make it out of the round of 16 at the last two World Cups where they were knocked out by Ghana in 2010 and Belgium in 2014.  They just haven’t been able to get over the hump during international tournaments.  They will be competitive and give teams a run for their money but the end results have always ended in disappointment for the U.S. and their fans.

During group play in the 2014 World Cup, they beat Ghana 2-1, tied Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo on their roster, and lost to Germany 1-0 in a game that didn’t matter to the U.S. because they had already qualified for the Round of 16.

The U.S. has also won three out of the last six Gold Cups.  They have five overall, which is second only to Mexico, who has seven titles although they have never won the Confederations Cup.  They finished as high as second place in 2009 and had a third place finish in 1999.

The United States is the 29th -ranked team in the FIFA World Rankings but that might not be truly indicative of where the U.S. Men’s Soccer program is at.  With Manager Jurgen Klinsmann being paid $2.6 million per year and the expectation that he was supposed to vault the U.S. soccer into a new hemisphere, the results haven’t lived up to the expectations.

The loss to Jamaica just goes to show that U.S. Men’s Soccer isn’t a bad team, but they aren’t a very good team either.  They are an above-average team that has accepted that identity instead of improving and becoming a great team like the U.S. Women have become.  The biggest question might be: when, if ever, they will that happen?