Are you still grieving over the US men’s national team missing out on the World Cup? That’s okay, it was a rough ride, and this one is going to sting for a long time - one suspects at least until the next round of qualification. But when you’re at your absolute lowest is the time for critical self-examination. That’s what Clint Dempsey thinks anyway, as he said after training with the Sounders.
"It's disappointing obviously for everybody,” he said. “But maybe it's an opportunity now to look at youth development, to look at coaching, to look at style of play, and maybe it's one of those situations [where] you take a step back to [take] two forward. I think we need to take a look at it.”
There’s obviously been a lot of criticism since the failure to qualify; for Bruce Arena, for Sunil Gulati, and for the players themselves. Now with USSF elections coming up, a lot of people are putting Gulati under the microscope (more than usual anyway) and with USSF’s surplus reportedly at $130-140 million instead of the measly $100M originally reported, the federation has the resources to do a lot with their youth programs.
If the MNT had qualified and gone to the World Cup and made a run for knockout rounds that definitely would have been good for the program. But smaller problems also definitely would have been papered over or ignored. Now that the marathon is over, there’s time and space to go to the doctor and get those nagging little pains checked out. Even if Gulati stays on as president (stay tuned for more on him and his opponents in this election) the crowds are restless. Everyone is asking questions, as well they should, and even though we’re in the hole now, asking those questions to figure out why is the only way we’ll properly get back out of it.