2018 has been a year of transition, to say the least, for the United States Men’s National Team. Guiding the team through the storm has been Dave Sarachan, who has served as interim manager since Bruce Arena resigned back in October 2017. Dave Sarachan’s tenure as caretaker manager officially ended yesterday after a 1-0 loss to Italy.
His final record as interim manager in 12 matches: 3 wins, 5 losses, and 4 draws. The wins came against Paraguay, Bolivia, and Mexico, with draws against Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, and Peru. His losses came to Ireland, Brazil, Colombia, England and Italy.
When he took over as interim head coach following Bruce Arena’s resignation on October 13, 2017, after a loss to Trinidad and Tobago saw the USMNT fail to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Sarachan was charged with the task of identifying the future and calling in younger players who can form the core of the team for the next World Cup cycle. He used the opportunity to call in several players and give them opportunities on the international stage. 23 players made their national team debut under Sarachan’s watch, and he rolled out lineups that were the youngest in U.S. Soccer history. His last starting XI, yesterday against Italy, was an average age of 22 years, 71 days. He gave the captain’s armband to Christian Pulisic, making him the youngest captain in USMNT history. The Play The Kids movement was one area that Dave Sarachan found success.
While the record was nothing to write home about, many of his matches came against top international competition. 7 of his 12 opponents participated in the 2018 World Cup, including a trip to Lyon to face France just a month before they won the tournament. The USMNT drew the eventual world champions 1-1 in what was certainly the team’s best match under Sarachan.
He took the reins at a difficult time and helped pave the way for the next generation. Thank you, Coach Dave!— U.S. Soccer MNT (@ussoccer_mnt) November 21, 2018
This news certainly means that a new permanent head coach announcement is imminent. Who that is remains to be seen, although it’s widely assumed that it will be Gregg Berhalter. Whoever it ends up being, Dave Sarachan’s legacy won’t be felt for a few years as these younger players grow and improve. In the short term, many players will thank him for giving them an opportunity to show what they can do on the international stage.