After emerging from a tough group with a win against Iran, the USA would take on the Netherlands in the Round of 16. Their opponents easily won their group by allowing one goal and taking seven points in three... not extremely difficult matchups. The USA seemed to matchup well to the Oranje though man for man Holland probably has the edge at nearly every position.
While the odds were for a Netherlands win before the match, the team is mostly know for being home to the man who re-invented soccer to create the blueprint for the modern game as we know it in Johan Cruyff and for never winning the World Cup due to individuals deciding to be bigger than the team or otherwise humiliating collective collapses. As for this game, ball watching, lack of a striker, more ball watching, and not marking attackers in the box would doom the USA as Holland won 3-1.
The USA would continue to find a suitable striker as Jesus Ferreira got a chance to claim that role, otherwise it would be Walker Zimmerman at center back the only other change for Gregg Berhalter’s squad.
The Netherlands were reportedly dealing with the flu before the game, but the XI featured their top players and it seemed like Memphis was fully fit to start the match.
In the end, goals from Daley Blind, Memphis, and Denzel Dumfries were too much for the USA. An unlikely score from Haji Wright gave the Americans hope, but the defensive errors were too costly as they were eliminated from the round of 16.
GIFS OF... ball watching and not great defending but moments of near brilliance from the Stars and Stripes
The game opened with the USA full of confidence, keeping possession in the Dutch half and having successful forays into the final third. Holland gave the Yanks an early chance as the defense under punted its coverage keeping Pulisic onside, but his shot was not well placed.
Despite the USA having a strong 10 minutes, it would be the Netherlands to score first. After winning a ball in the center of the pitch, the Oranje pushed forward, ripped up the American midfield and a late run from Memphis sent his side up 1-0.
MEMPHIS DEPAY GIVES NETHERLANDS THE LEAD! pic.twitter.com/yjoThP7sNv— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 3, 2022
After the goal Holland was happy to give up the ball and dare the Americans to unlock them. A ball was sent through to Jedi Robinson but the fullback elected to drive to the center of the 18 rather than play wide and was dispossessed. Another opportunity was lost when Sergino Dest carried the ball to the byline to send a cutback into the box that was received by nobody.
That would establish a pattern that would repeat until the 40th minute when the USA would start delivering threatening looking passes and crosses into the box. Unfortunately, none found attacking players as once again the absence of a no. 9 who could threaten the goal was a glaring issue for the Americans.
There was a nice shot put on frame from Tim Weah that gave an indication of what the best forwards for the USA are capable of.
The half ended with a terrible defensive lapse from the USA as Daley Blind was left unmarked to saunter leisurely into the 18 and put the Netherlands up 2-0.
The Netherlands make it two!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 3, 2022
In the final seconds of the first half, Daley Blind makes it 2-0 pic.twitter.com/pZThbgnKUK
In the second half the USA made a big move as Jesus Ferreira came out for Gio Reyna as the Dutch switched Davy Klaassen and Marten de Roon for Teun Koopmeiners. While the first 45 ended with the Oranje retreating into their defensive third they were happy to open things up in the second half.
The USA nearly scored on a classic American scrum goal off of a corner when Tim Ream poked a toe at a loose ball in the box that was cleared off the line - that’s why you mark the posts kids.
Weston McKennie would once again find a shot at the top of the box, but his effort was sent well over the bar.
The American attempts at going forward also left them open to Dutch danger as Matt Turner was called into action to push a shot from Memphis over the bar in the 61st minute. He was again needed minutes later as Sergino Dest tried to dribble through four Holland players in the defensive third and gave away the ball to set up a pair of shots leading to a double save.
Shortly after Turner’s saves, Haji Wright and Brenden Aaronson would come on for Weah and McKennie. Wright would have a chance to be a hero as a poor back pass was sent weakly into the Holland 18 that the striker took a heavy touch on as a big opportunity was wasted.
Another massive chance for the USMNT! pic.twitter.com/SINfJrqmQp— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 3, 2022
Needing two goals Gregg Berhalter went to his bench and brought in DeAndre Yedlin for Dest. Wright would almost immediately redeem himself for his earlier miss as he got a foot on a ball that ended up looping into the Holland goal to give the USA a 2-1 lifeline with 20 minutes left.
That lifeline would be snuffed out by yet more awful defending as an unmarked Denzel Dumfries restored the two goal lead.
Another look at the third goal for the Dutch pic.twitter.com/JRYLMhYW1E— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 3, 2022
Regulation would end and six minutes of injury time would be added, needing two goals it was time to throw an attacker on and hope something good happened as Jordan Morris entered for Jedi in the 90th. Those six minutes would pass and the final whistle on the 2022 World Cup would sound for the Red, White, and Blue on a 3-1 scoreline.