• Rick Niedermayer Jr

String of Bad Luck or the New Normal

Sebastian Soto slumps on the pitch after the US fell to Honduras 2-1

Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

On Sunday, the United States U-23 team fell 2-1 to the Honduras U-23 team, resulting in the US missing out on the 2021 (2020 postponed due to COVID-19) for the 4th time in 5 cycles. The team missed out on the 2004 Greece Olympics, the 2012 London Olympics, the 2016 Brazil Olympics and now the 2020-2021 Tokyo Olympics. The team did qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, recording 1 win, 1 loss and 1 draw. Besides the 2000 team, which saw the team lose the bronze medal match to Chile, the Olympic squad has never finished higher than 9th place, when they have qualified. Why does it seem like the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) dismisses the Olympics?

USMNT U-23 players look on as they fell 2-1 to Honduras

The loss is not just another loss, it represents the team and for that matter, the program taking steps back to the same path they have been on. The team didn’t even bring the best players that could qualify and would probably play at the Olympics. The team was without Christian Pulisic(22), Tyler Adams(21), Giovanni Reyna(18), Sergino Dest(20) among others, plus the Olympics allow you to bring 3 players over the age of 23(24 for this Olympic cycle, again COVID-19) which would have seen Zack Steffen being 25, in the goal. The players I just mentioned were not released by their teams for this qualification, but they were in action this week still with the senior national squad, as FIFA does require Pro Clubs to release players for Olympics as it is not operated by FIFA. The question should be asked, why did the USSF just accept this and not try to fight for the players to be released for Olympic qualifying?

What can be said, if this is foreshadowing what is to come when the USMNT attempt to qualify for the FIFA World Cup, things definitely do not look good.

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