The New York Times speaks with a disappointed Josmer Altidore, who this week returned to training with the New York Red Bulls following the junior national team's quarterfinal exit at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The USA lost in overtime, 2-1, to Austria in a match where Altidore recorded his fourth goal of the tournament. "I wouldn't be a true footballer if I didn't say I wasn't disappointed," Altidore said. "I thought we could have gone further, but perhaps we didn't play our best when we needed to, and there are no second chances."
It's a brutal truism of soccer that the best team doesn't always win, and both Altidore and reporter Jack Bell believe the U.S. was the better team against Austria. But it wasn't so cut and dry: Austria dominated the second half, wasting several chances to put the USA away. The Americans may have been the better team in the first half and in extra-time, which the U-20 players will take away as scant consolation.
Nevertheless, the USA certainly left an impression on peers and coaches at this year's World Cup, particularly Altidore, Freddy Adu and the excellent Michael Bradley. Bell asserts that the attacking trio has a certain future with the senior national team; he says Coach Bob Bradley might consider using them as early as World Cup qualifying, which begins next year. "I think we opened a lot of eyes by showing that we can play the game," Altidore said of the U-20s' performance. "I think we made people a little bit uncomfortable by showing that maybe this country has a future in soccer," The 17-year-old striker will likely start in place of the suspended Juan Pablo Angel against D.C. United on Saturday.