U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati
said the USA-Argentina semifinal at the Copa Centenario was a way to judge the state of the national team program -- and it did just that.
got outplayed badly by a very good team," he told media members after the 4-0 loss to Argentina in Houston. "Today is a good day to judge where we are in program overall. We're obviously a long way
Gulati says that should not come as any surprise.
"We knew that going in," he said, "but we knew we were a long way off when we beat Spain back in 2009 [Confederations
Cup semifinals] or Germany or Holland [in friendlies] last year.”
After the 2-0 loss to Colombia in the tournament opener, Gulati admitted the results in the last 18 months had not
been what he would have hoped for and signaled that not making the knockout stage of the Copa Centenario would have likely triggered a coaching change.
The USA then ran off three
straight wins to reach the semifinals against Argentina.
“Obviously, tonight was disappointing," he said. "That there’s a gap between the two teams is not a surprise. That you
can win some of those games is also not a surprise. Today, that wasn’t going to happen. It was pretty clear early on. There have been some very good positives out of this [Copa Centenario], but
The biggest disappointment was that the USA was never in the game.
“We just a lost a game in which we weren’t really in the game after the first
three minutes," said. "It’s hard to ask me about feelings. Today, is a disappointment that it wasn’t a more competitive game. But overall, the performance of the team to get here,
absolutely that’s a positive.”
Gulati also looked on the positive side that the USA will quickly get a chance to put the Argentina game behind it.
got another game against a team that’s ranked top-five in the world," he said of Saturday's third-place game at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
That opponent will be Colombia, a
2-0 loser to Chile in Wednesday's semifinals
. The game will give the USA a chance to see how
much it has progressed since dropping the tournament opener to the Cafeteros.