The USA was not humiliated, as Ian Darke
said on the ESPN2 telecast of the England-USA game at Wembley Stadium, when it lost to Brazil or Colombia.
It shouldn't be taken as praise,
though, that, as Darke offered, the USA has not taken "an old-fashioned hammering" in the series of friendlies it has played against soccer heavyweights going back to the France game in June.
But the USA's 3-0 loss to England sure looked bad. For the first 20 minutes or so, before Christian Pulisic
missed at one end and the English scored twice in quick succession at other
end, the Americans were chasing shadows. It was never a contest.
The USA has never claimed to be in Brazil's league, and the results bear
that out: 18 losses in 19 international matches. But England?
The last time the USA and England met, they played in the opening game of the 2010 World Cup. The result in Rustenberg was
1-1. You can debate how lucky Clint Dempsey
was to score the equalizer when England keeper Robert Green
bundled his shot across the line. But the result was not out of the realm of
possibility, nor was the USA's first-place finish in their group.
That all seems like a long time ago.
Thursday's game marked the low point of the Dave Sarachan
It came three months into the European season when reality has hit for many players. If they were playing before or hoping to play, many aren't any more or their playing time has been cut back. That
could go for six of the 10 European-based players who played on Thursday, and the dip in their confidence level was noticeable.
Has the wait to hire a new national team coach gone on too
long? To be sure, but that misses the point of the gap that has widened between England and the USA.
The USA always failed the "eye test" when it faced Brazil and its ball wizards -- do
they look like they know what they're doing? England, on the other hand, was never a team known for its technical prowess.
The overwhelming sentiment one got from Thursday's match was the
difference between the players on the two teams in terms of their composure on the ball, their movement off the ball and the speed of their decision-making.
There was a play around the
20th minute involving Ben Chilwell
, Dele Alli
and England's young star, Jadon Sancho
, when they played keep-away with DeAndre Yedlin
, Wil Trapp
and Pulisic, making
10 passes in all before a triangle played Sancho through on goal.
The play came to nothing but encapsulated the difference between the teams as England -- to its great credit -- has
developed a new generation of young stars with immense skill and the U.S. program has stagnated.
What was a gap between the two teams is now a gulf.