The United States men’s soccer team has had its share of critics throughout its failed qualification campaign, and following the end of their run toward the World Cup on Tuesday night, ESPN analyst and former U.S. soccer player Taylor Twellman added to the fire with a passionate rant about the team’s failure.
“The gloves should have been off years ago,” Twellman said. “We should have been having real criticism. The discussion after Brazil was, ‘Can we beat the Colombias and the Belgiums and the Argentinas of the world. Are you kidding me? We can’t beat Trinidad? On a field that’s too wet and too heavy? What are we doing? What are we doing?!!
“It’s remarkable when I go on this stupid thing,” Twellman continued, holding up his phone in reference to Twitter, “how ignorant people are. Belgium played Bosnia on a cow pasture, but we can’t play in Trinidad with water on the field.”
Twellman’s comments stood in marked contrast to USMNT coach Bruce Arena, who began Tuesday by sarcastically inviting European teams to come to CONCACAF and play a qualifying match if they didn’t think the U.S. faced real challenges on their road to Russia. But difficult or not, the fact remains that the United States will not participate in the World Cup for the first time since 1986.