2024 Copa America United States vs. Uruguay

Group C


United States



United States vs. Uruguay

Game 3


“The United States lost a close one to Uruguay!”

Things didn’t exactly go according to plan, again. The “again” in question is building off the previous loss to Panama. After losing to Uruguay, the USMNT failed to escape its group.

One might think that after writing a book like Why American Soccer Isn’t There Yet I’m gloating. No. Not at all. Are there predictions in that book as to why we keep following such a losing path? Sure. By losing, you might say, “It was just two games! Chill out, man!” Right. Look at the overall FIFA World Cup record. The United States, the most dominant sports-nation on earth, hasn’t even gotten to the final of a FIFA World Cup. Ever. As for the 2024 Copa America, we just lost in succession to Panama and Uruguay. Sure, it’s just two games. But it’s a pattern. A long pattern that goes back 40-plus years. (From way back when, here’s a simple rundown: Always good athletes that could theoretically win a World Cup but there’s a disconnect with results.)

To the credit of the US, it lost to a good team. Uruguay has improved drastically in recent years. For a long time, Uruguay was just plain stuck with a style that was less than enjoyable to watch.

How will the US recover from this? Well, pretty obvious: the same team will likely start in the 2026 FIFA World Cup. And you’ll probably have the same coach. And you’ll probably have the same result. Sorry. I mean, what do you want me to say? I could say: “It’s a year of growth, it’s a team that’s learning, a team that’s gaining experience, it’s a process.” No, it’s not. It’s over. You need a new coach. You need some new players. Period.

Mark my words: If you take Berhalter into the 2026 FIFA World Cup, with his lineup selection, you will get the same result. For the optimists: if you’re lucky, you’ll get into the Round of 16, but no further. 

For the most part, Berhalter has surrounded himself with good athletes but not good soccer players. If they were good soccer players, the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2024 Copa America results would be different. Is that not true? If that’s not true, please send a handwritten letter to me explaining why. 

In summary, the US didn’t escape its 2024 Copa America group. On the bright side: neither did Mexico. Yet, somehow Canada did (go figure).

Here are the teams that qualified for the 2024 Copa America elimination rounds:


Canada (c’mon, seriously?)




Panama (really?)



Well, you know, chalk it up to a learning experience. This team’s got potential. Potential to sit back and watch it. No, listen, the thing is (sounding like Chris Farley from the 90s?), hold on, get this, the thing is, what happened was, no, seriously, listen, listen, here’s what happened, the thing is, here’s what it is, the thing is, hold on, get this, get this, the thing is: the US has potential. What that potential may be, I have no idea. We’ll see. It’s going to play out. There’s a lot of time.

Hold on a second.

There was negative talk about the team (shocker), its performance, its coach. There was talk of replacing Berhalter. Halt ain’t goin’ nowhere. He’s the new Oscar Tabarez. He’ll be there forever. Yet there’s talk, already. Yet again. (Quick recap: After the 2022 FIFA World Cup there was talk of him being replaced.)

If Berhalter does leave, who might replace him? The knee-jerk reaction is “an experienced international coach that knows what it takes to win in these types of tournaments.” Yeah, that’s always helpful. Or, just take Peter Vermes…finally. He’s a good coach; let him have a crack at it. How is he not coach? Another crazy idea, smart people, would be: Anson Dorrance. I know, he’s coached women which somehow precludes such a transition to the men’s side, as though that just can’t happen. Dorrance won a FIFA Women’s World Cup with the ladies, he’s dominated college soccer with North Carolina. He knows how to win, and he stresses creative dribbling, so why not him?! People, get a grip. There are American options out there and those are two of them. But no, everybody tends to say, “We need an international coach who can teach these guys,” as though Americans don’t understand soccer yet.

Don’t forget, as I’ve pointed out before, soccer’s the “one sport” we “apparently just don’t get.” Like we have some built-in mechanism that makes us do it wrong. When it comes to that: We can’t miss, apparently.

Let’s get back on track. The team lacked the ability to score goals when it counted. It lacked the overall prowess to organize everything on the field into sustainable wins. Overall: one win, two losses.

So, what’s next for the team? We’ll see. Looks like the head coach topic might be a conversation piece for weeks to come.

I would also add the suggestion of “six new starters, at least.”

About the Author

Shane Stay is a bestselling author; his most recent book is This is Our CityHe has also written The Euro 2020 Book, European Soccer Leagues 2019, Major League Soccer 2019The Women’s World Cup 2019 BookThe World Cup 2018 Book, Why American Soccer Isn’t There Yetand The Cairo Project. In 2008, he played professional soccer with St. Louis Illusion. During his career as a soccer player, he earned a Missouri club state championship with Busch Soccer Club and a Holland Cup championship with a Metro East team. In 1999, he founded the first online Current Events Game (CE Game). He has appeared on TV and has featured on numerous radio broadcasts including ESPN and NPR.



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