Biggest "What-if" in USMNT history?

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by Ryan T Smith, Apr 6, 2024.

?

What's the biggest "What-if" moment in USMNT history?

  1. Torsten Frings' handball is called

    23 vote(s)
    62.2%
  2. US holds on in the '09 Confed Cup final

    5 vote(s)
    13.5%
  3. Wondo buries his chance

    6 vote(s)
    16.2%
  4. Pulisic scores early chance vs. Netherlands

    2 vote(s)
    5.4%
  5. John Harkes keeps it in his pants

    1 vote(s)
    2.7%
  1. Ryan T Smith

    Ryan T Smith Member

    Borussia Dortmund
    United States
    May 10, 2022
    Another one that doesn't definitively make things better or worse as far as the state of the game/NT is concerned, but the "butterfly effects" would be massive: what if Colombia was replaced by the United States instead of Mexico as hosts of the 1986 World Cup? Does NASL survive in this instance, or do we still start over from scratch? What does the USMNT player pool look like? How do we perform in USA '86? Italia '90? '94 (in a different country) and beyond? It really is quite intriguing to think about.
     
    The Irish Rover repped this.
  2. gomichigan24

    gomichigan24 Member+

    Jul 15, 2002
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    An underrated what if.
     
    Eleven Bravo repped this.
  3. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I dunno…there’s the Frings handball which was one incident in one match, and I don’t think that can be compared to the house of cards that was NASL. There was no One Weird Trick that would have saved the league.
     
  4. tefftlon

    tefftlon Member

    Real Madrid
    United States
    Jan 11, 2023
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I voted for the Confed Cup because it is a trophy. Defunct or not, none of the other options as big as they are give us a trophy.

    In the same vain, really would get rid of the injury bug that hit us going into S Africa. Add a 100% fit Onyewu, Jones, Holden, & Davies to that team, I am also a believer could beat Ghana and then Uruguay.
     
  5. HomietheClown

    HomietheClown BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Dusselheim FC 1971
    Sep 4, 2010
    Club:
    --other--
    Meh.
    Sure it is a trophy but a trophy no one cares about.

    Do you hear anyone talk about Mexico's Confederation Cup trophy?
    I mean, even Mexicans rarely talk about it anymore.
     
  6. HScoach13

    HScoach13 Member+

    Nov 30, 2016
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Lesser what if....

    Charlie Davies didn't get in that car?
     
    SteelyTom repped this.
  7. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    Freddy for me is the most haunting what if in modern U.S. soccer history.
     
  8. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    None
    United States
    May 12, 2019
    If it's fair to toss every injury into a what if, this is probably it. I think Davies has become somewhat overrated in our minds, but his replacements were awful, and his speed was a weapon.

    Moreso, a healthy Gooch, Jones and Stu Holden is just a completely different team. Of course, every team has injuries, but I'd take that team over the current team.
     
  9. schrutebuck

    schrutebuck Member+

    Jul 26, 2007
    I agree. It doesn't matter if the Confederations Cup becomes irrelevant due to FIFA/UEFA politicking or whatever a decade down the line, but fact of the matter is if the US wins an official FIFA (not CONCACAF) competition with back-to-back victories over Spain and Brazil, it will be remembered.
     
  10. Marko72

    Marko72 Member+

    Aug 30, 2005
    New York
    Bradley puts away his gilt-edged chance vs Ghana in 2010 to win it in normal time.
     
    Sebsasour repped this.
  11. An Unpaved Road

    An Unpaved Road Member+

    Mar 22, 2006
    Club:
    --other--
    The Cosmos might actually be playing soccer.
     
    gomichigan24 repped this.
  12. Ryan T Smith

    Ryan T Smith Member

    Borussia Dortmund
    United States
    May 10, 2022
    Another wrinkle in the "Wondo's miss" scenario is that there are multiple sources (Ian Darke's live commentary and FotMob's live blog of the game) that claim Wondo was flagged for offside on the play (he was obviously onside but VAR did not exist yet). Now, Darke did eventually recant and say the flag was actually for a goal kick but the fact that another source also said it was offside makes me doubt that. Imagine if he had buried the chance but we had another Hugh Dallas/Coman Coulibaly moment where the referee robbed us. Coupled with the Ghana penalty in '06, that would have made it four consecutive World Cups of us being screwed by bad officiating.
     
    Anderson11 repped this.
  13. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yeah with Davies it’s more about Rossi choosing Italy and Findlay being bad. If you replace a negative (Findlay) with a zero it’s addition by subtraction.

    Gooch being unhealthy resulted in Bornstein starting at the end. Now that COULD have been a problem, but Honduras’ favorite Jewish Mexican actually played pretty well.

    In short tournaments luck and randomness matter. A normal Bornstein performance would have been a negative but he gave us Good Jonathan.
     
  14. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    They are all just examples a weird group of fans to over rate past performances and results.

    The exaggeration of the importance of the Confed Cup and the USMNT performance seems to keep growing. Nobody talks about this tournament outside this subset of whacky US fans. Brazil doesn't count their Confed Cup championships. It didn't seem like Spain cared too much during that semifinal and don't recall Casillas going up a a softer goal. The last version was so important that Germany took a full second team and won the darn thing.

    For a tournament that was all about a dry run for the logistics of the actual tournament the following year, the US played how they usually do in tournaments. Some good (w/some very good moments) and some bad. They played 4 good halves in 5 games that resulted in in 2W-3L-0T and a -1 GD.
     
    QuakeAttack repped this.
  15. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Nevada
    I'm more of the sort that I do hold it against him, but I also feel terrible that a guy who played the game for decades is remembered more for that miss than any of the other countless goals he scored for club particularly (and country-a few). I feel and felt horrible for him.

    But it was a much easier finish than probably any chance Belgium generated until extra time. It wasn't ridiculous, it was still challenging, but I think a lot of the reason people were upset was more how horribly it was flubbed than that he didn't score. He didn't even force a save and rebound, he skied it, horribly. It was god awful. He didn't hit a post, a crossbar, or the goalie, he just punted the ---- out of it, which just buried even more anti-Klinsy (wtf with this roster!) hate, for putting all of our world cup in the hands of a player that didn't even deserve a ticket to the cup itself in the mind of most. So it became outsized both for how horribly it was executed and for Wondo's place in the pool itself/and roster.

    For me, it would have been far better if he hadn't made the team, then that he had that wretched experience, but that's just me, maybe he feels different, and I know you clearly do too.
     
    superdave repped this.
  16. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

    Jun 12, 2002
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks for the memories in this thread. Given the list provided, I chose the Frings handball. Getting to a semi-final would have been huge for the US, and the guys did play really well that game, too. Of course, scoring a PK wouldn't have won the game, but it was a huge moment on a big stage.

    Injuries are always big, sad regrets. But also a part of any sport.

    I also think of fluke moments. Consider the crazy Ochoa off-the-post-then-off-the-head-own-goal that allowed Honduras to beat Mexico on the final day of qualifiers for the 2018 WC. If that game ends a draw, the US makes the WC, even after laying an egg at Trinidad. Missing any WC in the modern era is huge. We were not a great squad at that time, but playing in the WC is always the goal, and not having the US there to cheer for really killed some of my WC enthusiasm in 2018. Plus, wasn't there a controversial goal in the Costa Rica game that same day, which also cost the US a place in the WC. Flukes really suck.
     
    SteelyTom and NietzscheIsDead repped this.
  17. NietzscheIsDead

    NietzscheIsDead BigSoccer Yellow Card

    NO WAR
    United States
    May 31, 2019
    NO WAR
    Many what ifs surround Jones, who is arguably the best performer we have ever had in a World Cup. Do we beat Brazil in 09 with Jones? Yes.
     
    The Clientele repped this.
  18. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Nevada
    I'm torn, I think it would have been huge beating Brazil, but I also think they'd be, "what the hell is a confederations cup," is it like the NIT tournament of soccer? And it wouldn't have huge staying power.. I mean, people forget, we made a run to semifinals in 1999 too, and nobody anywhere remembers even amongst us, and even fewer care.
     
  19. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Nevada

    On that last point, I'm very much with you. What the guys did in beating Colombia, tying Switzerland, going to South America and making the semifinals the next year was and is insane, in a lot of ways it trumps everything everyone else did. That Colombia was at the pinnacle of its powers, at times the best team in South America, and we actually legit beat them (not knowing narcoterrorists were threatening to kill family members)....I am w/you, and Herc for that matter in arguing that Bora, Sampson, Arena and Bradley's accomplishments considering the pool were basically infinitely more impressive. They were not working remotely with the ingredients Berhalter is, and thus far, Berhalter has been at times able to max out the ingredients, but mostly, not, just in fits and starts, a half against Wales and Iran, a game against England.....Our performance against the Dutch was so inexplicably bad, Senegal and Ecuador were VASTLY better in their games against the Dutch than we were, which more than anything was why I was so disappointed. They proved it could be done, and Berhalter and the players came out and totally ---- the bed in their biggest moment. That could have been a moment, instead it was same ol same ol and a much worse version of it (3-1 battering scoreline, even if the game was closer than the scoreline suggested, turning on a few mind numbingly stupid moments from us, and clinical finishing from them).
     
  20. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Nevada
    Never going to happen. How old are you? Were you around for that era? It was such a concentrated period of Baseball+Football+College Football/College Basketball. The media actively ---- on everything else. Hell even Golf and Boxing beat the ---- out of soccer in media interest at the time. The NASL was NEVER going to work EVER. It was decades too early. Not enough channels, not enough grass roots support amongst sports watching males in the country back then, it was always utterly hopeless. In a lot of ways we were lucky we hosted and then the internet came along in the following years, and then mass media spread to open opportunities for soccer to start knocking on doors, for EA Sports and FIFA to grab game players attention etc. In a lot of ways, the introduction of a league in the mid nineties, and us hosting the cup in '94 was literally perfect, maybe a touch too early for the league, but it survived the rough first decade and thats what matters.

    NASL was never gonna survive in any universe, as someone born in the mid seventies, and growing up in the sporting landscape of the eighties and early nineties, NASL was always a dead letter. :(. It's nice to dream though, and man, if it had hit properly, I would have actually seen Maradonna's '86 instead of only watching a WC live for the first time just in time for the worst ever modern edition (Italia '90).
     
  21. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Nevada
    It's like the NIT. I would've cared, but no, it wouldn't move the needle. Frings creates a game that likely we either win, or goes to extra time and penalties w/the WC on the line. The sports pub I went to to watch England vs Brazil before it was filled to the gills, the public would've jumped (hell they did). That is the penultimate.

    The Pulisic goal is interesting because it basically changes the Dutch game plan entirely and that's the only other option that's really transformative because the path after that is HUGE----Argentina and Messi in the quarters against us?!?!?! Holy ----, and we actually somewhat matched up w/them, it would have been exciting.

    It's Frings first because we would have been odds on likely to make the semi's for a rematch with South Korea (that part would be disappointing to some extent, a semi against crappy South Korea instead of Brazil?), but it still would have been massive, us beating Germany with a Final on offer. Too bad we had a million card accumulation exclusions lined up, nuances that the media would not alert joe dumb fan too.

    But yeah, its definitely Frings and Pulisic.
     
  22. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Nevada
    certainly if the freddy of the U17 WC in '03 and U20 WC in '07 was the senior level Freddy. Good Lord, that is an interesting one.
     
  23. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Nevada
    It also would've been a WC where Pulisic, McKennie and Adams at bare minimum, possibly Weah and Sargent make the squad too. A lot of guys who got screwed out of a cup, would've gotten it there, and would have been more ready for Qatar. Maybe they ---- the bed anyway, but maybe the experience of '18 helps reset them for all things '22. Interesting to think about.

    Don't forget it was twin crazies: Ochoa's off his head goal, and Panama scored a ghost goal that never went in (and hell, another goal was off the worst defending I've ever seen from Panama ever). It remains sort of the opposite coin of matchday 3 of the confed cup where everything went right (we had to win by 3 or more, and Brazil had to win by 3 or more, otherwise we were out, and both happened, matchday 10 of the hex in '17 was exactly that in reverse in terms of flukey, but even crazier, just because of the nature of the variety of goals that knocked us out (off Ochoa's head, Ghost Goal that never went in, Omar's greatest goal ever, except an own goal, Rec Ball T&T league jag's howitzer from distance: all four of those things had to happen to screw us, and all 4 did, hell even Dempsey hit a post).
     
    Mr Martin repped this.
  24. Sebsasour

    Sebsasour Member+

    New Mexico United
    May 26, 2012
    Albuquerque NM
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We probably lose to Uruguay but they were a beatable quarterfinal opponent (Ghana should have beat them). That was in general a pretty decent half of the bracket and definitely has always been a little bit of a what if for me, if we pull that game out

    Good call
     

Share This Page