The US Soccer Federation’s decision to retain Dave Sarachan as the Men’s National Team head coach for more than a year without ever changing his “interim” designation is an invitation to quickly forget this period of USMNT’s history. It is an invitation fans are perhaps increasingly inclined to accept.
The USA’s 3-0 loss to England means the team has won just one of its last seven games. Hopes are not high for an improvement in USMNT’s last match of 2018: a friendly on neutral ground - Belgium - with Italy.
As it happens, Italy has one just one of its last seven games as well. Maybe a draw would be a fitting end to a forgettable year for both sides.
USMNT sent home two players after last week’s game against England: Weston McKennie and Luca de la Torre have been allowed to return to their clubs. And Kenny Saief is reportedly not fit for selection. That leaves a (still ample) roster of 23 for Sarachan to field against Italy.
History may remember Sarachan fondly for being the coach who gave New York Red Bulls’ Tyler Adams and Aaron Long their USMNT debuts. Since his first appearance for the senior national team last November, Adams has looked increasingly capable at the men’s international level and can hope to add to his tally of eight USA caps against Italy. Long watched the entire England game from the sidelines, but perhaps will be allowed to make a second appearance for USMNT after making his debut on Sarachan’s watch in October.
This game is widely expected to be the last of Sarachan’s reign as USMNT head coach. His brief since his appointment last November has largely appeared to be the introduction of new faces to national team player pool. He’s fulfilled that task, as the emergence of the likes of Adams and Long as national-teamers illustrates. But the interim tag and a full year of friendlies seems to have conspired against Sarachan, who understandably appears to have struggled to stamp a coherent identity on a squad defined largely by the constant introduction of new players and on-field combinations.
One more game and then USMNT’s progress on the field likely becomes someone else’s problem.