ALEXI LALAS: I woke up this morning, and I physically ached. It was a disappointment and a sadness and a shame. This team– they failed themselves, they failed the sport, and they failed their country. It doesn’t make them bad people, all right? And it also doesn’t mean that they didn’t care. I know you mentioned that you think you care more than them. It doesn’t mean that– I disagree with that. I do think that they care, as much and in some cases, maybe maybe more than you. I think they recognize what has happened, but watching this last night with you and with others, there was a sense of disbelief and a surreal nature to it where this can’t happen. And maybe that’s arrogance, maybe that is hubris, maybe that is American exceptionalism. But you mentioned the fact that qualifying for the World Cup should not be cause for celebration, given what we are as a soccer playing nation, the area that we play in with CONCACAF, and was something that we have done since 1990.
So waking up this morning and realizing that the United States men’s national team will not be involved in a World Cup next summer, it is devastating. It is disastrous. Does it mean that soccer goes away? No. But every four years, from a men’s perspective, we have this platform. And for next summer, we will have wasted that platform. And it hurts the game, it hurts the players, it hurts the perception of the players and the game, both domestically and internationally. And it didn’t have to happen. And that’s what’s so frustrating. It’s one thing if we’re just not any good. It’s one thing if the soccer gods do something. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. We can’t blame the other teams, we can’t blame referees, we can’t blame the weather. We have nobody to blame but ourselves for this incredible failure.
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