Despite a 1-0 loss to Germany in its final group game, the United States advanced to the knockout stage for the second straight World Cup for the first time Thursday. How should U.S. fans feel? Rowdies general manager Perry Van Der Beck, who played 23 games for the U.S. team, offers his expertise.
Was Thursday's performance what you expected from the United States?
I wouldn't say it's what I expected, but we survived. We're still alive, and that's what counts. Going into this game, people were questioning the two teams and what their tactics would be because everybody knew just getting a tie would help both teams advance. As you could see, when Germany came out, first 15 minutes, they were dangerous. We played compact. As the game went on, we started working our way back into it and found ourselves in a situation with a couple of chances.
How much do you think the conditions — travel, weather, recovery time — affected the team's sharpness?
I think the conditions were a little bit difficult. But the effort was there, and that's why you have to applaud our players.
How should the casual U.S. soccer fan that is watching his or her first World Cup feel right now?
Well, hopefully proud of the team because you're playing one of the top teams in the world and we got drawn into the "Group of Death." Nobody thought going into the third game we'd control our own destiny. I think they should appreciate just how difficult the group was. They should feel the pride that American fans have for their team and the support everybody is giving them.
Is this a continuation of the upward trajectory of U.S. soccer to advance out of the group stage in consecutive World Cups?
The way I look at it, I don't let one game or one tournament dictate the trajectory of U.S. soccer. If you look at what the team has done in the last 35 months: we were on a 12-match winning streak; we won the CONCACAF qualifying group; we advanced out of the "Group of Death." The progression and the respect that we're going to be given not just nationally, but around the world is going to be very, very positive. Those are the things you need to take out of this result.