Saturday, December 10, 2022

More relieved than happy, US pays attention to Qatar

SAN JOSE COSTA Rica ( Associated Press) – Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams had relief on their faces as they boarded a charter jet straight from stadiums to Europe and weekend club games.

“This is what I’ve always wanted to be, and the feelings are a little crazy right now,” said Pulisic, his voice trembling.

Coach Greg Berhalter was on red-eye for New York and a 12 1/2-hour connecting flight for Friday’s World Cup draw in Doha.

The United States returned to the World Cup, recovering from the past and preparing for the future.

For Pulisic, DeAndre Yedlin, Kellyanne Acosta and Paul Arriola, on that doomed American team in Trinidad 4 1/2 years ago, the pain had not yet gone away. Wednesday night’s 2-0 loss to Costa Rica was disappointing, but by the time players entered the Estadio Nacional’s locker room, the focus was on the feat of returning to football for the first time since 2014.

Eric Palmer-Brown began to open Duet Mossex Brut, even as Berhalter was giving his speech. Then the new JBL Boombox 2 went haywire.

“We are the youngest team to qualify for the World Cup, the youngest American team, and we will be the youngest team in the World Cup,” Berhalter said. “It’s an achievement for these guys. It really is.”

He had traveled 25,042 miles on charters—circling the world adds only 24,901—four trips to Central America, plus one trip each to Mexico, Canada, and Jamaica. Plus up to five trans-Atlantic round trips. Forty-four players were called, of whom 38 entered the field. A total of 114 players have been used since Trinidad, 88, since Berhalter was hired in December 2018.

Wiping tears, the policeman had buried his face in the crow in his hands.

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