The United States was eliminated from the Copa America group stage with a 1-0 loss to Uruguay on Monday night. It wasn’t the worst performance in the world, but after losing to Panama last week, Gregg Berhalter’s team couldn’t generate a decent look on goal in what amounted to a must-win game on home soil.

Say what you will about the referee, who may have been on the take, or the VAR replay of Uruguay’s goal, which looked clearly offside in real time and only slightly less offside on replay, but there was one particular moment that stood out to me and had nothing to do with refs or geometric lines.

It was this:

At that point, with Panama and Bolivia in a 1-1 tie, a USA/Uruguay draw would have seen them through. But to tell your team about that, or even worry about it at all is one of the more amateurish things you’ll ever see. Why? Because the score of the other game doesn’t fucking matter! It doesn’t change what you have to accomplish in the game you’re actually playing, a do-or-die scenario in which you control your own destiny. Worrying about the Bolivia/Panama game amounts to loser behavior, and leads to things like this:

We can talk about VAR until we’re blue in the face, but what I see is Weston McKennie and Gio Reyna falling asleep on a set piece. It’s a difficult play, because Uruguay’s goal scorer, Mathias Olivera, is starting in an offside position while the U.S. holds the line just above the 18. They aren’t marking Olivera, but leaving him off purposely, which is fine. That’s how you play it. The problem is that you have to finish your defensive run, because if you don’t clear the first ball, Olivera is free on the ensuing rebound or second ball, and that’s exactly what happens here. If you’re gonna play that zonal line and leave guys off, you have to put a body on them to complete the sequence.

Soccer is one of those games where you switch off for just a second and you pay for it. I’ve got no doubt that Berhalter telling his team the score of the other game dialed it down at least one notch on the heightened awareness scale. They were going toe-to-toe with Uruguay up until that point and it unraveled from there. They lost momentum and the attacking flow became disjointed and the frustration was evident.

Regardless, it’s another disappointment. To exit the Copa America group stage, at home, with a draw that included Panama and Bolivia? There’s no excuse for that, especially not when this is supposed to be one of our best generations of players, guys who play in Italy, France, Germany, and England. We had guys on the field last night who start for AC Milan, Juventus, and Monaco. Half of the starting XI plays in the Premier League. This isn’t the half-MLS squad of 8-10 years ago, which, by the way, advanced out of the 2014 World Cup “Group of Death” and beat Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Ecuador en route to the Centenario semifinal. We are no better than we were a decade ago. We failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and went out in the 2022 Round of 16. We’ve got the 2026 World Cup taking place in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, in just two years, and there’s nothing to suggest we’re going to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.

So they have to fire Gregg Berhalter. First order of business. I don’t think he’s been the worst coach on the planet, as some people make him out to be, but we can do better and need to do better. There’s a coach out there who can get more out of this squad. Throw a boatload of money at Jurgen Klopp. We need a pragmatic and efficient German at the helm. Pep Guardiola was recently seen at the NBA finals, right? Give him 50% ownership in the Boston Celtics and 500 acres in Texas. Give him a Congressional seat. Whatever it takes. We need to think big, not embark on some year-long process only to settle on the same coach we just had. Can John Tortorella coach soccer? If he can get 28 points out of Ryan Poehling, he’d turn Weston McKennie into Zinedine Zidane.

For now, we are losers.