Orlando: Orlando City Stadium was decked out Thursday with bright red banners proclaiming “The Future is US,” the slogan of a youthful United States national squad.
Maybe a better slogan would be “The Future is Coming.” Or even “Watch this Space.”
Because although the long-term future does indeed appear bright for the rebuilding team, even the players can’t say how long it will take for them to get there.
“I’m not sure,” defender Matt Miazga said. “We have to see how we perform in the games because that’s the measure of our success. It’s the start of a new cycle. A new staff, a new regime.
“We’re trying to build a new culture and a new identity for our national team program. We know it’s not going to be smooth sailing.”
There was little rough water on the new team’s maiden voyage, though, with Gyasi Zardes’ goal in the 81st minute giving the US a 1-0 victory over Ecuador in a game the Americans dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard.
It was the first step for a national team trying to learn a challenging style of play with a new roster and a new coach. And it was just a baby step.
But at least it was a step in the right direction.
“Overall, when you look at the information we’ve given the guys in the last two days we’re pleased with the performance,” said coach Gregg Berhalter, whose team spent as much time in meetings and video sessions this week as they did on the field.
“It’s a good starting point. So we’re pleased.”