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Chin Up; The Future Is Bright

The United States suffered perhaps their most tragic defeat in their nations history in the round of 16 tie with Belgium. 

Keeper Tim Howard stood on his head for 120 minutes, and played the game of his life. As commentator Ian Darke put it, Howard played "One of the best games of even his distinguished career." In the end, his efforts were not enough, despite Howard's 16 saves against the Belgians, the United States fell 2-1. 

The Belgian onslaught proved to be too much for the American defense, as they finally beat Howard in the 93rd minute, and again in the 105th minute of the first period of overtime. The Belgians were deserving of the win, but the future does look bright for the United States. 

They had moments where they could've easily made the game theirs, none better then the 2nd minute of extra time, when Chris Wondolowski nearly slotted home what appeared to be a sitter. Wondo will have nightmares of that miss for years to come. As will many United States soccer fans. But despite the loss, the Americans have showed that the sport is clearly growing. 

The youth which was present in this team, will serve in the 2018 World Cup, and the 2016 olympic games, and may be able to challenge for glory. Julian Green, the 19 year old German American prodigy, slotted home the United States only goal of the game with a brilliantly stroke volley. 

Deandre Yedlin looked brilliant all tournament, at just 20 years of age. Expect Jozy Altidore to come back from his hamstring injury stronger, and hungry to challenge for glory. 

The list of players goes on, and on, and their will be an important part of the 2014 nucleus who will surely return for one final run, Michael Bradley will be 31 in 2018, Clint Dempsey 35, and perhaps least realistic Tim Howard will be 39. All may be able to play in 2018, though Howard will be unlikely, but the goalkeeping future looks bright even without Howard, as Brad Guzan looks an excellent understudy and has been brilliant for Aston Villa in the Premier League. 

The loss does sting, and will continue to sting for a long time. But Americans must keep their heads up and look forward to the future, because the future is bright. 

Better days are on the horizon, and World Cup glory may not be far off. The game of soccer has been growing in the United States for years, and will continue to grow. 

If the level of play in the MLS continues to grow, and Americans continue to support the game, we are capable of achieving anything. Take the pain that comes with the loss, and try to look at the bright side that comes with it, the sun will come out tomorrow, and that sun will be brighter then it ever has.

By Antonio Lynch