Ok, so maybe that didn't go as we had all hoped. But let's take a step back from the carnage of heartbreak and take a look at some objective things, such as dollar signs. Now I make no bones that player salaries and transfer fees are subject to variability that has nothing at all to do with actual player performance value (See ex. 1, Torres, F.), but even though it's a blunt force instrument of trauma, player values are a useful tool simply for the purposes of comparison.
I hear you snickering in the back. Yes, I know that the salary cap and single entity structure of MLS cannot be fairly compared to european leagues with more *flexible* salary structures. Notwithstanding that, it's still useful to the extent that the player and the sport is valued in whichever league/country he plies his trade in.
So, on to the numbers according to thescore.com, here are the respective player values for each team and its relative ranking to the rest of the field of 32 at this year's finals.
Total Market Value: $621,815,994
Highest-Valued Player: Mario Gotze ($61,249,500)
Total Market Value: $399,518,890
Highest-Valued Player: Cristiano Ronaldo ($136,110,000)
Total Market Value: $150,743,365
Highest-Valued Player: Kwadwo Asamoah ($27,222,000)
Total Market Value: $77,464,104
Highest-Valued Player: Clint Dempsey ($9,527,700)
As you can see, the United States total team player value is by far the lowest in our group. How low you ask? OUr total team value adds up to just about less than half of the next highest team, Ghana. The entire team value of the USMNT is almost half the value of Portugal's best player, Mr. Show Pony himself. That's 23 players added together, making only half of what one player on Portugal's team makes.
And then there's Germany, clocking in at almost 622 million dollars in total team value. How many USMNT players would that give you? 184 players, that's what. You know how many chicken nuggets that would buy you? Enough to build an impenetrable fort in front of Timmay's goal, that's how much. Germany's team is worth, money wise, more than 8 times what the entire USMNT is valued at. Maybe if we had 184 players on the field to counter Germany's 11, we would have been able to eke out a draw.
Ok, on to the round of 16.
Total Market Value: $467,856,476
Highest-Valued Player: Eden Hazard ($61,240,500)
So here's what we got. Eden Hazard, a 61 million dollar man, going against DeAndre Yedlin, who makes a cool 53k a year with the Sounders. In other words, DeAndre more than held his own against a man making more than 1,144 times as much scratch as him. In other news, you can fit 1321 earths inside Jupiter. Belgiums overall market value is more than 6 times the market value of the USMNT. The numbers don't necessarily translate into results on the field however. The way I choose to look at things, the USMNT was a massive underdog in each game, and based on market value alone, had an incalculably small chance of making it out of our group. Then, the great wall of howard gave Belgium fits for 90 minutes, and we almost pulled out a draw against a team worth more than 6 times the value of our team.
Does it hurt to go out when we had a fighting chance to go through? Of course, but I'm going to take solace in the fact that we far exceeded expectations according to team and player value. I'm willing to wager that our highest valued player (Deuce) probably makes less than some of the lowest valued players on some of the squads we faced. By this measuring stick, it would be a win in my book if our 2018 squad and 2022 squad's total market value were to increase significantly, regardless of the actual outcome of the games- because that will mean that soccer will have at least grown by that much (or the quality of american players) will have improved to the degree where they are valued at a level commensurate with the level of performance they are and will be performing at.
Chin up all, we did well. Nay, we far exceeded expectations. And if nothing else, we should at the very least feel that we got more than double our money's worth of performances from our boys.