That doesn’t get you anywhere in the World Cup, or in 2018 even into it, but it’s higher than Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, China, and India. In other words, why should we be embarrassed by that?
Men’s soccer is not a sport that attracts most of the best athletes in our country. Historically, some of our best players have been naturalized citizens, and our best player now, although born in the U.S., could play for Croatia if he preferred. We’re much stronger in international women’s soccer because it attracts more top-notch female athletes.
Prior to seemingly going out of their way to make sure they didn’t make the World Cup in 2018, they had made every once since 1990. Only Germany and Brazil had done that. Hell, Italy didn’t make it in 2018, either, and Italy has won the World Cup before.
The World Cup does not have “major bragging rights” in the United States. Most Americans don’t care about international soccer. The fact that Belgium would beat us in soccer doesn’t matter to us anymore than the Belgians care that we would beat the ever-living crap out of them in baseball. Because they don’t care about baseball.