The problem with the U.S.'s loss to Brazil today wasn't so much that the team lost the match. It was that it lost a number of fans who were tuning in just to see what this whole soccer thing is about.
Call them bandwagon fans if you wish - hell, you can even call me one, although I'd be offended - but those "bandwagon fans" are exactly what soccer needs to thrive in mainstream America.
Unfortunately, that group of fans saw a U.S. collapse. Most of them probably missed the first half in an ultimate bandwagon effort to watch the final 45 minutes and say they witnessed the U.S.'s first FIFA-based tournament victory. So what they really saw was Brazil outscoring a defenseless (in more ways than one) U.S. team 3-0.
The adage of "there's always next year" holds true in this case, because the World Cup will be right back in South Africa in 2010. To even make the quarterfinals in the World Cup would proabably be a surprise. And a championship opportunity like today's? Almost out of the question - much like the re-acquisition of all the fans lost today.