The heavyweight champ Mike Tyson was once asked about the question of strategy in his fights. Iron Mike just shrugged and said, “Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face.” For Team USA at the 73rd Annual FIM Motocross of Nations, that punch in the face came early, and it was a devastating blow. After months of controversy and debate about who even wanted to be on the starting gate at the Assen TT circuit in the sandy North Atlantic region of the Netherlands, and then weeks abroad preparing—and even a hot minute of looking like real contenders for a first win in seven years—the jarring punch came in the second corner of the first moto for MX2/Open riders. That’s when teammates Jason Anderson and Justin Cooper somehow found each other in a pack of 40 riders, splashing around in a deluge of cold, steady rain and heavy sand and crashing together in a heap, tearing the clutch perch off Cooper’s bike, smashing his left hand, and leaving both riders in the back of the pack. Less than 15 seconds after the long-awaited race had finally started, even those back home watching the TV feed (which looked like it was being shot through the periscope of a surfacing submarine) knew Team USA was already knocked out.