Jozy Altidore suggests it is normal for a national team like the USA to experience blips on their radar.
The US were hammered 4-1 by Republic of Ireland in a friendly in Dublin on Tuesday and the performance was one that was uncustomary in a year where Juergen Klinsmann's team performed to a much higher level.
In the wake of the heavy loss, Sunderland striker Altidore spoke ill of the subpar showing but was also positive in his analysis of the team's 2014 results as a whole.
"I think it was a good year but as we look towards a new cycle now it's clear what we missed here: we missed a lot of bite, and it was just too easy for Ireland. At international level you can't play like that," Altidore said.
"At the same time, it's a learning curve, they are growing pains. We have to make sure that we're learning and these things stop occurring as we go into 2015.
"These are the growing pains - sometimes you'll see good things, like against the Czech Republic [a 1-0 win in September], and sometimes you will see dips, that's normal.
"The key thing now is to remain positive and understand that it's a process. It's not going to happen overnight. It's frustrating, absolutely, but you have to be patient."
Anthony Pilkington opened the scoring for Ireland in the seventh minute before Mix Diskerud levelled for the US six minutes before half-time.
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