03 Jul USMNT Gold Cup semifinal: Excellent event document hiding worrying flaws Berhalter’s U.S. nationwide team
Gregg Berhalter’s U.S. nationwide team has saved an ideal document within the regional competitors, however the Individuals have but to supply a whole recreation
Survive and advance. It is the usual mantra of event play, however for a team that enters a event anticipated to dominate and at the very least attain the ultimate, merely surviving can present a false sense of safety, particularly when event waters get deeper and extra harmful.
The U.S. nationwide team is the one remaining team on the Gold Cup with a very good document. 4 matches. 4 wins. 4 shutouts.
What’s lacking from that document is a very full efficiency, which in itself is a worrisome pattern contemplating the extent of opponent the Individuals have confronted, and given the truth that Wednesday’s semifinal opponent, Jamaica, and potential ultimate opponent Mexico would require higher performances to defeat.
The team’s opening blowout wins towards Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago adopted comparable scripts. The USMNT struggled to interrupt down inferior opponents within the first half, lastly breaking by way of as their opponents wore down bodily, driving dominant second-half efforts to drag away. Dealing with a Panama B team within the group finale, the Individuals deployed a reserve team that could not generate many possibilities.
Then there was Sunday’s quarterfinal win towards Curacao, a match that noticed the Individuals truly put collectively their finest begin to a match thus far within the Gold Cup, solely to cede possession and be pushed to the brink by a Curacao facet that handed by way of the U.S. team’s makes an attempt at a press with relative ease. In the end, Curacao was completed in by an absence of high quality within the ultimate third, which saved the Caribbean facet from having the ability to capitalize on its management of the match’s second half.
So what’s going to the Individuals do after they face an opponent that they will not be capable of merely tire out by being bodily superior, a team with the pace and attacking weapons to punish a weak press and the suspect spacing that has left gaps within the U.S. setup?
We’ll discover out on Wednesday, when the Individuals face Jamaica within the Gold Cup semifinals at Nissan Stadium.
The Individuals shall be seeking to enhance on a lackluster efficiency of their 1-Zero quarterfinal win towards Curacao. USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter praised Curacao for his or her play, however on Tuesday he made it clear there have been issues he felt his team may have completed higher to supply a extra comfy victory and sharper general efficiency.
“I feel we may have been extra environment friendly with our midfield line, transferring nearer to our forwards to press extra,” Berhalter mentioned. “I feel we may have been tighter with our backline, pushing up extra. We allowed an excessive amount of area. We allowed them to play balls into the striker too simply, and that might have made issues simpler for us within the recreation.”
Berhalter did credit score Curacao’s man-on-man strategy for serving to to disrupt the U.S. team’s tactical spacing, however made it clear it’s one thing his team wants to enhance on.
“We turned disconnected, and a whole lot of occasions in build-up you noticed both a 4-1-5, or a 3-1-6, the place Michael [Bradley] would both drop on the opposite facet of the attacking line and have solely Weston [McKennie] central. Or Michael could be central and we’d have 5 guys excessive and that’s simply not correct spacing. It turns into very troublesome to get any sort of offensive stream when that’s what your form appears to be like like.”
“We seen some stuff within the issues we will enhance on for the following recreation,” Weston McKennie mentioned. “We understand what we will forestall, and what we will do extra of offensively with higher spacing as nicely.”
Jamaica is a a lot totally different problem stylistically than Curacao. The Reggae Boyz will not go it round in addition to Curacao, however they’ve extra harmful attacking weapons, together with Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey, who’s competing in his first worldwide event with the Reggae Boyz.
“It’s very comparable opponent to what we’ve been seeing when it comes to some power, and a few pace,” Berhalter mentioned of Jamaica. “Their wingers are high-quality gamers, I feel they’ve possibly a unique gear of pace than we’ve seen on this event specifically. That’s why it was good to see them at first of June, to see what that appears like.”
Bailey has been sluggish to make the type of mark on the Gold Cup anticipated of him when he introduced his plans to hitch the Jamaican team, however Berhalter is aware of what the younger speedster can do, and is totally conscious of the risk he poses.
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“I don’t assume we’ve seen his finest but,” Berhalter mentioned of Bailey. “I feel he’s acquired one other gear. I’ve seen one other gear in Germany. It’s simply him getting built-in to the team, him feeling comfy, him getting used the appropriate approach.”
Berhalter shall be hoping his protection can maintain off Bailey’s coming-out social gathering for at the very least yet one more match, whereas additionally sustaining the USMNT protection’s spectacular run of shutouts on the Gold Cup. He is aware of his team might want to play higher than it has been taking part in so as to beat Jamaica and convey the team a step nearer to its purpose of profitable one other Gold Cup title.
“The success of this team shall be measured by whether or not we win this event or not,” Berhalter mentioned. “We need to get to the ultimate, we need to win the ultimate. In the event you requested me a month in the past, the reply was nonetheless the identical.”