Toronto, Ontario – The USMNT played one of its worst matches since Gregg Berhalter took over, and fell 2-0 to Canada for the first time in three decades.
Gregg Berhalter will still have his job come this weekend, unfortunately. After one of the most lackadaisical, uninspired performances in a decade from the USMNT. It’s what happens when “ThE pRoCeSs” is prioritized over results.
Canada upsets USMNT in CONCACAF Nations League
The USMNT lost because they couldn’t win the midfield battle. They lost because their best player played half-asleep. They lost because Michael Bradley is old and can’t cover defensively, and still makes a horrendous mistake or two per game. They lost because they weren’t put into a position to attack Canada’s weaknesses. Not every game will they get to play Cuba, who is pretty horrendous if they lost to that USMNT squad.
The latter part of that ranting paragraph is on Berhalter, who has been one of the culprits often in the USMNT’s year of poor performances. It’s up to Berhalter, at a national team level, to put them into position to win a match. They have to win. There is no “acceptable” losses unless they’re playing against a vastly superior European team, which at this rate might include San Marino and Cyprus.
Was there an improvement?
The biggest improvement in this group was that Wil Trapp played zero minutes. That’s the improvement. Other than that, it’s been experiment after experiment, with no importance placed on “get the result.” The importance has been placed on “the process” which is fine if you’re trying to build a club where you work with the same players day in and day out.
The answer was obvious, so what’s going wrong?
Philosophies of play don’t work at a national level for the most part. Holland has its patented 4-3-3 and clockwork orange, but even the great Brazil has had its identity change based on the makeup of the most talented group they could possibly field. Germany had an overall idea, but in the end they played without a true striker half the time in the one World Cup title they got out of their “system.”
Berhalter is attempting to run the USMNT like a club. He gets these players for a 10-12 day stretch with 2 games. That’s it. You can’t implement a “system” when you get a total of 50 days with a team a year, and in reality, you probably only get 20-30 actual training sessions during that stretch when you throw in travel and games.
HOW ABOUT THEM CANADIANS
Yes. A whole lot of this re-hash of this game has just been me crowing about the big picture issues with the USMNT that are starting to take consistent affect with the team. But yes, how about them Canadians. They stepped up. They fought. It wasn’t quite a pretty performance from them, but they fought for every single ball, every single header, and fought to break down every single chance.
They showed up, the USMNT didn’t. I think good things are on the way for Canada, and John Herdman deserves credit for how he destroyed the
pathetic USMNT midfield. He deserves credit for putting his team in the best position to win a match possible based on their strenghts and the opponents weaknesses.
He didn’t stick to a single “philosophy” of how to play “soccer properly.” He basically said, “we need to win this match, here is how we get the result,” and then he fired up his squad and they went and did the thing.
It’s what separates good coaches from great coaches. Sometimes, your system goes out the window in order to get results. And results matter in soccer. As one great football coach, Herm Edwards once said, “YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME.” Herdman played to win. Berhalter played to “work on the process.” Guess who got the result?