There were few things that went right to the U.S during the last CONCACAF Gold Cup prep match. The United States lost 1-0 on Wednesday night to Jamaica, and it was the second consecutive time that they lost to Jamaica while playing at home.
The loss is one that has made the new team put together by coach Gregg Berhalter appear unprepared for the upcoming tournament, and with little time remaining to get in shape, it could spell disaster for the United States.
Jamaica’s Shamar Nicholson scored the winning goal after he picked up on a Christian Roldan giveaway at the 60th minute mark just outside the penalty area. Coach Gregg Berhalter was not pleased with the results commenting that,
“We lacked speed. We lacked aggression in the final third. When the ball’s wide, there should be four guys in the penalty box and we only had two half the time.”
The United States were missing midfielders Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie. Adding to their woes was a lack of offense and the squandering of scoring opportunities. One of those came when Josh Sargent missed a point-blank shot at the 71 minute mark and instead of scoring, sent the ball wife. This could be related to the new alternate formation implemented or the lack of training, with the U.S. having only two days of it. Commenting, Berhalter said,
“Personnel affects formations and performance, for sure, but I think that we’d be selling these guys short if we didn’t say that they can still perform at a high level. Today just wasn’t our day. It wasn’t our best.”
The question the U.S team now faces is how the team will get in form before the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which starts on the 18th of June. That is on the minds of soccer bettors and sportsbooks such as those promoted at betting.ca. It will be their first competitive match after its loss in 2017 to Trinidad and Tobago. That loss brought an end to the U.S having seven World Cup appearances.
The U.S, beyond its defeat in 1969 to Haiti, have only lost twice to a team from a Caribbean nation, once in 2015 to Jamaica during the World Cup semifinals in Atlanta and its second, on Wednesday night.
The U.S hired Berhalter in December and gave him the task of putting together an attacking style, possession-oriented team. The results were nearly immediate with a draw and three wins while he worked out the lineups.
On the plus side, Pusilic is expected at training camp this Thursday, Adams will arrive next Tuesday and Jozy Altidore on Sunday. However, Weston McKennie is out with a sprained left ankle, and Gyasi Zardes is out with a bruised left foot. Adding to the problems is the loss of Sebastian Lletget after he suffered an injury during an LA Galaxy match last Sunday. Commenting, Berhalter said,
“We’re going to miss him. He was important to this group from a versatility standpoint, and these things happen to players and it’s never nice.”
Shamar Nicholson first played on the Jamaican national team against the U.S in 2018 and earned his first goal during that match. That came as a result of the U.S’s Will Trapp and his lack of being able to apply pressure to Nicholson. While speaking to the media about the first half post-match, Trapp stated,
“There were some bright spots in the first half in particular, but overall we started to lose a little bit of structure and continuity as the game went on. In the final third we were just a little anemic at times with the speed of play and the quality of chances we were creating.”