“I don’t think we’re favorites in this tournament,” said USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter, as reported by MLS Soccer.
“I think this is a great process for this group to go through,” he said. “In training today there was a little bit of nerves, because we have the first game, we’ve been building this up. It’s great that we get to experience this together.”
“The process has to accelerate,” Berhalter said on his first day in charge. “Each and every game, you should expect to see development. That’s my job.”
It’s pretty safe to say that things probably haven’t gone quite to plan for the United States men’s national team over the course of the last few years.
In fact, it’s not pretty safe, it’s a downright guarantee. From failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to losing matches against teams they should be beating with ease, something just seems to have gone wrong along the way for the Americans.
Hardcore fans will point to an array of different things when trying to come up with a factual reason or two, but let’s face it, they just aren’t very good right now. You can kind of get an idea for how things have dropped in quality for them purely from looking back at the Gold Cup, which they won two years ago. As reported by USA Today that is the tournament they are preparing for once again, two years on, and nobody is really all too convinced regarding their chances of getting the job done.
They should probably be getting through their group with relative ease, but then again, we’ve thought the same thing about many of their games in recent times. They’ll be taking on Panama, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, and at the very minimum, we’d expect seven points from those three games. As the hosts of the competition you would think they’d be able to ease through based on that and that alone, but you’d be surprised by just how far they’ve fallen.
If they get through then they’ll face off against one of El Salvador, Honduras and Curacao in all likelihood, with Jamaica being tipped to win their respective group. Even if they manage to edge their way through that it feels like the semi finals and beyond will serve as a really big challenge, because this is a far cry from the team that was able to shock the world in the last few editions of the World Cup. They’re good when they want to be, and they have a few really intriguing impact players, but that’s about it.
We can’t quite put our finger on the pulse of where exactly things have gone a bit upside down, but all we know is this: there’s a lot of pressure riding on this tournament. They’ll want to prove to the world that they are still more than capable of performing amongst the best, and given that their biggest competition is Mexico, you would think they’ll deal with the rest pretty easily.