For all the talk about how prepared Gregg Berhatler’s teams would be and all the talk about his attention to detail and his plan and his vision, the USMNT rolled out to face the mighty and powerful (read small and inexperienced) Curacao and battled to a momentous 1-0 victory. The US looked completely lost for most of the first half and the entire second half. Christina Pulisic was able to create few bright moments, one of which was the cross that led to Weston McKennie’s goal (funny how the young, European based players are providing the bright spots for the US at this tournament). But after that it was a complete shambles. The US was out-played, out-shot, out-possessed, out-hustled, and out-worked by a country the size of DeSoto County, Mississippi and who is more famous for having the same name as a liquor bottle (remember that Jurgen Klinsmann was thrown under the bus after a similar stat-line against Haiti in the 2015 Gold Cup). Despite four wins out of four at this tournament, there are very few (if any) US fans that believe this team can win the tournament (attendance is still falling off a cliff because of the lack of inspiration, with less than 30,000 fans showing up for the quarter-final game). And it doesn’t get any easier as the semi-final opponent is a team that the US has already been dominated by under Gregg Berhalter: Jamaica.
At this point it’s fair to wonder if Gregg Berhalter is in way over his head with the USMNT. Sunday night he finally faced some tough questions from the media, because when you get dominated by an island and are holding onto a 1-0 lead for dear life, there need to be some tough questions. He responded by saying, “You guys wanted us to go out there and beat them 5-0, but we knew it was going to be a difficult game.” What on Earth? For the US coach to come out and say that they knew how hard it would be to beat a team making their second ever Gold Cup appearance (and first ever appearance in the knockout rounds) is shocking. Yeah, people expected the US to go out and win 5-0 because (no disrespect intended) they’re freaking Curacao! He then followed that up with another gem, “Despite the tone in here, we’re happy with the result of this game.” Now that’s just totally asinine. Being happy with a 1-0 rearguard action against a minnow team from a minnow confederation is how you miss qualifying for the World Cup and stay mired on the treadmill of low-end mediocrity for a generation. And now the US has to face a Jamaica team that they’ve already lost to and been dominated by in the last month (though luckily Gregg Berhalter felt that losing that game was totally acceptable and not a big deal).
Back in early June, the Jamaicans were not fancied to do too terribly much at this tournament. They had missed the World Cup and had not been good since. They’d lost their first two games of the year. But then they got to play against Gregg Berhalter’s US side, and despite Berhalter’s grand vision and attention to detail, the Jamaicans dominated the game from start to finish earning a 1-0 win and only giving up one half chance to the Americans. They topped Group C, ahead of Honduras, El Salvador and the mighty Curacao. In their quarter-final matchup against Panama, all they needed was a 75th minute penalty from Darren Mattocks to see them through to the semi-final. The Jamaicans won’t be over-awed by the occasion as they’ve made it to the Final of the last two Gold Cups (losing to Mexico in Philadelphia in 2015 and losing to the US in San Francisco in 2017). All in all it should be another ugly rockfight of a game.
1. The only time since 2003 that the US failed to make the Gold Cup Final, they lost to Jamaica in the semi-final in 2015.
2. Including Sunday’s game against Curacao, every game the US has played in an NFL stadium under Gregg Berhalter has drawn under 30,000 fans.
3. The last time the US played a game in Nashville on July 3rd, was in 2015 when they beat Guatemala 4-0 in a friendly in front of 44,000 fans.
When and where to watch the game on US TV and streaming
USA leads 14-3-8
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
USA 0-1 Jamaica
Current FIFA Ranking