Since the World Cup Qualifying debacle in Trinidad back in October of 2017, a theme of “it can’t get any worse” has emerged. But every time that though creeps into the collective mindset of the rapidly shrinking USMNT fan base, it gets worse. Friday’s comically inept throttling at the hands of Mexico is a new low in a series of new lows for the US. And with a game against two-time World Cup champions Uruguay up next, there’s no reason for anybody to suspect things are going to get any better.
Seeing the US come out and look bad against Mexico was not surprising. After all, El Tri is managed by Tata Martino, who is 11-0-0 (W-L-D) with Mexico. He is now also 6-0-1 all-time against Gregg Berhalter, outscoring him by a combined 14-2. His plan and the players at his disposal were always going to be enough to make short work of the US, Berhalter’s ludicrous style of play, and players like Gyasi Zardes and Wil Trapp who only continue to get called up because they played for Berhalter in Columbus. None of that is surprising, or at least it shouldn’t be. What was surprising was after the game when Berhalter said he thought this 3-0 loss against Mexico was the best game the team has played since he’s been in charge. He then proceeded to go after the media for not sharing his belief that it was a good game for the US. At one point, Sebasitan Salazar of ESPNFC even Tweeted out a picture where Berhalter and a reporter were in each other’s faces at the podium over Berhalter saying the US was not overrun on the night. It’s nice to know that the US manager is ready to go after the media that is already in his back pocket, but not ready to go after teams he is paid to get results against.
Uruguay comes into this game in fabulous form. At the 2018 World Cup in Russia they went all the way to the quarter-finals where they fell to eventual champions France. They closed out 2018 in something of a tailspin with four straight losses. But 2019 has been excellent. They opened with three friendly wins against Uzbekistan, Thailand, and Panama. Next up was the Copa America in Brazil, where they topped Group C and advance to the quarter-finals before falling to Peru on penalties. And this past Friday they beat Costa Rica 2-1. Their roster for this game is typically loaded. Unfortunately, Neither Luis Suarez nor Edinson Cavani got the call, but their long-time manager Oscar Tabarez has called in a healthy mix of European-based players and younger players from this side of the Atlantic. In goal is Fernando Muslera of Galatasary. On the backline it’s guys like Jose Gimenez of Atletico Madrid, Sebatsian Coates of Sporting Lisbon, and Martin Caceres of Fiorentina. In the midfield is Matias Vecino of Inter Milan, Lucas Torreira of Arsenal, and Federico Valverde of Real Madrid. Up front is where there may be some questions as the four forwards only have a combined 31 caps and four goals. But there’s still plenty of potential. Jonathan Rodriguez of Cruz Azul and Maxi Gomez of Valencia have the goals and all but one of the caps. The only other cap is that of 19 year old Brian Rodriguez, who plies his trade in MLS with LAFC.
1. After the game against Mexico, the following players were released back to their clubs: Christian Pulisic, John Brooks, Alfredo Morales, Zack Steffen.
2. For all the hype surrounding Berhalter’s attacking style of play, the US has been held to 1 or 0 goals in four of the last five games.
3. With this game against Uruguay, the only South American team that the US has not played since failing to qualify for the World Cup is Argentina.
When and where to watch the game on US TV
Series tied at 2-2-2
Sunday, May 12, 2002
USA 2-1 Uruguay
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