Jesse Marsch and Gregg Berhalter traded discourse recently as the two American coaches vied for the USMNT job. Gregg Berhalter eventually won that post back with a contract that runs through the 2026 World Cup. Marsch admitted he was not happy with the way the process went regarding his chances. However, he landed a spot with the Canadian national team as the permanent replacement for John Herdman. Now, their squabble has a new home on the pitch. During their stints as North American national team head coaches, will be in constant comparison against one another.

That started this month as Marsch started his role with the Canada national team. Both Canada and the USMNT suffered devastating losses against teams outside North America. Berhalter’s Americans fell 5-1 against Colombia in Landover, MD. The Netherlands hit Canada for four unanswered goals in Marsch’s debut. Yet, Canada bounced back with a scoreless draw against France.

The United States faces a similar task of forcing a result against Brazil. Camping World Stadium is welcoming a record crowd when Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and the rest of a star-studded Brazil. The United States will have to do something it has done once in its history if it is to pull any kind of pressure off Berhalter. That is get some form of a result against the South Americans. In 19 previous fixtures, the United States has 18 losses and a singular win.

The similarities between Berhalter with the USMNT and Marsch with Canada

Going back to the Canada draw against France, it is hard to celebrate a scoreless game, even if it is against a side as potent and powerful as France. Yet, it is particularly the type of result Berhalter and much of the USMNT would celebrate. Take the scoreless draw against England in the World Cup. England, like France currently, was a strong side, and there was nothing overtly wrong with a draw. Berhalter heaped praise on the performance.

“I’m pleased with the performance of the group but, more importantly, the belief of the group,” Berhalter said. “In terms of changing the way the world view American soccer, we’re chipping away at it – and you need games like this one to be able to do that. And we’re not done. Hopefully by the end of the tournament we’ll give people something to talk about.”

Since then, Berhalter has failed to impress. Despite having a strong squad with players at some of the biggest clubs in Europe, the United States still struggles against elite opposition. Since taking over in 2019, Gregg Berhalter has delivered one win against a team in FIFA’s top 25 World Rankings from outside CONCACAF. That was against Iran in the third group-stage game at the World Cup.

In essence, Berhalter’s USA and Marsch’s Canada are not in a dissimilar position. They struggle against elite opposition, even if the squads’ talent has improved. Based on their previous intermingling, Marsch and Berhalter will always be compared to one another.

Starting with the Copa America

The next time the United States and Canada play one another, the focus is on the head coaches. For now, though, the coach who gets further in the Copa America earns a lead in the battle between the two. Canada has perhaps a more challenging group, as it must face Argentina, Peru and Chile. The USMNT faces Uruguay, Panama and Bolivia. The two latter nations rank toward the bottom of their respective confederations among those that qualified for the Copa America.

Success is not just a desire for the USMNT but rather an expectation. If it falls short of what Canada achieves, the pressure ramps up on Berhalter.