The U.S. men's national team suffered its second
straight loss under new coach Gregg Berhalter, a 3-0 defeat to Venezuela that ranks as one of the worst home performances in recent memory.
USA-Venezuela: U.S. Player Ratings
Three goals within the first 36 minutes gave La Vinotinto its first win over the USA in six meetings. The match was the final tuneup for the USA before the Gold Cup, which starts on June 18 against Guyana. It followed a 1-0 loss to Jamaica after which Berhalter guaranteed there would be more poor performances when he was the coach.
After Sunday's disaster, Berhalter said he wasn't about the make any changes in the team's system.
"I think we need to be calm," Berhalter said. "I think we need to look at the game, look at what we need to improve on, and then set out to do it. It's really tough after a result like this and start making excuses. I don't really want to do that. But what I'd say is we're still getting guys where they need to be, and we're not there yet, and that's pretty clear. So we're going to keep working on it."
After conceding a poor goal and rarely getting in dangerous positions against Jamaica, Berhalter was looking for more out of his attack.
"We talked about wanting to be more aggressive," he said, "wanted to get behind them, wanted to get balls into their penalty box. I think to a certain extent we did that really well."
The problems came at the defensive end, where the USA conceded three goals in 20 minutes.
"We gave up the goals," he said. "I didn't love the response. And the second thing, I don't feel like for 90 minutes we competed on the level that we needed to compete on; the mentality. I'm understanding that it's hot, I'm understanding that guys some have been playing 90 minutes every week for the last month, some have been on vacation and we're getting everyone to where they need to be. But you still want more competitiveness, I think. It starts with putting guys in good positions to be able to make tackles and to do in on duels."
U.S. Gold Cup Schedule:
June 18: Guyana at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minn.
June 22: Trinidad & Tobago at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio
June 26: Panama at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.
June 30: Quarterfinal (if necessary) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
July 3: Semifinal (if necessary) at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.
July 7: Final (if necessary) at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill.
Berhalter said the problem came when the USA fell behind and it started to chase the game. He didn't like the high press, saying it lacked the coordination and numbers to be effective.
"The guys worked hard," he added. "They gave what they had. They came up short. And it doesn't mean that we're going to scrap all the plans. We're always evaluating, we're always seeing how effective we can be, and where we need to improve. And we're just going to continue that process. I thought defensively at times our defensive pressure was poor today, and again we conceded some not great goals."
Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire