Gregg Berhalter: USMNT 'has a lot of room to improve on the offensive end'

Monday's friendly against Panama in Austria might not be the last game of the year for the U.S. men's national team.

On Sunday, U.S. national team coach Gregg Berhalter said the team is trying to arrange a game in December.

"Hopefully, that gets done,” he said.

If another game is played, it will be outside a FIFA window, so the USA will likely be without all or most of its foreign-based players. The MLS season will end with MLS Cup in Dec. 12 and the Concacaf Champions League will conclude with its final 10 days later.

“[The Panama match] will certainly be the last time this group is together this year," Berhalter said.

Three Concacaf rivals -- Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua -- played friendlies earlier this fall outside the FIFA windows.

Berhalter stressed the importance of games like Friday's match against Wales and the Panama game, given the limited opportunities he has to work with his foreign-based players.

He said he can only count on having them available for four games in 2021 before the start of World Cup 2022 qualifying in September -- two friendlies in March and the Concacaf Nations League finals in June. He said it was "doubtful" foreign-based players will be available for the 2021 Gold Cup in July.

Berhalter said integrating a lot of young players -- 10 players he called up were uncapped, none older than 20 -- posed challenges.

“One thing I’ve noticed, especially when you’re working with new players or a group that’s just forming, you go through different stages of team development,” he said. “With this group in particular, it is more of individuals looking for their position within the team. It’s completely natural what’s happening now. A guy wants to come into camp, he wants to make a good impression on the coaching staff, he wants to play really well and he’s focused more on himself. As he gets more comfortable, he’s focused more on his teammates. And we certainly want to get into that stage by qualifying. Because that’s going to be really important.”

Berhalter would like to see an improved performance after the 0-0 tie with Wales on Friday when the USA dominated possession but created few chances.

“When we have one shot on goal in a game, that’s not enough,” Berhalter said. “So there is a lot of room to improve on the offensive end. We’re focused on competing to win the game and we want to score goals.” We want to end this experience with the group on a high note."

8 comments about "Gregg Berhalter: USMNT 'has a lot of room to improve on the offensive end'".
  1. frank schoon, November 16, 2020 at 9:48 a.m.

    GB, we never had great offensive players. Name one great ONE ON ONE player we have ever produced, or a great Passer. The point is America is not known for producing great individual skillful players and we never will until PICKUP soccer becomes part of our development and culture.

    You think European teams come here, to look for players that are future great fancy, skillfull dribblers ,perhaps a little rough around the edges but have lots of promise, that make defenders look bad or silly.....KEEP DREAMING...Or do you think they come here to look for another future PIRLO, or Ziyech, or Zidane. No, ofcourse not, most if not all have 'turbo' written on their back of which Germany and England are thankful for those types. Apparently ,sofar, the goalies have done decently with foreign teams, but that position has nothing to with field play, an aspect that we are hurting on.....

    All our youth players are developed through structured ,programmed development as are the coaches. Nothing CREATIVE there, I assure you.....

    In sum, we will always have difficulty on offensive and just hope for 'dead-ball' plays, counter-attacking(turbo) style in scoring.......

  2. Todd Barkhymer replied, November 16, 2020 at 11:33 a.m.

    Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna.

  3. frank schoon replied, November 16, 2020 at 11:38 a.m.

    Tod, Tab ,like Reyna did not become who they are because of American development, they had foreign influence.  What I was referring to is American development and if you look at it the most salient aspect of Ameircan soccer players fits the Turbo type of player

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, November 16, 2020 at 10:37 p.m.

    Frank, Reyna was born and raised in the USA. I guess you are referring to his father as the foreign influence. Fair enough but I would not have picked Reyna as a great 1v1 player.

    The WNT on the other hand is known for exploiting its great 1v1 players. Although its the women's game, the big difference between men and women is power. Great skill is still great skill. In my view, the lesser power just emphasizes the importance of skill over power. While some of the best women 1v1 players have been relatively big and strong, more are not. Like Hamm, Heath, and Rapinoe.

    The explanation I make for the better development results for women is twofold: 1) the best players in the past played against men, and 2) the nature of the women's game emphasizes the development technique and tactics over relying on physical advantages. 

    There may be a lot of disagreement with this last observation, but the best youth coaches I saw during the 80s and 90s were women (former players and sometimes teachers) coaching girls teams. 

    My bottom line: There is no reason that prevents us from developing better male players with good 1v1 ability. We just need to change our development coachs' view of the game and understanding of development.

  5. frank schoon replied, November 17, 2020 at 7:54 a.m.

    Bob, ofcourse Reyna was not a good one on one player, Todd just happen to bring him up as one of the outstanding players in the US. There no great 1v1 women players. The woman have been strong athletic types that just beat you 1v1 , but that has nothing with great 1v1 skills. This is how the US women have remained on top because of their athleticism style of play. Their last game against Spain was a lesson in how you should play soccer.

  6. R2 Dad, November 16, 2020 at 11:17 a.m.

    “When we have one shot on goal in a game, that’s not enough,” 

    GB, you played a non-striker at the 9 (false or not), and wonder why we didn't generate shots/goals. Really?

  7. Seth Vieux replied, November 16, 2020 at 5:28 p.m.

    Exactly. And as many of said last week, any basically capable striker would have made the difference in actually attacking the Welsh goal. Two different teams from Wales to Panama, but we saw quite plainly the difference in Gioacchini and Soto challenging for space and service in front of the goal. Not rocket science and despite today's result this remains yet another issue that makes it very difficult to have much faith in GB.

  8. Goal Goal, November 17, 2020 at 9:59 p.m.

    We do not have an attack.  During the first half of The Wales game we got to the goal only 2 or three times at the most.  We played the ball backwards more than we went forward. I swore I thought I saw Bradley playing backwards.The players who are playing in Spain such as Musah and Dest can handle the ball the big boomers can't. We have other players in Spain such as Barcelona, Valencia and Villarreal who are excellent talent but they aren't good enough to play for us?  We are not going to anywhere in World Cup play until we can hold the ball while attacking the goal 

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