TORONTO (AP) – The United States (US) keep coming up with underwhelming performances in its first year under Gregg Berhalter, whose tenure as American coach is starting to draw criticism.
Canada beat the US for the first time in 34 years, getting second-half goals from Alphonso
Davies and Lucas Cavallini in a 2-0 victory over the listless Americans in the CONCACAF Nations League yesterday.
A little over two years after the Americans failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup by losing at Trinidad and Tobago, they saw their 17-match unbeaten streak against their northern neighbour come to an end. They had not even allowed a goal to the Canadians in four previous matches dating to 2007.
“The first thing that stands out to me is desire, the desire of Canada,” Berhalter said. “Give them credit, but having said that, the minimum we expect is to match that. We need to compete on every single play in games like that, and that’s important.
“I don’t think it was lack of effort, I don’t think it was purposeful, but I wasn’t happy with the desire that we displayed.
The US already had lost to Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final in July, the first competitive tournament after Berhalter was hired last December and tasked with rebuilding the programme. Just 11 months remain before the start of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
Canada went ahead in the 63rd minute after Scott Arfield dispossessed Michael Bradley on the edge of the center circle. After several passes, US captain Tim Ream made a poor clearance.
The ball was played back toward the American goal, and Anfield’s low cross went across the goalmouth. Davies got behind DeAndre Yedlin and Aaron Long, redirecting the ball in.
“What stands out to me is just the sloppiness with the ball,” Berhalter said. “Too many mis-controlled touches, too many missed passes, too many easy things that we normally make that we weren’t making tonight.”
Jonathan Osorio lifted the ball behind the American defence in the first minute of stoppage time. Cavallini allowed the ball to bounce twice and beat Steffen to the near post with a right-footed shot from 12 yards.
“We didn’t have the same energy that they did,” star American midfielder Christian Pulisic said.