USA vs Guyana : The United States men’s national team begins its Gold Cup journey on Tuesday when it takes on Guyana in the opener. The red, white and blue enter the cup with new coach Gregg Berhalter, but not with the most momentum in the world. Two friendlies before the tournament have raised doubts as to whether this team will have enough quality to win the cup in one of the most open editions in years.
USA vs Guyana
Time : 10:00 PM ET
Over the years, style of play has been a steady source of debate as it relates to the U.S. men’s national team. The question usually centers on if the U.S. ever will reach the point where it, more often than not, plays on the front foot and dominates opponents. Or will it remain a team content to defend and counter?
Much of this is specific to the opponent, but many a U.S. manager has wrestled with this dilemma before usually deciding that against the best teams, a pragmatic, defense-first approach was the best way to go.
Current U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter is merely the latest coach to tackle this conflict. He has talked often of wanting to use the ball to disrupt opponents and is trying to implement a system that fits this goal, one in which the U.S. strives to play out of the back and has two attacking midfielders with wingers close by, all in support of a central striker. To provide defensive stability he’ll have an outside-back, usually the right-back, step into midfield alongside the holding midfielder, giving the U.S. a better shot of winning back possession when an attack breaks down.
The United States will start their title-defending journey in the Gold Cup with the opening game against Guyana at Allianz Field. The game will be the first competitive match for Gregg Berhalter’s since taking charge of the American squad.
The USMNT started the Gregg Berhalter era with three wins and a draw in their first four matches; however, that streak was ended during the pre-Gold Cup games against Jamaica and Venezuela as they lost both.
The recent friendlies against Jamaica and Venezuela have shown that the United States Men’s National Team is very much a work in progress. As Adnan pointed out these matches, and the one against Chile back in March, were harder for the team than the games against Panama, Costa Rica, and Ecuador because Jamaica and Venezuela actually wanted the ball – especially Venezuela. As far as drawing conclusions from friendlies, these matches have shown that the US will struggle to do the thing that is absolutely critical in the possession based system that Gregg Berhalter wants to implement – namely, possess the ball.