NASHVILLE, Tennessee – United States Men’s National Team manager Gregg Berhalter said his team’s 3-1 win over Jamaica in the Gold Cup semi-finals was a “step in the right direction “.
The United States advanced to Sunday’s final against rivals Mexico with two goals from Christian Pulisic and another from Weston McKennie. The hosts had to work an hour and 28 minute weather delay in the first half, as well as a second half resurgence of Reggae Boyz, but were finally able to see the match come to an end.
– CONCACAF Gold Cup: everything you need to know
– Full schedule of Gold Cup fixtures
“As a coach you are always looking for something better, you are always looking for greatness and the team is always looking for greatness,” said Berhalter. “There were some good things today for sure.
“And I think we want to keep growing. It’s hard to say it was our best. I think it was a step in the right direction against a more physical team than what we’ve been through. I think that it was good to have a victory for confidence. “
The United States threatened to hammer Jamaica from the start, continuing McKennie’s opener in the ninth minute and creating plenty of more chances. But in the 16th minute, play was cut short due to the threat of lightning. This interrupted the momentum of the Americans and allowed Jamaica to recover.
“I think if I had to criticize one aspect of the game, I didn’t think we came out of the break with the same intensity, and it’s hard to recreate that, as we started because we started really well,” he said. he added. Said Berhalter. “I would say we are critical about it.”
Pulisic doubled the lead in the 52nd minute, bouncing off the rebound from Jordan morris‘ shoot. Replace Gyasi Zardes then had a glorious chance to put the game to bed in the 57th minute when McKennie netted a goal but shot wide. This sparked a Jamaican retaliation, and the visitors scored a 69th-minute goal on Shamar nicholsonat the head of. Reggae Boyz then repeatedly threatened Leon Bailey, but couldn’t find a way. Pulisic finally sorted things out in the 87th minute, converting another rebound, this time from Paul Arriolashoot.
“In my opinion, we lost our legs a bit,” Berhalter said of the team’s drop in form in the second half. “What I think is that we were developing our transitions too quickly, we didn’t secure the ball and we wanted, I think, the knockout too quickly. We had the opportunity with Gyasi to make 3 -0. That would have been nice, but we didn’t get it.
“However, I think the team shows a lot of resilience when they go 2-1, and there is still a lot of time to play, 15 minutes to play. Now we have to find out what this group is. Now we have to find out, will we concede the second, or will we score the third? It was a pivotal moment for me. I’m really disappointed that we conceded a goal in this tournament, but it’s a moment of learning, and looking back on it now, I’m glad we did because the guys had to dig deep. ”
Berhalter also congratulated the fans in attendance, the vast majority of whom stuck around, despite the weather delay.
“Lots of credit to the fans, they really helped us get through it,” he said. “I’ve been in situations where time is slow to come out and the stadium is empty. Then it’s hard to bring in the same energy. But the supporters were amazing.”
The next challenge for the United States will be Sunday’s final against Mexico, and it will be Berhalter’s first experience of Berhalter’s rivalry as manager.
“We have already started to prepare. We have already started watching them in the last few days,” he said. “I think they’re a good team, quality players, I think a good team concept, with a lot of intensity that they play with, and they can hurt teams. Having said that, they are also vulnerable and we plan to be able to do that. hurt them too. “
This day has the potential to be an unforgettable day in the annals of American football. The United States Women’s National Team will play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final on the same day against the Netherlands, with the men scheduled to face Mexico later.
“It’s great,” Berhalter said of two finals in one day. “It’s rare. It doesn’t often happen that two teams from the same country play in a continental final and a World Cup final.
“I think it’s a special day, and it’s a special day for American football. We will see the women earlier today, and we will cheer them on. I know they will cheer us on.”