USA undone by defensive issues in Germany loss – Berhalter

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — United States men’s national soccer team manager Gregg Berhalter expressed his insights on Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Germany, attributing it to “some crucial moments” and criticizing his team’s defensive organization.

The U.S. took an early lead in the 27th minute with a phenomenal long-range goal from Christian Pulisic. However, Germany remained a threat throughout the game, hitting the post in the 11th minute and creating clear chances that were denied by U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner.

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Germany equalized through Ilkay Gündogan in the 39th minute, and then secured victory in the second half with goals from Niclas Füllkrug and Jamal Musiala.

“These crucial moments require precise positioning and a solid defense without any gaps in your backline, and that’s where we fell short,” lamented Berhalter.

“Germany is a strong team with the ability to create scoring opportunities due to their quality on the field, but we should have held our ground better in those moments.”

In the first half, the U.S. had dangerous attacking moments, particularly with Tim Weah on the right wing. However, Pulisic had another goal disallowed for offside and a penalty appeal turned down.

“I thought we performed well in the first half,” added Berhalter. “We conceded the goals too easily, but overall, I’m pleased with the team’s effort and mindset.”

Berhalter saw this defeat as a valuable learning experience for the team and acknowledged the need for improvement in order to achieve victory.

The match also marked the return of attacker Gio Reyna to the team, following a public falling out between him and Berhalter after the 2022 World Cup.

Their dispute stemmed from Berhalter’s handling of Reyna during the tournament, which led to a reduced role for the player. Reyna’s mother, Danielle, subsequently disclosed a decades-old domestic violence allegation to the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Despite this history, Reyna played the first half of the match and was substituted at halftime as planned, considering his limited playing time with Borussia Dortmund this season.

“We thought giving him 45 minutes from the start was a perfect opportunity, and he demonstrated his quality. I believe everyone performed well in the first half, so it was good to see him back on the field,” commented Berhalter.

The U.S. team will now regroup for their upcoming friendly against Ghana in Nashville, Tennessee, with a focus on controlling the tempo of the game and tightening their defense.

“We expended a lot of energy with our counterattacks, making it difficult to maintain consistency in both our offensive and defensive actions,” explained Berhalter. “It’s a valuable learning experience that games against opponents like this need to be more tightly contested.”


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