The rebuild for the United States finally hit a wall on Sunday at the Gold Cup with a 1-0 loss to Mexico in Chicago.
Jonathan dos Santos‘ second half goal was the difference, while Gregg Berhalter’s first competitive tournament as USMNT manager ends with a handful of positives and a host of bigger questions.
The Americans came out on the front foot in the first half and looked to be the better team for large stretches of the opening stanza. Via Jozy Altidore‘s hold up play and Christian Pulisic‘s ability to dribble defenders, the United States created dangerous chances that should have resulted in lead. Defensively, the USMNT frustrated Mexico’s attempts to play through width.
Following the promising first half, the U.S. quickly lost control of the game following the break. A poor performance from midfielders tasked with linking the defensive line and the attack limited what the Americans could do. The wasted chances in the first half point to a problem with finishing that may dog the team going into the future.
Manager rating (out of 10)
5 — Berhalter got a lot right and the opening half spoke to the progress the United States has made under the new head coach. But the lack of second half adjustments and a series of questionable substitutions keep the grade down. In his first test against the USMNT’s biggest rival, Berhalter fell short.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Zack Steffen, 6 — Slightly questionable with distribution. Hard to fault for the Mexico goal.
DF Reggie Cannon, 6 — Another strong performance for a young player emerging in the tournament. Naive with decision-making in the attacking end.
DF Aaron Long, 7 — Excellent for most of the night. Made one obvious mistake in the first half. Dominant in the air.
DF Matt Miazga, 6 — Passed into pressure when the U.S. struggled to play out of the back. Very good defensively, including in one-on-one situations.
DF Tim Ream, 4 — Played a safe and defensively focused left-back. Made several good defensive stops. Put under pressure in the second half and mostly held up, though with significant help.
MF Michael Bradley, 4 — A step slow to disastrous effect on a number of occasions, including on the lone Mexico goal. Struggled with passing and turned the ball over frequently in the second half.
MF Jordan Morris, 4 — Too slow with decisions, particularly when defending. Popped up with an excellent headed chance cleared off the line.
MF Weston McKennie, 4 — Did plenty of necessary work defensively. Did not pass well. Failed to impact the game on the attacking end.
MF Christian Pulisic, 7 — Fantastic on the run with the ball at his feet. Dangerous all night. Met the physical challenge of the game.
MF Paul Arriola, 5 — Not secure with the ball. Limited going forward by defensive requirements on the left flank. Put Mexico under pressure with energy and created a chance out of nothing.
FW Jozy Altidore, 6 — Missed a golden chance in the eighth minute. Did immense work with holdup and passing. Battled for an hour plus and won most of the physical confrontations.
MF Cristian Roldan, NR — Battled up the wing to help the US regain a foothold in the game.
FW Gyasi Zardes, NR — Provided one flick-on for Pulisic.
DF Daniel Lovitz, NR — Made a short appearance. Wasteful with the ball.