Berhalter calls for review of US football team's Copa America exit

Berhalter calls for review of US football team's Copa America exit

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Gregg Berhalter said he believes he is still the right man to lead the United States men's national soccer team even after it was eliminated from the group stage of the 2024 Copa America with a 1-0 loss to Uruguay at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday.

This loss, combined with Panama's 3–1 win, ties the game well. Bolivia In a match played simultaneously in Orlando, Florida, the U.S. team finished third in the group. Uruguay advanced as Group C winners, and Panama, which beat the 10-man USMNT on Thursday, advanced to the quarterfinals as the second qualifier from the group.

U.S. Soccer Federation sporting director Matt Crocker said in a statement after the game that the team's exclusion would be reviewed.

When asked in his postgame press conference if he was still the right man to lead the U.S. team to the 2026 World Cup, Berhalter simply answered, “yes.”

However, he admitted that the performance wasn't good enough.

“Seeing the faces of the players in the locker room and the emotions of the staff and the players, we are extremely disappointed with the result,” he said. “We know we can do even better, but we haven't shown that in this tournament. It's as simple as that, really.

“You look at the platform that the fans have set in this tournament, the level of competition in this tournament was very high, and we should have performed better. We will review and find out what went wrong and why it went wrong, but definitely right now it is an empty feeling.”

When asked if he should lead a review into the tournament's failure, Berhalter said, “That's not in my hands.”

Crocker will make the decision on whether to retain Berhalter.

“Our tournament performance fell short of our expectations. We must do better,” Crocker said in a statement after the loss. “We will conduct a comprehensive review of our performance at the Copa America and consider how to improve the team and results, looking towards the 2026 World Cup.”

Uruguay scored the winning goal in the 66th minute with a controversial goal. Mathias Oliveira, Ronald Araújo A header from a free kick was saved matt turnerWho was ruled out of the match against Uruguay on Thursday due to a leg injury.

Oliveira was the first to collect the rebound and was offside when Araujo headed in. But after a long delay referee Kevin Paolo Ortega pointed to the middle of the field to let the goal stand, much to the dismay of the US players and a large portion of the crowd.

Bolivia had equalized against Panama just moments earlier, moving the United States back into second place in the group in the live standings. Berhalter, who was sitting on the bench moments before Uruguay's goal, got the news of Bolivia's equalizer and tried to get a message to the players just before Uruguay's free kick.

American Midfielder Tyler Adams “We’re not out of this game today,” he said, referring to Thursday’s loss to Panama that derailed the Americans’ tournament efforts.

“I don't want to go into a game worrying about other results,” Adams said. “The goal should be to win the game. As soon as you start playing for a draw and you put pressure on, and they start taking over in different phases of the game, you're going to lose against a team like that. You don't want to go into a game thinking you have to equalise or get a point.”

The USMNT has never previously been eliminated from the group stage of a World Cup, Copa America or Gold Cup, which it hosted. The US is now 2-4-3 against Uruguay.

Berhalter was rehired in June 2023 and given a contract through the upcoming World Cup, which the U.S. will host alongside Canada and Mexico. But despite a lineup that included Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie And against Adams, the US could not even match its last Copa America appearance, when it lost to Argentina in the 2016 semi-finals.

During the second half on Monday night, the home crowd began chanting, “Get Greg out.”

The players largely supported Berhalter after the match.

“We're all comfortable with Greg and we all understand him; he's been with us a long time,” McKechnie said. “He's brought the team so far ahead of where we started four or five years ago, and I think the connection we have with him is important, and to have a coach who has players who will go through a brick wall for him, listen to him.

“Whatever happens will happen, but I think if he’s the coach, we’re all happy.”

Adams said everything that needs to change “isn't just from the top” and stressed the need for players to handle pressure moments better.

“I have total confidence in him,” Adams said of Berhalter. “I don't think that's the coach's job in a lot of situations. You know, we make a game plan; the players have to follow the game plan, but at the end of the day you're a footballer. How many times have you played the game?

“You have to be able to find solutions on the field as well. He has been with us in many difficult moments; I think we will continue to be with him as well. I think that is important.”

The US will now play friendlies against Canada and New Zealand in September.

yunus musah He started for the US in place of the suspended Timothy Weah, who replaced Giovanni Reyna in the winger's role. Weah was sent off early for violent behaviour without the ball during Thursday's loss to Panama, and was suspended for an additional game by CONMEBOL for his actions.

Monday's match at Arrowhead Stadium got off to a disastrous start, with 14 fouls in the first half and two injuries disrupting play, forcing substitutions.

Uruguayan winger Maximiliano Araújo He had to leave the match on a stretcher in the 27th minute after being hit by an offensive corner kick by Uruguay. He was replaced Christian Oliveira,

Fourteen minutes later, the American forwards Folarin Balogun He was ruled out with an injury after colliding with the Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochette,

Berhalter pursues attacking options Josh Sargent And Malik Tillman Late as the U.S. tried to equalize, the Americans managed just three shots on goal and weren’t quick enough to get the ball off their feet inside the 18.

Berhalter cited expected goals on multiple occasions on Monday to back up his claim that the USMNT did enough to create chances at the Copa America. According to Opta, the Americans scored 0.58 expected goals, while Uruguay scored 1.4.

“I think, again, when you’re in tournament football, there’s very little difference between success and failure,” Berhalter said. “And it’s an action. It’s a decision by the referee and you can get in trouble.

“And for us, it's important to have that understanding. That understanding that every time we step out on the field, it has an impact. And I think we're getting there, but we don't always get there. And that's something we can improve upon.”

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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