Soccer-Berhalter says ‘no panic’ after U.S. loss to Canada – Metro US

Soccer-Berhalter says ‘no panic’ after U.S. loss to Canada

FILE PHOTO: Soccer: CONCACAF FIFA World Cup Qualifier-El Salvador at
FILE PHOTO: Soccer: CONCACAF FIFA World Cup Qualifier-El Salvador at USA

(Reuters) – The head coach of the U.S. men’s team, Gregg Berhalter, on Tuesday defended his side’s performance in their 2-0 loss to Canada on Sunday and said there was no reason to panic despite the tightening of the World Cup qualifying table.

The team is currently in second place in the eight-country CONCACAF group and will look to bounce back from the away defeat to their northern neighbors when they host winless Honduras in chilly St. Paul, Minnesota on Wednesday.

Berhalter raised eyebrows on Sunday when he said the United States “dominated” Canada despite what many thought was an uninspired performance, and did not back down from that view on Tuesday.

“Watching the game back confirmed what I was talking about,” Berhalter told reporters on a call.

“We’re bitterly disappointed with the loss, but happy with the effort.”

After scoring in the seventh minute, Canada were able to commit to a defensive effort that ultimately proved too difficult to break down, he said.

“Big picture, if we win this next game, we can keep our hold of second place,” Berhalter said.

“That was our goal coming into this round, to maintain second place, and we’re in position to do that.”

With four games to go, Canada lead the group with 22 points while the United States and Mexico both have 18 points, with the U.S. ahead on goal difference.

Panama have 17 points, Costa Rica 13, El Salvador nine, Jamaica seven while Honduras, who have already been eliminated, have three.

The top three teams automatically qualify for Qatar 2022 and the fourth-placed team will go to an intercontinental playoff.

Still fresh in the minds of U.S. fans is the team’s shocking loss to Trinidad and Tobago on the final day of World Cup qualifiers that shut them out of the 2018 World Cup.

Berhalter, however, said his side was focused on the present.

“We go out, we play hard, and we play to win the game. That’s the message to the team,” he said.

“It’s not time to panic.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Davis)