Berhalters three-man defense experiment provides a glimpse at …

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    • us men’s national team head coach gregg berhalter has experienced a lot during his time in charge. forty-three players have made their international debut since berhalter took over in december 2018. in sunday’s 2-1 win over northern ireland, berhalter engaged in a different kind of experiment, with a backline of three men.

      Given the relatively low stakes, it was smart of berhalter to give the lineup a chance. the change in formation certainly equates to a different look and will give future opponents something to think about for months to come. it also fits into some personal aspects of the Americans. the United States. he has a jam of centre-backs of comparable skill, and the same is true in terms of central midfielders. It also allows full-backs like Antonee Robinson and Sergino Dest, whose skills lean toward the offensive side of the game, to come forward. And it is not the first time that Berhalter has brought up the formation, since he did it in a friendly against Jamaica before the 2019 Gold Cup.

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      Unsurprisingly, there were periods of fluency, as ee. uu. he had the vast majority of possession. an early sequence saw christian pulisic drop robinson deep on the left wing, only for robinson’s next delivery to miss a trio of goals in the box.

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        pulisic and giovanni reyna looked lively in the match, with the latter opening the scoring in the 30th minute, and pulisic adding the eventual winner from the penalty spot just before the hour mark. even more important for pulisic, he was freer than against jamaica. how much of that is down to the formation is up for debate, but it was good to finally see both players impressing within the same team.

        pulisic’s performance will provide some assurance that even if things don’t go too well at club level, he can still provide the kind of dynamic attacking presence that ee has. uu. needs. although for berhalter, pulisic also contributed off the ball.

        “forget all the wonderful things he does with the ball, he just competed today,” berhalter said of pulisic. “And when he’s in that kind of mode, you know, he’s an amazing player and that’s what made me the happiest today, was the relentless pressure from him. It just went on and on and then you know he’s so good.” the ball, he can unbalance the team and, for me, he had a very good performance in general.”

        But there were also some tough times for the Americans. one of the requirements for playing three in defense is that the central defenders and the holding midfielder must be ordered with the ball, and in the first half there were enough errors from that group for us to be able to play. uu. seem vulnerable in transition. On more than one occasion it took just one or two passes to put a Northern Ireland attacker in a one-on-one situation with a U.S. defender, including a sequence in the 38th minute in which shayne lavery forced zack steffen into a diving save.

        berhalter noted that while he didn’t want to make excuses, course conditions at windsor park were tough. of course the usa You can expect more of the same in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, and Berhalter noted that turnovers put his team in some trouble.

        “It was tough and we lacked a little bit of that precision on the ball, and so we had some turnovers,” he said. “However, what I like is that the guys still tried and, in the second half, there is a period where we really went up and took possession of the ball and moved it very well. So, in general, I am satisfied with the effort that I plan to execute”. the game plan.”

        some of america’s biggest problems. uu. They were formation-independent, meaning a propensity to concede set-pieces that tipped the first-half momentum to Northern Ireland. that was also an issue against jamaica and will be something for berhalter to keep an eye on in the future.

        the united states seemed more comfortable and confident within the formation after halftime, and seemed in control when pulisic won and converted a penalty. at that point, a parade of substitutions made the game a little more open, and us. uu. he really should have increased his advantage with a lot of chances. When Niall McGinn scored on an absolute thunderbolt from a tight angle in the 88th minute, it caused a few nervy final moments, but the U.S.A. uu. was able to see it.

        so should berhalter give the three-man backline another chance? it’s worth noting that northern ireland have a world cup qualifier against bulgaria on wednesday and as such she was going to save her collective energy for that match. That said, it’s certainly worth exploring, especially when Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams are back. Unfortunately, apart from the May 30 friendly against Switzerland, there won’t be many more opportunities to test the formation before the Nations League in June.

        however, in spite of everything, e.uu. experienced and recorded a rare win in europe, making it another test passed by berhalter & co.

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