USMNT takeaways: Three changes Gregg Berhalter must make to avoid Panama upset repeat against Costa Rica


All the good vibes the United States men’s national team created over the summer and fall quickly turned sour on Sunday night with a shockingly poor 1-0 defeat at Panama in World Cup qualifying. The loss saw the U.S. fall from the rank of the unbeatens and raised serious questions about the team’s depth and what manager Gregg Berhalter should do without some of the team’s top stars. It’s a quick turnaround for the USMNT with a date against Costa Rica in Columbus on Wednesday.

The match against Panama saw the team record just five shots, including zero on goal. The five shots are tied for the fewest under Berhalter, and the 0.22 xG, is by far the worst under Berhalter, as Paul Carr points out.

Ahead of Wednesday and off of a terribly poor showing, here’s what Berhalter should do to with his team:

Start Ricardo Pepi (duh)

This goes without saying, and Berhalter knows he has to start Pepi against Costa Rica, too. He’s made a big impact in his first two starts with three total goals, and while he didn’t get the service needed against Panama, he did more within his first few minutes than the other attackers did the entire game. Not much more to say here, but Berhalter knows this. Pepi just has to start and in all likelihood he will.

Move Brenden Aaronson to midfield

This one is key. The midfield was so bad on Sunday, both defensively and when it came to creating opportunities. The problem is there wasn’t much of a creator there. Tyler Adams is not a creator. Kellyn Acosta is not a creator. Yunus Musah is not a creator. Brenden Aaronson, in this current squad, is that guy. There is no need to have him play out the wing, because he’s already shown that he can get the attack going.

Aaronson has been arguably the best players for this team across the last two months, and his goal against Canada continues to come to mind. That is where he applied the pressure at midfield, stole the ball, played…

Source : cbssports

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