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USA 0-1 Jamaica, 2019 friendly: Recap of a listless performance

The first loss for Gregg Berhalter’s national team.

Soccer: International Friendly Soccer-Jamaica at USA Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The United States men’s national team fell to Jamaica, 1-0, at Washington D.C.’s Audi Field. As reported by Stu Holden, Gregg Berhalter’s side lined up in an “experimental 3-4-2-1 formation”. Matt Miazga made his debut as team captain; the San Jose EarthquakesJackson Yueill started and earned his first senior cap.

Neither team could find the back of the net in the first half. Jamaica enjoyed the bulk of the attacking chances, but was unable to take advantage of the scoring opportunities.

The Reggae Boyz continued to control the proceedings in the second half and their efforts were rewarded in the 60th minute. Kevon Lambert intercepted an errant pass from Cristian Roldan, and played the ball to Shamar Nicholson. The striker hit an absolute rocket from well outside the box that Zack Steffen was unable to stop.

For the rest of the match, the USMNT was ineffective in possession and never looked capable of scoring, managing to put a single shot on goal - a largely fluky effort involving Joshua Sargent that was easily handled by goalkeeper Andre Blake. Despite being a definitive B-squad, the lineup was comprised of talented players who should have risen to the challenge of a lively Jamaican team. Instead, they failed to manage an effective counter-punch to Nicholson’s thunderbolt and couldn’t escape their own half until deep into the match’s denouement.

Prior to this loss, the USMNT was undefeated in 2019 and during Berhalter’s nascent tenure. This was the absolute last chance for players to make an impression; with Gold Cup rosters due by midnight and “a few positions that are up for grabs”, it appears unlikely that anyone was able to positively influence his status in the squad.

To call it a forgettable result would be excessively charitable: this is a team performance that must be overshadowed by upcoming matches, lest a stagnation develops and continues through the impending continental championship. The USMNT returns to action on Sunday, June 9th when they take on Venezuela at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio in their final tune-up match before the Gold Cup.