In their penultimate pre-Gold Cup international friendly, the US men’s national team suffered a 1-0 defeat to Jamaica at Audi Field Wednesday night, the first under head coach Gregg Berhalter.
Berhalter used the match as a chance to experiment with his formation, opting for a 3-4-2-1 in the opening 45 minutes. However, it yielded only two shots, both off frame, in a sloppy first half.
Jamaica, which pressed Zack Steffen into making a pair of saves in the first half, always looked the more dangerous side to score and the Reggae Boyz finally scored on the hour mark, a sensational blast from distance from Shamar Nicholson following a Wil Trapp turnover in midfield.
The USMNT pressed for the equalizer with Duane Holmes providing a spark off the bench as one of several second-half substitutes. Josh Sargent had the best chance two minutes from full time, turning in the box and firing on frame. But Andre Blake made the diving save, parrying the attempt away for a corner kick.
- 60’ — JAM — Shamar Nicholson | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: The USMNT just wasn’t good. Yes, it was a match that didn’t matter much with an experimental lineup and formation, but this is the first bad result under Berhalter. It will be interesting to see how they respond on Sunday against Venezuela. As for Jamaica, consider this a statement of their intent to win the Gold Cup after falling in the last two finals.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It’s a fantastic finish by Nicholson, who cuts the ball back onto his right to create the necessary extra space. But it comes off a turnover in midfield with Trapp taking too much time on the ball.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Blake didn’t have a lot to do, but he has a history of stepping up in the biggest spots and that’s just what he did in the 88th minute, diving to his right to deny Sargent the equalizer.
- USA: Sunday, June 9 vs. Venezuela (2 pm ET | FOX)
- JAM: Monday, June 17 vs. Honduras, Gold Cup (9:30 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN)