The honeymoon for Gregg Berhalter's leadership of the US men’s national team, if there ever was one, ended on Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati.
Playing their final warm-up match before the Gold Cup, the USMNT were humbled 3-0 by Venezuela at Nippert Stadium, torn open repeatedly in the first half as Real Salt Lake winger Jefferson Savarino struck on either side of a brace from Salomon Rondon.
The West Brom striker's opener arrived via a gift from US goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who misplayed a pass from deep in his own penalty box as the hosts tried to build out of the back, triggering a chaotic sequence capped by Rondon's finish.
Things got worse for the USMNT on the half-hour mark as Rondon's simple flick-on from a throw-in cleaved the back line apart and Savarino clanged a curler off the far post, then outran a quartet of defenders to tap in the rebound. Rondon stretched the lead a few minutes later when he ran onto a long pass over the top and beat Aaron Long in a one-on-one situation to hammer home at the near post.
Berhalter brought on Jozy Altidore and Walker Zimmerman for the second half, but relatively changed as the visitors comfortably managed their lead for a useful victory before they begin Copa América play.
- 16’ — VEN — Salomon Rondon | WATCH
- 30’ — VEN — Jefferson Savarino | WATCH
- 36’ — VEN — Salomon Rondon | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: One poor result, like Wednesday's loss to Jamaica, can be written off to some extent. Another woeful outing on the eve of Berhalter's first competitive tournament, not so much. Not only were the USMNT shaky and error-prone, they looked disinterested, which is a greater sin. Now the alarm bells are (or certainly should be) ringing.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Building out of the back always piles extra pressure on the 'keeper, but a mistake as casual and costly as Steffen's early one is doubly costly in that moment because it sets the tone for the entire game.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Rondon is the easy choice here; the big frontrunner had his way with the US all day.
- USA: Tuesday, June 18 vs. Guyana, Gold Cup (10 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN)
- VEN: Saturday, June 15 vs. Peru, Copa América (3 pm ET)