Gregg Berhalter - US national team - January 27, 2019
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Berhalter: US national team "didn't match what Canada was bringing" in intensity

Canada were deserving winners over a subpar US men’s national team in their Concacaf Nations League clash on Tuesday night, and the victory started with desire and intensity.

USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter admitted as much in his postgame interview with ESPN’s Sebastian Salazar on the pitch just after the final whistle at BMO Field, conceding that his team were comprehensively outfought by a tenacious Les Rouges side that won second balls in key areas at key moments.

“I’m disappointed in that we didn’t match what Canada was bringing,” said Berhalter, who along with his players had repeatedly acknowledged the CanMNT’s pregame comments about the high stakes of this encounter in Toronto. “There were too many 50/50 balls that went on their end and it was the will that got them winning those balls and I’m disappointed in that.”

Opta’s match statistics showed that the two sides finished dead even in terms of the duels category, though that belies the particularly influential nature of the Canadians’ superior numbers and bite in the center of the park. Notably, Alphonso Davies’ opening goal was created immediately after two US turnovers in quick succession.

Asked what message he would send to frustrated USMNT fans, Berhalter tried to look forward, noting that his team can still top CNL Group A of League A by soundly defeating Canada and Cuba next month.

“We’re disappointed, but we go home and we still have a chance to win the group and that’s our objective,” he said.