Gregg Berhalter - introductory press conference - Earnie Stewart - Dan Flynn - U.S. Soccer
Reuters

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter gets Earnie Stewart's full backing: "What I’ve seen today, I’m a pleased man"

Earnie Stewart is backing US men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter, despite the team’s recent struggles, including a 2-0 defeat to Canada in the Concacaf Nations League last month at BMO Field.

“We’re looking at the future. So when I evaluate Gregg and the staff, what I’ve seen today, I’m a pleased man,” the USSF sporting director told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “An individual result is not going to change that.

“It’s just not. I’ve seen the progress and when you look at these individual results of the Canada away game, no, we weren’t happy,” he added. “We weren’t happy at all. We have a moment to rectify that as well. This Friday is about that. We need to perform.”

The USMNT will get a chance to avenge that defeat when they meet Canada Friday (7 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN) at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.

After the match with Canada, the US will round out their Group A campaign by taking on Cuba from George Town in the Cayman Islands Nov. 19 (7:30 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, TUDN).

Canada leads the three-team group with maximum points from three wins. The US, after their first defeat to Canada since 1985, are second with six points.

Despite that defeat, and consecutive losses to Mexico in the Gold Cup final and an international friendly two months later, Stewart believes progress is being made.

Stewart referenced the first 25 minutes against Mexico in the Gold Cup final as a positive sign.

“Now the question is not so much, can these players do that, because they’ve shown they can,” Stewart said. “However, we need to do that over 90 minutes. That’s something we’re constantly talking about. How can we get there, how can we progress to keep that and maintain that?”

As for the ultimate goal of reaching the FIFA World Cup after the first missed bid in almost 30 years, Stewart was steadfast in his belief.

“I have no fear at all that we are not going to qualify for the World Cup,” Stewart said. “I am very, very confident of that.”


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