The United States not only suffered its first defeat in the Concacaf Hex heading to Qatar 2022, it also fell to Panama for the first time in a World Cup tie.
The historic 1-0 setback in Panama left the Stars and Stripes team with eight points and in second place in the regional standings.
“The mentality was to go out and win, we lined up a group of players who we thought could win the game,” said Gregg Berhalter, USA coach. “Later, with what happened in the first half, we adjusted the formation and made some changes hoping to find an inertia to fight to take us even one point.
“There was a lack of intensity, it was not that we did not try, but our movements and passes fell short. It was (a performance) very poor on our side, ”he added.
Berhalter sent seven changes from the previous game. The only players who repeated from the start were the goalkeeper Matt turner, the defender Walker zimmerman, the midfielder Yunus Musah and the extreme Paul Arriola. The 11 players who took to the field for the United States have an average of 23 appearances with the national team and only 12 in official competitions.
“It’s not about age. Last game’s lineup, I think I was younger than this one. It depends on the narrative, because we won the game in Austin and everyone said good things. We needed to do rotations, because we came to visit to play in intense humidity after traveling for more than four hours and there is another game on Wednesday, ”said the strategist.
As is customary in knockout matches in Central American venues, the environment was hostile for visitors at the Rommel Fernández stadium, which was dyed red and, in addition, the field and conditions were complicated with a climate of 24 degrees Celsius and humidity of the 75 percent.
“It is part of (playing in) Concacaf, of the qualifiers, we have to overcome all the conditions that are presented to us,” said Walker Zimmerman, captain of the United States. “Of course it is humid, hot, complicated, but you have to be strong and overcome that. Of course, physically towards the end of the game it takes a toll on you and your legs resent it, but they were the same, they also traveled and played the same day as us ”.
It should be remembered that the US team is without its stars on the attack Christian pulisic and Gio Reyna due to injuries, so other players like Brenda Aaronson and Ricardo Pepi they have raised their hands.
After a great game against Jamaica, both Aaronson and Pepi entered the exchange against Panama, but without impacting as expected.
“We needed fresh legs for the conditions that would be here in Panama, you could see the players who had played in Austin last game, it was difficult for them to have the intensity we wanted. It is a young group, we continue to learn and we have to continue, now think about the game in Columbus ”, indicated Berhalter.
The United States had momentarily placed first in the Octagonal after the triumph over Jamaica, but with the defeat, combined with Mexico’s triumph over Honduras, it remains in second place.
The next game for the United States will be at home, on Wednesday, against Costa Rica.