The United States has defeated Curacao in the quarterfinals of Gold Cup tournament, but the performance posted was far away from what the majority expected.
Only 1-0 against the biggest surprise of the tournament disappointed the American public, as they expected to see their favorites much more confident and relentless.
Team USA coach, Gregg Berhalter spoke about the fact that media and the fans expected to see Curacao annihilated, underlining that something like that is not realistic.
“I think you guys wanted us to go out there and beat them 5-0, but we knew it was going to be a difficult game,” he said.
Berhalter emphasized the quality of all the teams in this tournament, which is, in his opinion very high. Curacao also deserved more respect from the fans and the public, because they have a solid team.
“You look at all the quarterfinals in this tournament, and Copa America, they’re all tough games. They know there’s no tomorrow if they lose.”
The Americans started the game furiously, and everything would be much different if Christian Pulisic used at least one of his two chances in the opening five minutes. Chelsea’s new player missed one opportunity and was denied the second time by Eloy Room, Curacao’s goalkeeper.
If he netted once, the game would open in a much better way for the hosts, who would have an early morale boost.
Still, the US team reached the lead relatively early. Weston McKennie broke Curacao’s lock in the 25th minute, after Pulisic’s assist. And when many believed that Berhalter’s boys are just catching the rhythm, they simply stopped.
From that moment, up until the final whistle, the USA couldn’t beat Room, despite having some sloppy changes in the first half. But the second part of the game is pretty worrying for this crew.
The Americans looked pretty pale, and goalkeeper Steffen had to intervene on a few occasions. His superb save six minutes before the end prevented a shock which might have possibly developed in one of the worst nightmares of the USA soccer.
“We’re happy with the result of this game,” Berhalter said at the press conference. “That should be said.”
The American coach didn’t want to get too much involved in explaining why his team didn’t play at a high level in this match. But as one of the reasons, Berhalter mentioned a good game of the opponents, and especially their goalie.
“I think they played an excellent game; you see they have clear ideas in their buildup,” he said. “Their goalie [Eloy Room] is excellent with his feet.
PULISIC ➡️ MCKENNIE = GOAL 🔥
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 1, 2019
In the semifinals, USA faces their toughest opponent so far, Jamaica. They will have to be much better than against Curacao, and Pulisic, as well as other guys, need to realize their chances accurately; otherwise, Steffen might not be in a position to save them once again.
The Jamaican team is much better than the latest rival, and they proved that already. Reggae Boyz has more individuals playing in good clubs, and the overall quality of Jamaican soccer is much higher than at Curacao.
Plus, these two sides already played a friendly clash this season, and the United States lost. Less than two months ago, Jamaica defeated them with 1-0.
The game is scheduled for this Wednesday, and it will be played in Nashville.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.