The USMNT reclaimed its driver’s seat status for the CONCACAF Nations League with a 4-1 defeat of Canada in Orlando on Friday.
[ MORE: Match recap ]
Here’s what we gleaned from 90 minutes near Disneyworld.
Berhalter returns the tactical beatdown
Canada coach John Herdman opted to take his most electric attacker, Alphonso Davies, and play him at left back. Yes, he’s played there for Bayern Munich — who is in a defender crisis — but considering what Davies did to the USMNT last month in Toronto, well, what a let off!
Berhalter would’ve learned that he had to punish Canada’s back line, an untested group he didn’t test last month. So while it turned some heads that Gyasi Zardes and Paul Arriola got start over Josh Sargent and Tyler Boyd, they combined with Jordan Morris to bring industry in spades.
It also helped that Weston McKennie was much better, and that Sergino Dest and John Brooks were available, but credit Berhalter for flipping the script after October’s Ontario humiliation. While his seven changes to the lineup were an exaggerated change — he certainly would’ve preferred to play injured Michael Bradley and Christian Pulisic — but it’s good to see the coach recognize the errors of his ways.
Gyasi Zardes flummoxes most of the USMNT fandom
Look: It seemed like next level trolling when Gregg Berhalter called upon his longtime Columbus Crew striker to start over Josh Sargent, but it turned out to be a risk well-rewarded.
The athletic, powerful American striker was a handful for the aforementioned, overmatched back line.
Yes his second goal was deflected past Milan Borjan, and no he’s never going to be the club’s best striker. But considering how often many of us have criticized the continued call-ups of Zardes, he’ll be having an ice cold pint water of water and clinking glasses with Berhalter after the match.
Ajax right back Sergino Dest is now an American player (“Sandlot” voice) for-ev-er, and the recently-minted 19-year-old was absolute dynamite going forward.
Dest presents a variety of 1v1 moves, as evidenced on a lightning counter that finished short of a goal when he dragged a shot wide of the far post.
If there was any question that the Yanks scored a victory in getting him to commit to the U.S., he answered them all positively. Good on you, Earnie Stewart and Berhalter.