There’s trying to talk up your team after a big loss, and then there’s a delusion.
Judging by Sunday’s comments following a 2-0 loss to Canada in Hamilton, Gregg Berhalter could be spending time in some sort of post-match fog or delusion. Maybe let’s go a little MCU and say he’s in a different multiverse and should call up Dr. Strange.
Read Berhalter’s thoughts on the loss. The first quote below is Berhalter’s unprovoked take to open his postgame presser,.
Ask yourself who won this game.
[ MORE: Three things we learned ]
“This game I can’t single anyone out: It was an entire team effort that was dominant,” Berhalter said. “It’s hard for me to remember a performance away from home this dominant that wasn’t getting a result.”
Berhalter’s men lost 40 of 70 second-half duels and only managed three shots on target. They lost 24 of 43 aerial duels.
“They couldn’t handle our physicality,” Berhalter said. “We dominated, when you look at everything… duels won.”
At some point, you have to wonder what game the head coach of the national team was watching.
If Gregg Berhalter really thinks the #USMNT dominated Canada, has some mythical numbers we don't that say they bossed duels, and thinks all is good… let's hope he hasn't convinced the players. Borderline delusional.
— Nicholas Mendola (@NicholasMendola) January 30, 2022
What did we just watch?
The Yanks entered the match a point behind Canada on the World Cup qualifying table and still found themselves surprised by a team that drew them 1-1 in the United States.
This is, without a doubt, a failure at every level from the coaching staff to the final substitution. And those things happen and can be stomached… if acknowledged and corrected. That’s where the danger lies.
Canada coach John Herdman has now bossed the American coach home and away, tactically and motivationally, but don’t tell Berhalter.
And don’t tell Miles Robinson, who took umbrage with ProSoccerTalk‘s question of how Canada still managed to surprise the USMNT despite the Yanks drawing the Canucks 1-1 in the United States earlier this cycle.
“We know the talent they have and the quality they have and it’s up to us to be ready every moment,” Robinson said.
The U.S. had 72 percent of the ball in the 1-1 draw with Canada and did not trail over 90 minutes, and that’s in a game in which Canada’s best player, Alphonso Davies, not only played but set up Cyle Larin for a goal. The Yanks took 11 shots to Canada’s six, and won 47 of 99 duels.
Larin scored again Sunday, this time early, but the Yanks allowed more shots, had less of the ball, and lost a larger percentage of duels.
Yes, Weston McKennie headed off the crossbar and Paul Arriola’s bicycle kick goal flashed wide of the far post, but Berhalter’s thoughts on this game feel more like protectionism than reality. Berhalter used three of his five subs on out-of-season MLS players and started a fourth who looked ice cold (nothing to do with temperature). He left John Brooks, Josh Sargent, and Jordan Pefok back in Europe, amongst others.
Canada was home and is good, so all of the above aside from the quotes are fine, in a nutshell. But if Berhalter is spreading the word to his team that anything about Sunday is okay, then the program isn’t going anywhere despite a potential Golden Generation.