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US coach Berhalter on thin ice after Copa disaster

With the World Cup just two years away and the US desperate not to be embarrassed again on the international stage, Dempsey is worried that replacing Berhalter came with its own risks.
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 05:59 IST

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Gregg Berhalter's tenure as US head coach could be on the line after his team failed to advance from the group stage of the Copa America following their crushing 1-0 defeat by Uruguay in Kansas City on Monday.

Backs to the wall in their final Group C game, the tournament hosts failed to deliver and were knocked out after Uruguay sealed top spot and Panama secured second place.

"We're bitterly disappointed in the results," Berhalter said at a press conference.

"We know that we're capable of more and at this tournament we didn't show it. It's as simple as that."

Asked whether he thought he was the right person to lead the team up to the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico, Berhalter was in no doubt.

"Yes," he said.

Not everyone agrees.

"The knives are out and they should be," said Alexi Lalas, a former U.S. player turned Fox Sports analyst.

"This is not good enough from Gregg Berhalter."

Clint Dempsey said he too had concerns about the future of Berhalter, who took the helm in 2018 and was rehired in 2022 with the support of the players following an extensive coaching search.

"I don't think we've progressed enough since the last World Cup," said Dempsey, another former US player turned analyst.

"We're not on the right track."

With the World Cup just two years away and the US desperate not to be embarrassed again on the international stage, Dempsey is worried that replacing Berhalter came with its own risks.

"How long is that going to take? And who is someone who is good enough to take us forward that's out there waiting in the wings?" he asked.

"Those are questions that the federation need to figure out but for me, it hasn't been good enough."

US fans were brimming with confidence when the host nation were drawn in what looked like a manageable group, and were further encouraged when Christian Pulisic struck early against Bolivia in a one-sided 2-0 victory.

But everything changed against Panama in the second match.

Forced to play with 10 men for more than an hour following Tim Weah's red card in the 18th minute, the US surrendered a late goal to fall 2-1 and questions were immediately asked about Berhalter's future.

The U.S. then failed to break through the Uruguayan defense on Monday and Mathias Olivera's second-half goal, coupled with Panama's 3-1 win over Bolivia, spelled the end for the United States' Copa campaign.

Berhalter said a review would be conducted to examine what went wrong but said he still had faith in the squad, the core of which is unlikely to change significantly before the World Cup.

"You have to keep moving forward," he said.

"It's not where you say okay, this program is doomed. That's not the case at all. It was a poor performance, we didn't get the results that we expected and we need to get better."

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Published 02 July 2024, 05:59 IST

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