Strain Mounts on US After 2 Attracts in World Cup Qualifying | Sports activities Information

By RONALD BLUM, AP Sports activities Author

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gamers walked off the sector dejected. Nervous American followers are in an uproar.

No, this wasn’t 4 years in the past. That is the right here and now for the U.S. soccer staff, which has simply two factors after its first two World Cup qualifiers, three injured regulars and a staff chief despatched residence for violating COVID-19 protocols.

A 1-1 draw at residence in opposition to Canada, which final reached soccer’s showcase in 1986, brought on concern and ratched strain. As an alternative of a revival below coach Gregg Berhalter, the Individuals are sputtering heading into Wednesday evening’s sport at Honduras, their third in a seven-day span. The U.S. hasn’t received a qualifier since 2013 in Central America, the place it has one win and three attracts in its final eight matches.

“The opening’s beginning to get a bit deeper,” former American defender Marcelo Balboa, now a commentator for Univision, mentioned Monday. “It places extra emphasis on the away sport in Honduras, which we all know, the grass might be thick. It’ll be sizzling. It’ll be humid. The followers will weigh — the buzzing sound for 3 hours main as much as the sport surrounding the stadium.”

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Defender Sergiño Dest (sprained ankle), goalkeeper Zack Steffen (again spasms, constructive COVID check) and midfielder Gio Reyna (strained hamstring) will not make the journey. Jordan Morris, Paul Arriola and Tim Weah already had been damage earlier than the opener.

Midfielder Weston McKennie, a member of the staff’s six-man management council, was advised to return to Italy by Berhalter after violating staff COVID-19 protocols. McKennie, among the many prime American gamers, was saved off Sunday’s game-day roster by Berhalter for the foundations violation. Breaking COVID-19 protocols by internet hosting a celebration brought on him to be dropped by Juventus for its Derby della Mole in opposition to Torino in April.

“There are excessive expectations for individuals who are part of the U.S. males’s nationwide staff, and with the intention to achieve success it’s necessary that everybody within the group is accountable,” Berhalter mentioned in a press release.

San Jose midfielder Jackson Yueill was added to the roster and skilled with the staff Monday at Lipscomb College.

This staff has its most completed roster, led by gamers headed to this season’s Champions League in Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), McKennie, Dest (Barcelona), Steffen (Manchester Metropolis), Reyna (Borussia Dormund), Brenden Aaronson (RB Salzburg), John Brooks (Wolfsburg) and Jordan Pefok (Younger Boys).

They’ve managed solely barely higher than the terrible begin to the earlier cycle, when the U.S. opened with a 2-1 residence defeat to Mexico and 4-Zero thrashing at Costa Rica.

“It is a staff sport,” Adams mentioned. “It doesn’t matter the place we come from. If we don’t go on the market and do the issues that we’re good at, that we’re only a group of names on a bit of paper. Different groups, perhaps they don’t have the gamers that play for these large golf equipment, nevertheless it doesn’t matter.”

And suspensions could turn out to be an element quickly. Defenders John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin and Mark McKenzie have obtained yellow playing cards together with Adams and Pefok. Any of these would obtain a one-game ban for an extra single yellow card.

Play within the first two video games was subpar.

“We would have liked a lot sooner ball motion. Everybody might see from the surface it took simply means too lengthy on the ball,” Berhalter mentioned.

Some faulted the coach for ready till the 83rd minute to make three substitutions geared toward getting a purpose. Berhalter mentioned he held off as a result of he thought Aaronson and Pefok had been among the many higher Individuals on the sector.

“I can perceive the way it appears to be like like we must always have acted faster 100% on this state of affairs,” Berhalter mentioned.

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