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Questioning coaches: Can Gregg Berhalter find success as the USMNT manager?

The USMNT head coach is being questioned after a series of lackluster performances from his team as the Qatar 2022 World Cup looms.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter of United States l
Christof KoepselGetty

Gregg Berhalter has always been a popular figure among players and fans having guided the US to this year’s World Cup although question marks are starting to be generated as his USMNT team head to Qatar. 

Since the former Columbus Crew boss took control of the national side in December 2018, his team have won 36 games, drawn 10 and lost 10 but in recent matches, the coach has been unable to forge an XI that convince with his team goal-shy having just found the net once in their past three outings. His USMNT team managed two shots on goal in the Saudi clash in Murcia and this is a scant improvement against the zero shots mustered on target last week as part of the 2-0 defeat to Japan.

Berhalter calls for calm

Speaking to the press after the game in Murcia’s La Condomina (attended by 364 spectators), the 49-year-old was anxious to appeal for calm with the World Cup on the horizon: “I can’t fault the effort but we need to keep improving,” US coach Berhalter said. “It’s nervy times - people are worried about being on the roster or not... The confidence isn’t there yet but we’ll get there.” He later admitted that many players were playing below “normal levels” and lack of confidence being apparent for his team.

Gregg Berhalter, Head Coach of The United States
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Gregg Berhalter, Head Coach of The United StatesAitor AlcaldeGetty

Scoring goals appears to be one of the key issues for Berhalter’s team with Pepi and Ferreira failing to convince in Murcia. Many US fans are calling for Brandon Vazquez, Jordan Pefok and Josh Sargent to be included in the Qatar squad as once again Gio Reyna caused alarm with the Dortmund man subbed after further injury concerns.

The USMNT will play in a complicated Group B at the World Cup. On 21 November, they face Wales in their campaign opener and then play England (25 November) and Iran (29 November) with the top two teams from the group progressing to the knockout phase of the tournament.