USMNT: 3 questions Gregg Berhalter’s team must face at Gold Cup

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CINCINNATI, OH – JUNE 09: Zack Steffen (1) of the United States reacts during the international friendly soccer match between the United States and Venezuela at Nippert Stadium on June 09, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The USMNT embark on their first competitive tournament under Gregg Berhalter in this summer’s Gold Cup. Here are three questions they must face.

It has not been ideal preparation for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Two warm-up games in the past week. Two harrowing losses, the first to lowly Jamaica largely consisting of USL players, the second a 3-0 thumping at the hands of Venezuela.

As the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup looms, Gregg Berhalter and his players have plenty of questions to answer. From the personnel selected to the tactics employed, there are a great many uncertainties surrounding the USMNT, which is not ideal prior to a big summer tournament.

Here are three questions that the USMNT must face in this summer’s Gold Cup.

CINCINNATI, OH – JUNE 09: United States head coach Gregg Berhalter looks on in game action during a friendly international match between the United States and Venezuela on June 09, 2019 at Nippert Stadium, in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

3. Poor system or poor execution?

Gregg Berhalter wants to implement a rather specific and complicated system. The best way of describing it is a 4-2-3-1 that morphs into a 3-3-3-1 when in possession, the right-back pushing forward into the central midfield and the left-back moving across into a more central defensive position.

So far, the system has had mixed success, but in its most recent outing, against Venezuela at the weekend, it was ripped to shreds. That does not necessarily mean that the system is the wrong one, however. It could be that it is being poorly executed by the players on the pitch.

Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams, the U.S.’ three best players, are all yet to make an appearance this summer. Berhalter, in asking for time, is essentially arguing that the system can work, it just needs better execution, and for that, time and patience are required. But then, maybe the system itself isn’t a very good one? The Gold Cup should help outline the difference.

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