USA v. Jamaica, International Friendly: Final Score 1-0 as Sloppy Yanks Fall in D.C.



The United States Men’s National Team played a young, experimental lineup and it turned out that wasn’t a recipe for success. The Yanks were mistake prone all night, failed to do much of anything in possession, and repeatedly gave Jamaica the ball in their own half on error after unforced error in a 1-0 loss to the Reggae Boyz at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.

Shamar Nicholson scored the game’s only goal to win the match. It was his first international goal.

It was an unacceptable performance by the U.S. and the Jamaicans were deserving winners as the clearly better side. Several USMNT players were given an opportunity to play their way onto the Gold Cup roster but it would be wrong to say that anyone clearly did so.

Gregg Berhalter sent out a fairly inexperienced lineup in a 3-4-2-1. The back three (left to right) in front of goalkeeper Zack Steffen consisted of Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Matt Miazga. The deep midfield line was Antonee Robinson, Wil Trapp Jackson Yueill, and Paul Arriola. Djordje Mihailovic and Cristian Roldan sat just behind striker Josh Sargent.

Both teams got their first decent look at goal in the sixth minute. Steffen went to ground to make a good stop on a shot from his right to deny Dever Orgill, and then seconds later, Arriola fired in a dangerous cross that found Sargent’s head but he couldn’t make good enough contact to direct it on goal.

The USMNT got a bit sloppy moments later. Peter-Lee Vassell dispossessed Mihailovic in the 13th minute and tried to chip Steffen but missed the target badly. Seconds later, Steffen handed the ball right to Vassell in front of goal but the U.S. scrambled to eventually clear the danger. Vassell got a shot blocked in the 16th after Robinson was dispossessed in his defensive third and Jamaica worked the ball into the middle.

The game, quite frankly, got boring for a long time after that. The USMNT was sloppy with the ball, especially in the attacking half, and the Reggae Boyz were organized enough that their lines were difficult to break. On the other end, Jamaica took a couple of long-range shots but nothing that troubled Steffen. As a result, much of the first half was played between the boxes.

In the 38th minute, the Jamaicans finally got the game’s next couple of half chances. Gonzalez blocked a shot at the top of the area and then Alvas Powell sent a header — from just in front of goal — over the net off a Kemar Lawrence cross.

Maalique Foster took a shot from just above the area in the 42nd minute but he sent the effort right at Steffen. A minute later, the U.S. got an opportunity when Roldan crossed a ball for Robinson but the youngster popped it up well over the net in the USMNT’s first shot attempt in what seemed like forever.

That was the last decent chance of a rather pedestrian first half and the teams went into the locker rooms without a goal between them, with Jamaica having had the better opportunities.

The second half began as more of the same. Jamaica got a shot from a tight angle in the 51st minute that was just wide of the near post after a U.S. giveaway in the defensive third. Kevon Lambert then smashed a shot that required a Steffen save after Trapp coughed up the ball in his own half. In the 56th, Vassell just missed the corner of Steffen’s net with a curling effort from just outside the area.

In the 60th minute, the turnovers finally caught up with the Yanks. Roldan was the culprit this time and Nicholson finished the play by sending a screamer past Steffen to make it 1-0.

The United States finally fashioned a couple of excellent scoring chances as the game started to reach the later stages. Second-half sub Duane Holmes made a great play to keep an attack alive for Arriola to ultimately cross into the area. Mihahilovic couldn’t do anything with it though. Moments later, off a corner kick, Sargent sent a shot from point-blank range wide of goal off another excellent cross.

Sargent had another good chance in the 88th minute. Holmes sent a ball into the box and Sargent did well to shield it, turn, and fire. He didn’t get all of it and Blake was just able to get a hand on it to keep it out. Nick Lima then fired over the bar in the first minute of stoppage time from a decent area.

Mihailovic made a nice run up the right side at the end to create a scoring opportunity in the final minute of stoppage time, but he couldn’t find the composure in the box to finish the play. The young Chicago Fire star had a particularly rough night and that was just the icing on a really awful cake.

It wasn’t the best way to kick off Concacaf Gold Cup preparations for Berhalter’s side, which showed almost no real threat until Holmes and Joe Gyau subbed on.

The final Gold Cup tuneup will come Sunday against Venezuela at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati at 2 p.m. ET and the United States will need to be a bit more convincing.


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