Gregg Berhalter was pleased with his team’s resilience and dedication to getting a positive result in the 4-0 win over Ghana on Tuesday.
After a 3-1 defeat to Germany at the weekend, the Americans bounced back with a four goal outburst in the first half that surprised and delighted the crowd in Nashville, Tennesee’s Geodis Park.
The unconventional 4-2-4 formation that Berhalter rolled out in Connecticut on Saturday made a return in Music City – this time to much more successful results as the USMNT scored in the 10′, 19′ 22′ and 39′
Berhalter made it clear that bold formations wouldn’t be the way forward for this team – but rather the way that the USMNT plays would be the indicator that US Soccer is on the right path forward.
‘I wouldn’t I wouldn’t get too carried away with formation because again, to me, it just reflects the opponent and reflects shape that we think can prevent the opponent from hurting us,’ Berhalter said in response to a question asked by MailSport.
Gregg Berhalter said the USMNT won’t hold itself to one formation as they seek ‘dynamic’ play
Tuesday night saw Gio Reyna score his first goals for the USA since June of 2021 with a brace
‘And offensive shape always looks different than that. So I don’t think we’ll get hung up on exactly what the formation looks like.
‘But I think it’s more about the combination play, the attacking play, the dynamic play that what you saw today is what we’re aspiring for.
‘Then, again, reflecting on the Germany game, we can’t concede like we did that amount of chances and that needs to continue to be a focus.
‘And today, you know, very few chances conceded. Matt had one great save to keep the shut out. That was important.’
Two of those goals came from Gio Reyna – the man making his return to the USMNT under Berhalter for the first time since Qatar. He scored twice for his country – the first goals he’s scored since June 9, 2021 in a game against Costa Rica.
‘The goal for Gio and his camp was to play him to 45 minutes and – much like [Folarin Balogun] in the last camp, we wanted to send him off on a good way,’ Berhalter explained.
‘But a lot of that has to do with the player and the player’s mindset. And I think Gio, what I’ve seen from training session number one in this camp, [showed an] extreme amount of focus and ability.
‘So when he when he plays like that, like he did this entire camp, you know, he’s certainly a guy that can help this group and it’s really good to see him respond like that.’
Folarin Balogun (20) says the team is ‘still realizing what I can add to the game’
Christian Pulisic praised the USA’s flexibility, saying they’re not ‘trying to reinvent the wheel’
A goal also came for the aforementioned Balogun: a sublime and skillful effort that saw the Monaco man receive the ball, take a turn around his marker, and then bury his chance with his weak foot.
He played particularly well this game with Sergiño Dest – who bounced back from a tough match against Germany to earn the locker room’s vote as man of the match. Balogun says that the team is still getting used to his style of play and that he offers much more than a traditional no. 9 can.
‘After the defeat against Germany, [Dest and I] spoke to each other,’ Balogun told MailSport, adding, ‘I think the boys are still realizing what I can add to the game and not all of it is in behind.
‘I’m happy to receive the ball to my feet and link up with the players around me. So I think it was able to do that this game and then as we showed Ghana are a good side, but we managed to put the game away in the first half.’
Christian Pulisic, who converted a penalty to make it a 2-0 game, said that the team’s attacking capabilities in this game showed that they’re ready to adapt to the game.
‘To put a label on exactly the formation that we play is not always easy, but I think we’re flexible. We have a lot of attacking options,’ the Milan forward said.
When asked about Berhalter’s tactical flexibility, Pulisic added, ‘I think we’ve grown a lot as a group and [it’s] not like we’re coming to the camp and, you know, trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s been similar ideas, but I think we’re I think we’re improving as a team.’