After what turned out to be a disastrous run-out against Canada over the weekend, regardless of Gregg Berhalter’s assurances that the USA dominated our northern neighbors, starting American center-back Miles Robinson reflected on the game.
The Atlanta United man was the focus on the first goal as fingers pointed at him for being at least partially responsible for the Canucks taking a seventh-minute lead. Beşiktaş forward Cyle Larin played a 1-2 with teammate Jonathan David of Lille after a Matt Turner goal kick came right back at him and into his net.
“I decided to stay tight with him,” the 24-year-old said of the play. “It was obviously a split second decision but I felt comfortable making that movement.”
“Then the 1-2 got through us and we collided [where] he tripped me up just a bit, but then he got the best of us for that few seconds.”
With factors such as a frigid Canadian day on an artificial surface playing a major role in the overall gameplay, Robinson felt that the team was prepared. However, in the end, what matters is scoring at least one more goal than your opponents, and the Maple Leafs doubled that.
“Obviously the talent that they have and the quality that they have [meant that] it’s just up to us to be ready at every moment.”
“They’re a scrappy team; a physical team but I thought we fought well,” he continued. “We won most of our duels. We were playing in their half most of the game. Its just a matter of a few moments that can change a game.”
Three points dropped could have really hurt the USMNT with Mexico ready to pounce and take over the second spot, however luck was on the Americans’ side. At the Azteca, where Mexico is usually greedy and few teams leave there with any points, a valiant Costa Rican side put in a formidable performance and held them to a 0-0 result, thereby denying El Tri the chance to take over second place in the qualifying group.
Before going into tonight’s game against Honduras, the USA is still clinging onto that second spot, but equal on points with third place Mexico, while Panama is right on their heels in fourth and just a point behind.
Robinson stated that he and the rest of the team have to reflect on the game and ask themselves what they can do better in the future.
“We’ll definitely learn from every aspect of this game, and continue to grow.”
With the tight schedule and the three qualifiers coming just days apart, the busy schedule doesn’t give the team much time to grow or reflect on the next game because it’s immediately back to business.
“You can learn from every game that you play, especially games like this where you don’t come out on top. It’s up to us to get over it, take a step beyond it and just brush it off because we have an even bigger game coming up.”
“It’s up to us to perform well. So we’re definitely locked in on this game in Minnesota against Honduras.”
Los Catrachos are so far without a win in this qualifying group and sit in last place, but if Berhalter thinks that the Hondurans are not capable of winning a game, his USMNT may become their first victims. An American victory is even more crucial with the third- and fourth-place teams (Mexico and Panama) going head to head. A game ending in a tie could see the USA potentially fall into fourth place.
Robinson said it best when he insisted that “we just have to focus in on Honduras at this point.”
The game will get underway tonight at 6:30 p.m. East Coast time.