Gregg Berhalter learned that he has a long way to go until his team is World Cup ready as several defensive miscues saw the U.S. men’s national team go down in defeat to Germany at Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Connecticut, on Saturday.
Following two wins last month in his return to the sideline, Berhalter once again relied on his trusty 4-3-3 formation. It was the usual suspects in the starting eleven with the exception of a few players. Joe Scally got the start at right-back while Sergino Dest was on the left in the absence of Antonee Robinson who was ruled out of this month’s friendlies due to injury. Gio Reyna played in his first game for the team since the Concacaf Nations League over the summer.
The opening minutes of the game saw both sides try to feel each other out. Then, 11 minutes into the contest, Germany had a near miss when a shot from Pascal Gross beat U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner, but not the woodwork as the ball ricocheted off the frame into the waiting hands of the Nottingham Forest man. About 15 minutes later, the Americans were pleading for a penalty when it was thought Christian Pulisc was tripped up in the area as he was chasing after the ball in the 18-yard box.
The hosts broke the scoreless deadlock in the 27th minute when Folarin Balogun supplied the ball to Pulisic, allowing him to attack the German backline. A few dribbles here and a sidestep there saw the No. 10 unleash a curling shot from distance that left goalkeeper Andre ter Stegen rooted to his spot.
Germany was looking to make an impression under their new coach Julian Nagelsmann following their recent struggles. And they did just that as they showed the mettle to level the score in the 39th minute. It was Leroy Sane’s turn to attack the U.S. backline as he looked for an opening pass to a teammate. Turner came out to stop the threat, but Ilkay Gundogan was there to tap the ball home.
Die Mannschaft took over the game as both sides came out for the second half when they took the lead in the 58th minute. Build-up play saw Robin Gosens receive the ball at the edge of the 18-yard box. Without hesitation, the midfielder’s one-touch pass found Niclas Fullkrug in the center, allowing him to slot his shot past Turner.
The Germans further exposed the U.S. backline when they added a third goal two minutes later. Jamal Musiala’s dazzling dribbling had the American defenders off balance as he tried to find a way into the area. A deflection off Tim Ream’s leg saw the ball end up with Fullkrug before he sent a low pass to Musiala to put away with a sliding finish.
A rough outing for the Americans on the day as Berhalter will need to go back to the drawing board to improve the defensive lapses.
The U.S. now heads to Nashville, Tennessee, where they will face Ghana on Tuesday to finish out this month’s round of friendlies.