Former Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter faced his first setback at the helm of the United States Men’s National Team on Wednesday as the Stars & Stripes were downed 1-0 by Jamaica at the Audi Field, in Washington, D.C. The match was part of both team’s preparations for the 2019 Gold Cup.
Crew captain Wil Trapp and the team’s recently-departed goalkeeper Zack Steffen were both in Berhalter’s starting lineup against the Jamaicans. Forward Gyasi Zardes sustained a toe injury and missed the match.
Trapp had a rough night in his 16th start with the National Team. The central midfielder turned the ball over repeatedly and struggled to find an effective defensive positioning. On one of those turnovers, he forced Steffen, who was starting his ninth match for the U.S., to make a big save with his chest to stop a shot from Kevon Lambert in the 52nd minute in one of his four interventions during the match.
There was nothing the goalkeeper, who’s reportedly headed to Bundesliga’s Fortuna Dusseldorf on loan from Manchester City, could do to prevent the Jamaican goal, which was scored by Shamar Nicholson with an unstoppable long-distance finish seven minutes later. This goal came thanks to one of the many turnovers for the Americans while attempting to build out of the back.
The U.S. had a pair of decent opportunities to tie the game with Josh Sargent in the final 20 minutes, but the young striker misplaced a deflection after a cross in the 70th minute and saw Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake make a diving save to prevent the goal with just three minutes to play.
The USMNT returns to the field on Sunday, when it faces Venezuela at at Nippert Stadium, in Cincinnati, at 2 p.m. ET, on its final friendly match before Gold Cup’s debut, against Guyana, on June 18, at the Allianz Field, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is expected that the Americans will field a more full-strength lineup for the game in Cincinnati, with players such as Christian Pulisic not yet in camp.
Before that, the head coach will release his final 23-player list for the tournament. An announcement is expected for Thursday.