Gregg Berhalter believes the United States were given the sort of physical test they can expect in World Cup qualifying by Uruguay on Tuesday.
USA failed to qualify from the CONCACAF section for Russia 2018 but are rebuilding under Berhalter ahead of the next cycle.
Days on from a humbling 3-0 defeat to rivals Mexico, USA held Uruguay to a 1-1 draw – equalising through Jordan Morris after Brian Rodriguez’s opener – and Berhalter was impressed by his team’s spirit.
The coach suggested the Uruguay match in St Louis, where the hosts bossed 60 per cent of possession, would ultimately prove more useful than the clash with Mexico.
“We just played two different teams with two very important challenges,” Berhalter told a news conference.
“Against CONCACAF teams, we will play teams that are very compact [like Uruguay]. We have to understand how to break those teams down. Mexico were a totally different challenge.
#USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter:
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) September 11, 2019
“Mexico are a high-pressing, active team in front of a loud, boisterous crowd. Mexico presented us with good challenges but also good learning opportunities.
“We talked about how this opponent [Uruguay] were going to be compact and be physical. I think the team did a great job on set-pieces.
“More importantly, it was about the tenacity of our guys and the relentlessness of our guys to hang in there and keep battling. We did a good job, particularly in the first half, of keeping our structure.”
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