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Do the U.S. and Mexico care about the Gold Cup anymore?

Gold Cup
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Hodgepodge U.S. poor top to bottom in sorry loss to Jamaica

A long-distance strike from Shamar Nicholson and a goalkeeping masterclass from Andre Blake propelled Jamaica past a youthful USMNT in D.C.

A hodgepodge group of players, one of them ineligible to play in the coming Gold Cup tournament, bumbled their way through a 1-0 United States loss to Jamaica on Wednesday at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. Nominally a Gold Cup warm-up, the game was mostly an audition for the last few roster spots.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter chose a fully experimental group and rolled out a formation that was a sharp departure from the U.S. setup in his first four games in charge before reverting to his preferred system with a half-hour to go. The Americans struggled in both formations.

Positives

Finding positives is difficult, both because of the result and because of the makeup of the team. If there is one, it's the experience gained by a handful of younger faces and the chance for Berhalter to see them on the field in an international setting. The introduction of Duane Holmes to the team was a late boost, though the Derby County man couldn't save the Americans from the loss.

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Negatives

Many. The Americans' edge in possession never resulted in any real danger in front of goal, and a disconnected midfield allowed the Jamaicans to quickly build into the game. Individual performances were mostly bad across the board, and any confidence fostered by Berhalter during the early part of 2019 took a hit with a loss to a middling CONCACAF team.

Manager rating out of 10

3 -- It's tempting to give Berhalter a "question mark" for his rating, if only because his motivations play such a large part in divining the context of his choices. He started a player in Jackson Yueill who isn't eligible for the Gold Cup (he was not on the 40-man provisional roster) and used a formation (a 5-4-1) that he hadn't previously deployed. The loss is a black mark, even if it was a friendly, for the aforementioned damage it will do to the team's confidence.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Zack Steffen, 4 -- Had a horrible giveaway in the first half that put the U.S. under pressure. Made several comfortable saves but was unable to do anything on the Jamaica goal.

DF Paul Arriola, 4 -- Committed no egregious errors deployed as a wing-back but failed to create any real danger in attack. Defended well at times.

DF Matt Miazga, 4 -- Perhaps the most capable of the group that started as a back three without excelling in any particular area. Unable to connect passes on the ground as was desperately needed.

DF Omar Gonzalez, 4 -- Strong in the air. Occasionally victimized by Jamaica's speed and forced to scramble back to recover. Settled for long balls when passing lanes proved unavailable or too difficult.

DF Tim Ream, 4 -- Part of a backline that looked disjointed and uncomfortable from the outset. Bailed out by a missed header over the bar when beaten in the air in the first half.

DF Antonee Robinson, 2 -- Ugly night all-around. Poor first touch. No ideas up the field beyond a series of inaccurate crosses. Looked uncomfortable and unsure.

MF Wil Trapp, 3 -- Gifted Jamaica the ball in the defensive third more than once, leading to a chance for the opposition. Passed competently but lacked the aggressiveness needed.

MF Jackson Yueill, 4 -- A relatively calm presence in the middle of the field and the most accurate passer for the Americans through an hour of play, in part because of an inability or unwillingness to play the ball forward.

MF Cristian Roldan, 5 -- The most active and aggressive of the American front four without any end product. Had good ideas that didn't come off, largely an indictment of his teammates.

MF Djordje Mihailovic, 3 -- Missed passes all night when attempting to play behind the Jamaican back line from his playmaker position. Unable to convert the best American chance of the game on a breakaway with time winding down.

FW Josh Sargent, 4 -- Looked lost with positioning. Limited touches. Had scuffed shot saved by a diving Andre Blake with the Americans chasing the game late.

Substitutes

MF Jonathan Amon, 5 -- Added energy and directness that helped the U.S. create danger in the final half-hour.

DF Nick Lima, 4 -- Clearly not comfortable in the hybrid right-back role. Popped up late with a chance to shoot but put the ball well over Jamaica's net.

MF Duane Holmes, NR -- Strong showing in a little more than 25 minutes. The only American willing to attack pockets of space in front of the Jamaican back line.

FW Joe Gyau, NR -- Got a handful of touches as a late sub.

DF Cameron Carter-Vickers, NR -- Bullied off the ball too easily. Missed a single pass in 18 minutes.

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