FOOTBALL: Sloppy play helps Venezuela to 3-0 win over dreary U.S. men in Cincinnati

Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon scored twice vs. the U.S. in Cincinnati

Another terrible defensive performance gave visiting Venezuela opportunities that they didn’t miss, rolling to a 3-0 lead in the first half of a friendly in Cincinnati, Ohio and finishing with that score.

After an encouraging start, the U.S. defense fell apart:

● In the 16th minute, an errant clearance by U.S. keeper Zach Steffen turned the ball over to Venezuela just beyond the top of the box and a pass to Salomon Rondon created an easy goal as Steffen was out of position to defend the right-footed kick.

● In the 30th minute, Jefferson Savarino stole the ball, smashed a shot that hit the left post, caromed in front of the U.S. goal and he was in perfect position to rocket the rebound past Steffen for a 2-0 lead.

● In the 36th minute, a long lead pass found Rondon with space against the U.S. back line and he danced around Aaron Long for a left-footed shot that beat Steffen at the left corner of the goal.

Despite having 53% of the possession and an 8-6 edge in shots, the U.S. was three goals down at half. Fox analyst Stu Holden said “This is hard to watch if you’re a U.S. fan” and U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter was blunt at halftime, saying “We gave up three bad goals.”

The second half was better, primarily due to the presence – for the first time since 2017 – of Jozy Altidore at striker and while the U.S. had some good chances, none of them went in.

The U.S. ended the game with a 13-9 edge in shots and 50% of the possession, but it didn’t help. It was the second straight shutout for the American side and with the last goal coming at the four-minute mark vs. Chile on 26 March, it’s been more than 266 minutes since the U.S. scored.

Next up is the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which starts on 15 June; the first U.S. game will be on 18 June vs. Guyana in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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