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.