U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter believes his side can lift the 2021 Gold Cup after qualifying to the final with a last minute goal by Gyasi Zardes against Qatar.
Following the 1-0 victory over Qatar, Berhalter admitted the road to the finals has not been an easy one for the American team. The USMNT narrowly emerged as leaders of Group B before defeating Jamaica and Qatar with one goal each but Berhalter maintains they have the potential to overpower reigning champions Mexico on Sunday.
“It’s not always going to be pretty,” Berhalter said. “This game had similarities to the Canada game at times and then maybe not with the possession but, when things just weren’t going our way, we battled back and I think that’s impressive.
“We’re not done, and that’s what the message to the team is. It’s nice to make the final but we want to win the final, and our number one goal is to win the Gold Cup. We said that before the Gold Cup and we’ll say it again.”
The USMNT roster is composed of younger players, with veterans Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic with their respective teams to commence pre-season. Despite the age and lack of experience, Berhalter has praised certain figures for stepping up to the challenge.
Sporting Kansas City player Gianluca Busio has found the spotlight during this tournament, collaborating with Sebastian Lletget to find the net and flourish a game-winning partnership.
“I’ve been impressed with how close this group is together,” Berhalter said. “It’s guys that are just acknowledging each other’s performances, calling each other out for good plays, saying they need to pick it up when it’s not good enough.
“There’s a lot of accountability in this team, and I think anytime you have that you have a group that’s going to dig and is going to fight.”
The American side will face Mexico on Sunday for their second consecutive tournament final against Concacaf rivals this summer. The USMNT will look to get revenge against the current Gold Cup reigning champions after losing the 2019 1-0.