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USA vs. Venezuela: Final Score 3-0 as the Yanks Stumble into Gold Cup with Another Loss

The USMNT looked uninspired, unmotivated, and second-best against La Vinotinto.

Venezuela v United States Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team lost 3-0 to Venezuela in the Americans’ last game before the Gold Cup. It was the first time the Yanks played in Cincinnati, and the U.S. was second best all game at Nippert Stadium.

The first half was all Venezuela. The U.S. had a few good moments in the half, but only had one good opportunity on net from Weston McKennie. La Vinotinto were the better team and capitalized on their opportunities.

Venezuela opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Zack Steffen sent a back pass right down the middle of the field. Venezuela put a little pressure on the ‘keeper, but he had options out wide. Yangel Herrera was first to the ball and passed it off to Jhon Murillo. Murillo was offside, but it was not called, and he laid the ball off to a wide open Salomón Rondón for the opening goal.

Venezuela doubled its lead in the 30th minute, and Jefferson Savarino did all the work. Savarino hit the post and then was first to react. He pounced on the rebound and passed it into the back of the net.

McKennie’s chance came after the second goal of the match. La Vinotinto defended a cross, but the ball fell to McKennie. The young midfielder hit the ball first time off the volley. Venezuelan ‘keeper Wuilker Fariñez somehow got down to make the save, and the ball rolled across the goal line before going out for a corner.

It got even worse minutes later. Rondón started his run from his own half and went straight past the entire U.S. defense to get onto a long ball. Aaron Long caught up and slowed Rondón down, but the forward put on some moves and sent the ball whizzing past Steffen for his brace.

The U.S. went into halftime trailing 3-0, and it could have been worse. The Yanks had more possession (53%), shots (8-3), and corners (7-0), but struggled in the attacking end. Venezuela took advantage of the Americans’ mistakes and was the better team.

Jozy Altidore and Walker Zimmerman came on at the start of the second half, and Altidore quickly showed that he is the best forward for Gregg Berhalter. The forward did well in possession, and the U.S. finally started to look threatening.

Still, the Yanks could not find the back of the net. Venezuela did well defending for the majority of the second half, but the U.S. had its chances. However, a combination of poor play in the final third and excellent goalkeeping from Fariñez kept the Yanks off the board.

The last 45 minutes were played mostly in the middle of the field. The Yanks held possession better, but La Vinotinto held their shape well.

The U.S. finally broke the Venezuelan defense in the 68th minute. Nick Lima put a perfect cross into the box. The ball fell to Duane Holmes, but he whiffed on it. Luckily, Paul Arriola was at the back post. Unluckily, he skied it over the bar.

The play that defined the USMNT’s night came in the 78th minute. An excellent ball in fell to Arriola on the back post. Jordan Morris was off balance after missing the header, and Morris blocked Arriola’s header that would have ended up in the back of the net.

Fariñez came up with another save minutes later. Cristian Roldan sent in a cross that was just a little too high for Altidore. Arriola came flying in, but Fariñez denied him again. Arriola hit the goalkeeper squarely on another good opportunity and Morris sent a shot just wide from inside the area to end a frustrating night for the U.S.

The match ended with the U.S. second best. Berhalter lost his first back-to-back games of his international career. The U.S. looks like it needs Michael Bradley, Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, and Altidore in the game to be somewhat competitive.

Possession was a perfect 50/50 split, but the U.S. looked more comfortable on the ball in the second half. An issue moving forward is set pieces. The Yanks had 10 corners, and couldn’t find the back of the net on any of them.

The United States will enter Gold Cup play on June 18 against Guyana at Allianz Field in St. Paul, MN. Game time is 10 p.m. ET on FS1 and UniMas.