USMNT reaction: Pulisic, Berhalter disappointed after Canada draw

Star winger Christian Pulisic and head coach Gregg Berhalter have spoken following the USMNT’s 1-1 draw with Canada in 2022 World Cup qualifying on Sunday.

[ MORE: USMNT World Cup qualifying schedule ]

Below is full reaction from Pulisic and Berhalter, as they spoke to the media on Sunday…

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USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter, on two points from the first two games of World Cup qualifying…

“We’re disappointed. I think disappointed with the performance, particularly tonight. I think the effort was good — the effort was outstanding — but the performance wasn’t up to what we expect. … Looking at this and keeping it in perspective, we knew it was going to be a difficult road. We knew there were going to be tough games, and we’re getting into it.

“We’re finding out that they are tough games, and that’s something we have to deal with. Our success is going to depend on how we’re able to deal with that as a team.”

Berhalter, on the violation of team rules for which USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie was suspended…

“Regarding Weston, it was a team policy and I’m not going to get into specifics on it. … I can’t speak for Weston, you would have to ask him, but I’m sure he is [disappointed with himself]. I know he wanted to be out there with the boys today.”

Will he be back for the next game? “That remains to be seen.”

Berhalter, on Pulisic’s performance in his first game back after a positive COVID-19 test result…

“I think Christian did a good job that he got himself back to where he could compete for 90 minutes. I think that was the most important thing, that he hasn’t played soccer in a while. He didn’t travel to El Salvador, he’s doing individual training, so to step into a match and give that type of effort, I think says a lot about him and who he is.”

Berhalter, on Canada’s defensive set-up…

“It was a really compact 5-4-1, sometimes changing to a 4-1-3-2, and it was tough to break down, man — it really was. We needed much faster ball movement. Everyone can see from the outside, [we] took way too long on the ball, allowing Canada to shift and not playing behind them enough.

“We have to work on that. We have to figure out ways to break down a compact defense, because I’m sure there’s going to be other teams that come to the United States and do the same thing.”

Berhalter, on waiting until the 83rd minute to make his first tactical substitutions of the game…

“With substitutes, we’re looking for who’s not performing up to standard — who’s off the game? — and we felt with our attacking players, Jordan [Pefok] was still being somewhat effective with his physicality, giving them problems. Brenden [Aaronson] was, I thought, one of our better players today with his tenacity and his counter-pressing.

“And then, thinking about who we could bring on. We need a goal late in the game, and I can understand how it looks like we should have acted quicker. 100 percent. In this situation, we were looking at the performances of the guys and trying to figure out who we’re going to take off the field.”

Berhalter, on Sergiño Dest’s status after suffering an ankle injury just before halftime…

“Sergiño has an ankle sprain and we’re going to have to find out if he’ll be available on Wednesday.”

USMNT winger Christian Pulisic, on two points from the first two games of World Cup qualifying…

“Obviously it’s not exactly where we want to be, but we have a lot of games left to play. It’s not time to put our heads down, we’ve got one more [game] in this window, and we just have to keep going. … I think we were on the front foot for most of the game. Canada defended well, but we just need to find different solutions.”

Pulisic, on the USMNT struggling to create scoring chances…

“I think we need new ideas at times. Today, I just think we didn’t test them enough. It felt like we couldn’t break them down, obviously they defended well. We just need some new solutions. Obviously it wasn’t good enough.”

“We had a lot of time on the ball. Obviously they defended very deep for most of the game, so it’s natural that we’re swinging the ball around in the back-four. At times, we couldn’t go from side to side quickly enough and make them run enough. Everything was just a touch too slow today.”

Pulisic, on not traveling to El Salvador before rejoining the USMNT to face Canada…

“Obviously it was tough for me. I wanted to be part of the team, but I wasn’t 100 percent ready yet. We made the decision to play today, and I felt pretty good and it’s good to be back with the team. I just want to be here to help in whatever way I can.”

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USMNT reaction: Pulisic, Berhalter disappointed after Canada draw originally appeared on NBCSports.com