USMNT Disappoints with 1-0 Loss to Slovenia in Early 2024 Match: Key Takeaways and Players’ Performances

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The U.S. men’s national team started 2024 with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Slovenia in a soccer match. Despite controlling 69% of the possession and outshooting their opponents 15-9, the U.S. team failed to score, allowing Slovenia’s Nejc Gradišar to secure the lone goal. It was a frustrating outcome for the U.S. side, who played with a roster of players who have minimal chances of being regulars in the first-choice lineup.

The U.S. team followed the preferred style of coach Berhalter, focusing on possession but struggling to create scoring opportunities. One noteworthy difference was the absence of a traditional No. 10 player, like Gio Reyna, who has recently filled that role for the team. Instead, the U.S. opted for three central midfielders in a 4-3-3 formation. Diego Luna played as an inverted left winger, given the freedom to drift inside and create chances, but he did not strictly play as a No. 10.

One disappointment was the lack of Olympic-eligible players in the starting XI. While five starters were eligible for the Olympics, other promising players like Duncan McGuire, John Tolkin, and Jack McGlynn were left on the bench. Despite the disappointing performance, it’s important to note that only a few players from the regular U.S. team were present in this match.

Moving onto individual performances, DeJuan Jones showcased his versatility by starting as a left back and later switching to right back. He displayed consistent performance and met the physical demands of a fullback in Berhalter’s system. However, his chances of making the Olympic squad seem slim due to strong competition in the fullback positions.

Esmir Bajraktarevic made an immediate impact when he entered the match during the second half. He fearlessly took on opponents and added an attacking spark to Berhalter’s side. His strong performance increased his chances of making the Olympic squad.

Bernard Kamungo also had a positive influence on the U.S. team before being substituted for Bajraktarevic. He showed energy and dynamism, although his efforts did not result in a goal. Kamungo’s qualities make him a valuable asset as an impact substitute if selected for the Olympic squad.

On the other hand, Shaq Moore, who has struggled in recent matches, failed to impress in the limited minutes he played. With several right back options available, including Sergiño Dest and DeAndre Yedlin, it is unlikely that Moore will be included in the team for the near future.

Meanwhile, Tim Tillman, who recently switched his national allegiance to the U.S., had an underwhelming debut and is not eligible for the Olympics due to his age. As a 25-year-old, Tillman is unlikely to be considered for the Copa America.

Brian White, another overage player on the U.S. team, faced challenges in making a significant impact due to a lack of service from his teammates.

Overall, the U.S. men’s national team had a disappointing start to 2024, but it is worth noting that the match included many players who are not regulars in the team. The performance of certain individuals may have influenced their chances of selection for future tournaments, both positively and negatively.