US Soccer Federation’s response to Copa América exit doesn’t bode well for coach Gregg Berhalter

 

The United States’ departure from Copa América after losing to Uruguay on Monday night sparked questions about the future of the men’s national soccer team. 

Those arguments mostly swirled around whether head coach Gregg Berhalter should return ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by the U.S. alongside Canada and Mexico. 

The U.S. Soccer Federation’s response to the 1-0 loss at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City fans the flames of those questions even more, as they are clearly not happy getting knocked out before the group stages ended. 

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“Our tournament performance fell short of our expectations,” U.S. Soccer Federation sporting director Matt Crocker said in a statement. “We must do better. We will be conducting a comprehensive review of our performance in Copa America and how best to improve the team and results as we look towards the 2026 World Cup.”

No player or coach wants to see their organization talk about a “comprehensive review,” as it means everything will be analyzed with a fine-tooth comb. And some believe Berhalter was already on the hot seat before Copa América play began. 

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While Copa América is only a 16-team tournament featuring teams from North and South America, the USMNT was expected to at least make it out of Group C. They needed to just be among the top two of Panama, Bolivia and Uruguay. 

However, despite a 2-0 victory over Bolivia to kick off the tournament, the USMNT fell to Panama in a surprising 2-1 loss, which was highlighted by Tim Weah receiving a red card in the 18th minute and goalkeeper Matt Turner suffered a leg injury in the first half, rendering him obsolete for the second. 

So, while the U.S. went into Monday night’s game against Uruguay with various scenarios of making the knockout stage, the easiest way to do so was defeating Uruguay instead of worrying about the result of the Bolivia-Panama game. 

The result was the exact opposite of what Berhalter and the USMNT wanted — losing to Uruguay and seeing Panama beat Bolivia 3-1. Uruguay finished first after winning all three of its group stage games, and Panama came in second in Group C. 

Berhalter’s status as head coach, though, started to get questioned when the U.S. lost to the Netherlands in the Round of 16 during the 2022 World Cup. He infamously kept Gio Reyna, a rising star for the U.S., on the bench throughout most of the tournament, which caused a rift between the two. 

Reyna started all three matches for the U.S. during Copa América play. 

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Now, looking ahead to 2026, everyone will be looking to see what the U.S. Soccer Federation finds during that comprehensive review because, as of now, it doesn’t bode well for Berhalter. 

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