Gregg Berhalter warns USMNT against complacency in 'massive' Jamaica match

Lizzy Becherano
It's another big night for the USMNT
It's another big night for the USMNT / Omar Vega/GettyImages

Gregg Berhalter says the United States men’s national team is ready to put their 2-0 triumph against Mexico behind them as they face Jamaica on Tuesday night in their latest World Cup qualifier. 

The USMNT enters the game as leaders of the Concacaf table with 14 points in seven games, narrowly edging out Mexico on goal difference. Despite their position, head coach Berhalter has warned the squad against complacency. 

“Something I said to the team before the Mexico game was ‘Yeah, we want to beat Mexico, it's important, but we have bigger things to focus on'. That's a game that's going to get us to our destination, just like Jamaica is a game that's going to get us to the destination. 

"And you have to put just as much energy into both of these games," he continued. "For us, our big picture is qualifying for this World Cup, and all Mexico does is put us closer. But the Jamaica game can put us even closer to qualifying. So for us, it's a massive game.”

The United States last confronted Jamaica on October 7, where FC Dallas player Ricardo Pepi scored the only two goals of the night to seal the victory for the US side. 

During that game, however, the Reggae Boyz were without their two strongest players in Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey and West Ham striker Michail Antonio. The two Premier League athletes are expected on the pitch for Tuesday’s match. 

“We expect [Michail] Antonio to be in, and Leon Bailey, and they didn't play against us last time, they didn’t play against us in the Gold Cup either. And it's just preparing for them,” Berhalter added. 

“Mexico had really high-level attacking quality, so does Jamaica, and we have to be prepared for that. The rest of the team we’re projecting to be pretty similar to what we've been facing. And then it's also a matter of what we can do and how we can pull them apart, how we can get behind them.”

Jamaica will not be subtle during Tuesday's match as they are desperate for a win. They stand in sixth place on the Concacaf table with six points in seven games. To keep their World Cup hopes alive, the Caribbean nation must earn a win against their visitors.

Berhalter ended the pre-match press conference with reporters by reiterating the importance of a victory. 

“Everyone's getting focused now on the Jamaica game. And we know it's different circumstances, but our job is to bring a similar type of intensity into this game," he said.