The United States Men’s National Team hosted Venezuela in Cincinnati as its last friendly before the Gold Cup begins next weekend. Unfortunately, the United States came out flat as can be Sunday and Los Angeles Football Club’s Walker Zimmerman was subbed on to start the second half down 3-0 for his third senior appearance.
With a porous defense and no success of their own in the attacking third just days after suffering a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Jamaica, head coach Gregg Berhalter made a change at the striker and center back positions at halftime. Along with Jozy Altidore replacing Gyasi Zardes up top, Zimmerman replaced Aaron Long.
46' | #USMNT Subs:— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) June 9, 2019
Jozy Altidore & Walker Zimmerman
Aaron Long & Gyasi Zardes
Zimmerman did not waste time getting involved as he delivered a sturdy tackle from behind just three minutes into the half and earned the U.S.’s second yellow card.
The United States seemed to find its footing to begin the half since Venezuela did not find nearly as many scoring opportunities as they did in the first half. There were only a handful of possessions that reached Venezuela’s attacking third and all were dealt with before Zimmerman became directly involved.
But by the 72nd minute, Venezuela began a counterattack with the U.S. slightly outnumbered trying to get back. Darwin Machis had a one-on-one just inside the left side of the box. He sent a low ball across the box and Zimmerman cleared the ball safely without pressure.
All in all, Zimmerman did not have to deal with nearly as many problems as the back line had to in the first half. Most of his involvement was as a secondary defender and Venezuela’s attacks were broken up before they really became dangerous.
Having stopped the bleeding in the second half, perhaps this appearance can be a catalyst for Zimmerman to earn more time and build chemistry with fellow center back Matt Miazga who seems to have that position locked up.
The other LAFC player on the USMNT roster, goalkeeper Tyler Miller, was an unused substitute in the match.
The USMNT open their Gold Cup slate on June 18 against Guyana in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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