USMNT player Antonee Robinson admits the team ‘needs to be a bit more ruthless’ ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio.
Robinson analyzed the team’s tactics after the 1-0 defeat to Panama on Sunday pushed them back to second place on the table, behind North American rivals Mexico.
The left back noted a lack of early goals as a key component the USMNT must improve upon before discussing the attack as a whole.
“I don’t know whether it’s something everyone else thinks, but it’s something I noticed myself that we don’t seem to score early,” said Robinson on Tuesday.
“I’m not sure there’s much we can change for that going ahead. I think it’s just a testament to [the fact] that we build in confidence in games and maybe going forward, that just means that we need to be a bit more ruthless.”
“We respect our opponents, but we need to realize how good a team we are at the same time and maybe not be so conservative when we know we’ve got the quality to go and attack teams at full strength early on.
“At the same time, we’re going to have to be very focused so that we don’t concede because they’re going to obviously have threats going forward and in a World Cup qualifier, anything can happen. So as long as we stick to our game, and we’re on the front foot, I feel confident we can go and win.”
Head coach Gregg Berhalter echoed the defenders sentiment, adding that the team needs to add ‘intensity’ to get the result necessary.
“When I look at some of these games, I think we created chances in the first half, we didn’t always score them. And all of these games are tight. That’s the first thing that we need to understand,” said the coach.
“Look at the scorelines across the board of all these Octagonal games. They’re one-goal games, they’re super tight games, save for the Mexico game that Honduras got a red card early in the game. These are tight games, man, they’re not going to be blowouts. And for us it’s about the key moments in the game, about staying focused, it’s about bringing that intensity.”
Wednesday’s match against Costa Rica concludes the October round of qualifiers for the United States before they face Mexico and Jamaica in November.
The top three teams on the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table will progress directly into the international tournament, while the fourth challenges for a spot.