U.S. Soccer director backs Berhalter: 'There's been progress' for USMNT
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Gregg Berhalter appears safe in his role as manager of the United States men's national team, regardless of the results in upcoming Nations League tilts against Canada and Cuba.

There's growing fan disenchantment with the former Columbus Crew handler following some recent poor outings, including a 3-0 friendly defeat to Mexico and a humbling 2-0 loss to Canada in the Nations League.

However, when U.S. Soccer Federation sporting director Earnie Stewart was asked whether Berhalter's job is safe during Tuesday's conference call involving ESPN's Jeff Carlisle, he replied: "We're looking at the future, so yeah. When I evaluate Gregg and the coaching staff, and what I've seen today, I'm a pleased man. An individual result is not going to change that."

Stewart said last month's performance against Canada fell below expectations, but he's seen enough to be confident Berhalter is the right man to oversee the USMNT.

"I do think there's been progress, I really do," he continued.

"What we've seen in the Gold Cup is that in CONCACAF we have a really good level, and that we can play the game we want to play. Getting to a place where we can do that over 90 minutes, that's the place we need to get to.

"That progression is there, except against teams like a very good team in Mexico and a very good team like Uruguay, it becomes a little bit more difficult."

Berhalter perhaps made his life tough by being open about a desire to move the USMNT toward an attractive, possession-based playing style.

The subsequent struggles with playing out of the back and maintaining control in midfield have led to accusations the team simply lacks the technical ability to satisfy Berhalter's plans, or that the international calendar doesn't allow the time to successfully implement his desired approach.

Despite these issues, Stewart thinks Berhalter's tactical blueprint is the right one, and he doesn't foresee any obstacles bringing down the USMNT in its bid to reach Qatar in 2022.

"Our players showed that they can perform at a really, really high level. The question is not so much, can these players do that, because they've already shown that they can," Stewart said.

"What I would say is we need to do that over 90 minutes, and that's something that we're constantly talking about. How can we get there? How can we progress to have enough players to keep that and maintain that for 90 minutes."

"I have no fear that we're not going to qualify for the World Cup. I'm very, very confident about that," he added.

U.S. Soccer director backs Berhalter: 'There's been progress' for USMNT
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