USMNT eliminated from Copa America after 1-0 loss to Uruguay

Panama also beat Bolivia, which further hurt the U.S.

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The U.S. men's national team has been stunned.

Following a 1-0 loss to Uruguay on Monday, the USMNT was eliminated from the 2024 Copa America in the group stage.

It marks an indefensible exit with the U.S. also being in a group alongside Panama and Bolivia. Panama beat Bolivia 3-1 in their final group matchup, meaning the U.S. needed to beat Uruguay and maintain the goal-differential advantage. But it didn't score once.

Gregg Berhalter opted to start Christian Pulisic at right wing with Tim Weah suspended, while Gio Reyna played off the left that allowed Yunus Musah to start. The opening 15 minutes featured intense physicality with the U.S. doing well to limit Uruguay's typical fast starts and creating chances of its own.

But the U.S. couldn't find the opener during that spell, and things worsened when Folarin Balogun had to be replaced in the 41st minute due to an injury. He had taken several fouls and eventually couldn't continue, with Ricardo Pepi stepping in.

The biggest story from the first half, besides the camera angle, involved the referee. Kevin Ortega of Peru drew intense criticism for his lack of prowess. He didn't set the tone with cards after hard fouls and also issued controversial cards.

His most perplexing moment involved letting play continue in Uruguay's favor despite issuing a card to Chris Richards at the same time. Uruguay could've scored, but Tim Ream made a vital clearance. He also stopped advantage for the U.S. when Pulisic had an open lane down the right flank, calling a handball on Uruguay even though Pulisic was through.

Things ended 0-0 at the break, with the U.S. generating just 0.01 expected goals, via FotMob, despite its early momentum. Uruguay had 0.62 with one big chance missed.

The second half started rather slow until the 65th minute. That's when Mathias Olivera opened the scoring after capitalizing on a Matt Turner parry. Upon review, Olivera appeared to be in an offside position but the following VAR check let it stand.

Berhalter then emptied the bench with his strikers, bringing on Josh Sargent and Haji Wright for Musah and Joe Scally. Malik Tillman also came in later for Tim Ream, but to no avail.

The last time the U.S. competed in the Copa America was in 2016, when it finished in fourth place after losing to Argentina 4-0 in the semifinals before falling to Colombia 1-0 in the third-place game.

Things started well when the U.S. beat Bolivia 2-0 in the opener, but an early Weah red card against Panama saw the team eventually falter 2-1, leading to the decisive Uruguay game.

The U.S. wasn't the only early stunning exit, however, as fellow Concacaf side Mexico also failed to advance from a group that featured Venezuela, Ecuador and Jamaica. Mexico finished third, with the group finishing in that order.

This tournament was Berhalter's first major one since his controversial re-hire in June of 2023. The U.S. Soccer Federation hoped Berhalter could take the team to new heights, especially ahead of the 2026 World Cup that will be hosted on home soil.

But not much as changed since. Berhalter has struggled to lead the U.S. to wins over top teams, with most successes coming over smaller sides. This is the most quality the U.S. has ever had, and it's undoubtedly a failure not to advance past the Copa America group.

There will be plenty of questions about Berhalter's future, but it's not clear what the future holds for the team in its most important cycle.

USMNT legend Tim Howard discusses if Gregg Berhalter is the right coach to lead the United States men's national soccer team.
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