Gregg Berhalter defends decision to play USMNT vs Honduras in freezing conditions – XenBet

Gregg Berhalter has defend the decision to play the United States’ World Cup qualifier against Honduras on Wednesday in Minnesota.

The temperature at Allianz Field at kick-off was a biting 5 degrees Fahrenheit – the coldest match in USMNT history.

It was cold enough to force a number of players into wearing thermal clothing on the field, while Honduras starts Luis Lopez and Romell Quioto were put out of action at half-time due to hypothermia.

Understandably, there was widespread criticism for the choice of location for the match instead of playing in some of the United States’ more favorable climates like Florida or California.

But Berhalter defended the decision, insisting it was important to maintain regularity after a cold-weather match against Canada at the weekend. He also insisted the hosts did everything they could to make Honduras feel comfortable.

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“What I would say is that we provided Honduras and their staff, and the referees, with warm weather gear, we provided them headgear [balaclavas], trying to make it a safe environment for them to play in,” said Berhalter in his post-game press conference (via MLSsoccer.com).

“When we scheduled this game in this location, you have to go by average temperatures, daily average temperature, and it was the best guess. We wanted to minimize travel. We knew we were going to be playing in cold weather in two of the games and we figured to do it in the third game as well instead of switching climates.

“A cold spell came through and it’s something we can’t control. But all we can do once that happens is try to mitigate the risk by having warm weather gear and going out there and competing, and we did that.”

At least on the pitch, the decision paid off. The USMNT completely dominated Honduras in a convincing 3-0 win, with goals from Weston McKennie, Walker Zimmerman, and Christian Pulisic getting the job done.

Of course, given the disparity in quality between the two teams, there’s an argument to be made that the USMNT could have achieved a very similar result in warmer climates.

Two Honduras players were forced off at halftime vs #USMNT last night with hypothermia ?

The temperature at kickoff was 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 Celcius). Not a good look for ??

✍️ @90min_Footballhttps://t.co/DNEcB1Yd3Z

— Chris Smith (@CJSmith91) February 3, 2022

But Berhalter doubled down, insisting the conditions were comparable to those the USMNT face when traveling to Central American countries, where temperatures can often climb to a blistering 90 degrees with suffocating humidity.

“When we go down to those countries, and it’s 90 degrees and 90% dew point and it’s unbearable humidity and guys are getting dehydrated and cramping up and getting heat exhaustion, that’s the nature of our competition,” the USMNT boss continued.

“You’re asking the question, insinuating that we’re the only ones playing in these types of conditions. Canada scheduled the game up in Hamilton, and it was in the teens. So for us, again, we’re trying to minimize travel in this window, and try to keep the weather somewhat consistent. And that was our focus. And then the third thing is we want to win our home games.”

Following their win, the USMNT remain second in the World Cup qualifying group, four points clear of Panama in the playoff spot and five clear of Costa Rica in the dead zone.

Their final three matches in the battle to reach Qatar 2022 see the United States travel to Mexico and Costa Rica in March, either side of hosting Panama.

Source of the article

Author: Heidi Porter