3 Takeaways from USMNT’s loss to Slovenia

Note: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links, Schneps Media may earn a commission.

It has been a little more than two months since the United States Men’s National Team was in action when Gregg Berhalter’s squad took on Trinidad and Tobago in the Concacaf Nations League on November 20th. The USMNT lost 2-1 in that match but advanced overall on aggregate by a score of 4-2. But now it is 2024, and the USMNT are back in action for the first time this year with their January Camp. In this camp, the USMNT faced off against Slovenia, as they looked to start the year on a positive note.

ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 21: A detailed view of the United States Soccer Federation crest logo is seen in the player and team tunnel in game action during an International friendly match between the United States and the Ecuador men’s national teams on March 21, 2019 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Three Takeaways from USMNT vs Slovenia

In this match, Gregg Berhalter’s side would fall to Slovenia by a score of 1-0, with a 26th-minute goal by Nejc Gradisar being all that was needed. The USMNT would start off its 2024 campaign with a loss, but there are still a few positives that could be taken away from it. Here are three takeaways we can take from the match against Slovenia!

United States’ Bryan Reynolds, right, celebrates after scoring as teammate Jesus Ferreira (9) watches during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match against St. Kitts & Nevis Wednesday, June 28, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

1. Esmir Bajraktarevic and Diego Luna have a future with the national team

Even though the USMNT did fall to Slovenia, there were still a few positive performances in the match, especially from the duo of Esmir Bajraktarevic and Diego Luna. Both of these players made their first official appearance in a competitive match for the USMNT, and their performances ensured that they would be getting more call-ups in the future. They were able to help a USA attack develop some chances to try and equalize, and Berhalter showed his delight in their performances with his post-match quote. 

“Both have a lot of individual quality, both can combine, to dribble, take players one-v-one. If you think about it, in world soccer right now it’s very difficult to find one-v-one players, so it’s nice when you see that type of quality. What we do as coaches is encourage that. All week we’ve asked them to take players on and be aggressive, combining and getting in the penalty box. So, happy with their performance. Long term, we hope these are players that continue to progress, continue to make their mark at their club teams, and perform at a high level. And then hopefully it leads to more appearances with the senior national team”

Gregg Berhalter on Esmir Bajraktarevic and Diego Luna
United States’ Brenden Aaronson, center, fights for the ball with Trinidad and Tobago’s Shannon Gomez, right, and Real Gill, left, during a CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal soccer match in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Azlan Mohammed)

2. Jack McGlynn with a good cameo

Another player who was making their senior team debut with the national team was the Philadelphia Union’s own Jack McGlynn. The 20-year-old midfielder came on in the 71st minute for the USMNT and instantly made an impact. He was able to send a nice through ball to DeJuan Jones, who was making a run towards the box. In his 29 minutes of play, McGlynn was able to create four chances, which was double the amount that any of his teammates were able to create.

Manager Gregg Berhalter talked a little about the impact that he made when coming on, saying “… and Jack McGlynn showed his passing range when he came in.” The young midfielder is going to be an important part of the Union midfield this season, and this performance shows that he will 100% have a future with the United States Men’s National Team.

Union, USMNT
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

3. Good experience for the possible Olympic team

Despite the loss, this match was a good experience for the individuals who will possibly be representing the USMNT in the 2024 Summer Olympics in France. A lot of these players made their USMNT senior debut in this match, with a total of eleven players earning their first cap.

The players who earned their first cap included the following: Josh Atencio, Bernard Kamungo, Diego Luna, Patrick Schulte, Timothy Tillman, Brian White, Sean Zawadzki, Jack McGlynn, Esmir Bajraktarevic, Duncan McGuire, and AZ Jackson. It was a valuable experience for these players, which manager Gregg Berhalter spoke post-match about. 

“Specifically with the Olympic guys, we knew that they were playing senior internationals and we wanted to give them that experience and also see how they would do… So all in all, for them to experience what it is like to play at full senior level is valuable, and I think it’s going to help them as they move forward with the Olympic group”

Gregg Berhalter on the valuable experience for the young players
Union, USMNT
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Be sure to return to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union and other soccer content!

Follow our Union team on Twitter:

Tim Lovenguth | Justin Friedberg | Jimmy King
Eric Frysinger | Paul Frenzel | Liam Jenkins
Zach LoBasso | Steve Beavon | Griffin Foll

Doop on Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire, AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, AP Photo/Azlan Mohammed, & Philadelphia Union.