The U.S. enters the Goal Cup with an unproven goalkeeper for the first time in three decades, and it showed on Sunday.
A bad decision by Zack Steffen, who was in goal for the second straight game, set up Venezuela’s first score. His careless pass went directly to Yangel Herrera in front of the penalty area. Steffen was out of position as Rondon got a pass from Jhon Murillo and knocked in his 23rd international goal.
Another defensive lapse off a throw-in set up Venezuela’s second score. Jefferson Savarino hit the left post, followed the carom past two stuck-in-place defenders and scored from the right side, his first international goal in 10 appearances.
Rondon circled around defender Aaron Long for the third score.
Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez made his second appearance in as many weeks with the Venezuelans. Mexico defeated Venezuela, 3-1, Wednesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Martinez, who was named to Venezuela's 23-man roster for Copa America, entered Sunday's game in the 61st minute.
The U.S. is still refining its lineup for the tournament, and several players were held out Sunday as they worked into shape. Christian Pulisic joined the team Thursday and didn’t play against Venezuela. Forward Jonathan Lewis and midfielder Michael Bradley are recovering from hamstring strains, and Tyler Adams does not report until Tuesday.
Forward Tyler Boyd made his debut, one of five lineup changes. The 24-year-old attacker made five appearances for New Zealand before FIFA approved his switch to the U.S. last month. Forward Jozy Altidore made his first appearance since the October 2017 loss at Trinidad and Tobago that ended the Americans’ streak of seven World Cup appearances.
No matter. The scoreless streak for the U.S. reached 266 minutes as the Americans misfired or were denied on chances in the second half.
Berhalter was hired in December to implement an attacking, possession-oriented style, and he lamented a lack of speed and aggression against Jamaica. Only two players positioned in the penalty area much of the time, which became a focus for improvement in Sunday's game.