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U.S. men’s national team breaks out a three-man back line, extends unbeaten streak

Gregg Berhalter has spent most of his 28 months as coach of the U.S. men’s national team perfecting a complex pressing, attacking style of play. On Sunday he added a new wrinkle, starting Sunday’s friendly against Northern Ireland by introducing a three-man back line.

But the U.S. didn’t miss a beat, extending its unbeaten streak to nine games with a 2-1 win on a wet and windy night in Belfast. The victory was the Americans’ first over a European team in Europe since 2015 and first ever in the United Kingdom and Ireland. And it came at the end of the team’s final training camp before Nations League semifinals in June, which will kick off a busy summer that will include the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the start of the final round of World Cup qualifying.