USA-T&T World Cup 2018 Qualifying Player Ratings

The USA captured first place in its semifinal qualifying group by beating fellow qualifier Trinidad & Tobago, 4-0, in Jacksonville on Tuesday.

Late in the first half, Sacha Kljestan scored his second U.S. goal in as many games to open the scoring, and Jozy Altidore tallied twice four minutes apart in the second half as he, Kljestan and Christian Pulisic took apart the T&T defense.

Paul Arriola scored the fourth goal five minutes after he came on as a sub.

USA-TRINIDAD & TOBAGO EXPRESS:
Sept. 6 in Jacksonville
USA 4, Trinidad & Tobago 0. Goals: Kljestan 44, Altidore 58, 63, Arriola 71.
Att.: 19,410.

USA Player Ratings:
Starters
Rating Player (Team) Caps/Goals

6 Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), 120/0.
Covered a one-bounce shot from Mekeil Williams and didn’t allow a rebound. Tipped over a swerving shot from Joevin Jones. Preserved the shutout in stoppage time by closing the angle on Shahdon Winchester.

6 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), 48/4.
Stamped out most of what T&T aimed down his side. Pushed forward to force a foul at the edge of the penalty area that should have yielded a penalty kick.

6 Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), 32/1.
Very strong in the air, either battling the likes of Kenwyne Jones in head tennis or reacting to a cross. Played a great ball out of the back that Altidore took into the goalmouth to create a chance for Pulisic.

4 Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), 8/1.
Left a gap that Kenwyne Jones ran into to shoot over the bar, also reacted too slowly when Khaleem Hyland snuck inside to fire a hard shot that Howard saved. Left the middle open at the wrong time but Joevin Jones prodded his shot just wide.

6 Fabian Johnson (Borussia M'Gladbach/GER), 50/2.
Rescued the U.S. twice on bang-bang sequence in second half by deflecting a pass and blocking shot. Held the corner secure and linked up with Pulisic though he left gaps at times with the score 1-0 and T&T pushing to get back into the game.

5 Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), 55/2.
Thwarted a couple of times on raiding runs by timely T&T interceptions, served as the connector offensively. Did some tough work defensively to help hold off T&T early in second half.

5 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 122/15.
Sprayed a lot of good passes of different distances. Early ball out of the back to Kljestan triggered one of the best first-half attacking sequences. Dropped into the back line late in the match to help out the centerbacks. Lost his influence briefly with the score 3-0 but regained his foothold to close out a very professional job.

7 Sacha Kljestan (NY Red Bulls), 48/6.
Tucked away his second chance when a faulty clearance bounced off him; earlier had shot over the bar from about 12 yards out. Played good combinations with several teammates, such as the short ball that Pulisic relayed to Altidore for the third goal. Tested the keeper with a knuckling shot midway through the second half.

7 Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER), 8/3.
Somehow hit both posts with left-footed shot on a ball played across the goalmouth by Altidore. Muscled off the ball several times yet tracked back to reclaim a ball he'd lost to Levi Garcia off the. Crossed poorly in first half but in second half cut a good ball back to Bedoya and slashed through T&T on a driving run to set up a chance. Crisp ball to Altidore earned him a well-deserved assist, Rebound of saved shot caromed for Arriola to put away.

4 Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER), 26/7.
Held the ball up well occasionally and drew a couple of fouls but seldom clicked in the attacking third. Headed an aimless ball that T&T easily claimed.

8 Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), 95/37.
After a solid, rugged first half during which he battled through a tackle to roll a ball across the goalmouth, Altidore scored goals a few minutes apart early in the second half to break the game open. He also set up Pulisic and Morris for point-blank chances. He played centrally, drifted to the flanks, and dropped deeper late in the match to further confuse T&T. Narrowly missed a hat trick when he chipped over the bar in the 90th minute.

Substitutes:
5 Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), 11/1.
Played a vital role on the fourth goal by twisting away from a tackle and playing the ball to Altidore, who a few minutes later set up him for a shot he drove right to the keeper.

6 Paul Arriola (Tijuana/MEX), 2/2.
Immediately brought energy to the right flank, forced a good save by cutting inside to fire a long-distance shot and then scored on the rebound of Pulisic’s shot five minutes after entry.

4 Caleb Stanko (Vaduz/LIE), 1/0.
Overrun a few times as T&T pushed to get back into the game as he tried to match the pace.

(Ratings: 1=low; 5=average; 10-high.)

TRIVIA. Altidore’s two goals broke a tie with Clint Dempsey for the most qualifying goals scored by a U.S. player. He stands alone with 16.

Sept. 6 in Jacksonville, Florida
USA 4 Trinidad & Tobago 0. Goals: Kljestan 44, Altidore 58, 63, Arriola 71.
USA -- Howard, Cameron, Johnson, Birnbaum, Gonzalez, Bedoya (Arriola 66), Bradley, Kljestan (Stanko 73), Pulisic, Wood (Morris 61), Altidore.
Trinidad & Tobago -- Phillip, David, Mitchell, Abu Bakr, Williams, J Jones, Hyland, Molino, Boucaud (George 76), Garcia (J.Williams 57), K.Jones (Winchester 69).
Referee: Ricardo Montero (Costa Rica)
Att.: 19,410.

10 comments about "USA-T&T World Cup 2018 Qualifying Player Ratings".
  1. Kevin Leahy, September 7, 2016 at 7:05 a.m.

    Jozy's first 20-25 were non-existent and the same for Bradley. Pulisic held the ball too long a couple of times but, brings something to the table no one else does. His willingness to take the game to the opponent is outstanding. Would love to see one more of the young guys break through into the group.

  2. David Mont replied, September 7, 2016 at 8:38 a.m.

    Agree about Jozy. Actually, he was non-existent with a few very poor touches until he scored. I was already beginning to think that maybe that was the end for Jozy as far as the national team player. All of a sudden, he came to life and scored twice. Still, not convinced that the USMNT should continue with Altidore spearheading the attack.

  3. j bapper, September 7, 2016 at 8:50 a.m.

    So refreshing and exciting to see these young players getting a chance to play. Pulisic, Wood and then the subs Arriola, Stanko and Morris. Please keep infusing these young guys in the team. They're skillful, fearless and have pace. We don't need to see Beckerman, Zusi, Wondo in a US shirt again. It's time to pass the torch to these young guys. I thought Bradley was poor again... would love to see Nagbe get a shot in his place. Pulisic went at the defense every chance he got. He made some mistakes but you have to admire his intention to always attack.

  4. Pasco Struhs, September 7, 2016 at 8:55 a.m.

    Altidore gets an 8 - really? Ok - maybe an 8 for most improved when compared to his past performances. Don't get me wrong, I thought he was good last night, but Pulisic and Kljestan were really the stars. Even though Pulisic was scoreless to Altidore's 2 goals, I thought Pulisic had more of an impact on the game and Kljestan proved why he is the assist leader in MLS so far this year. If Pulisic doesn't penetrate and feed him in the second half, Altidore doesn't get his second. However, his first goal was quite good, cutting the ball back to the opposite post against the defender, and his willingness and ability to fight off defenders (finally) was impressive. For me if you ae going to give out an 8, I think Pulisic and Kljestan get one. Give Altidore the 7.

  5. beautiful game, September 7, 2016 at 10:31 a.m.

    If Jozy was rated 7, Pulisic should have gotten a 10. The overall performance of Pulisic was far and above better than any player on the squad; i.e., technical, awareness, instinctive reaction, making things happen, efficacy. None of his senior teammates came close to his performance. Kudos to the camera work for ground coverage, back of the head cameos, and the winded commentary; perfect recipe on how to melt down the game.

  6. Kent James, September 7, 2016 at 10:47 a.m.

    Jozy may not be pretty, but he was good last night (and I think 2 goals does get you the highest rating). He's showing a bit more variety in his game, which is good. He'll never be world class (which is a pretty rarified group), but he's justified Klinsmann's faith in him. Pulisic played as advertised; a few more like him, and we'll be in good shape. Some of Bradley's longer passes were shockingly bad, but he also made some very good ones, and his defense in the center of the field was excellent; he is definitely more suited to the defensive CM rather than offensive.

  7. John Lander, September 7, 2016 at 11:44 a.m.

    Stop it all you Jozy haters. Evaluate hin as a strike. If this exact game was played by a Brizilian striker or Diego Costa for Spain he would be man of the match. Players are going to have bad touches, or mistake. He did his job well. Striker don't dominate the ball they score when they get it and he has done that better than any American in WC qualifying history.

  8. Wooden Ships replied, September 8, 2016 at 10:52 a.m.

    Touché John.

  9. beautiful game, September 7, 2016 at 5:45 p.m.

    Anyone disagree that T&T's performance was a shadow of its Gold Cup effort?

  10. Ric Fonseca, September 7, 2016 at 11:44 p.m.

    I w, spot on!!!

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