USA-Mexico World Cup 2018 Qualifying Player Ratings

June 11 in Mexico City
Mexico 1 USA 1. Goals: Vela 23; Bradley 6.
Att.: 81,000.

A driven goal from distance by captain Michael Bradley immediately joined the list of all-time great U.S. goals and helped earn the Americans a 1-1 tie with Mexico at Estadio Azteca.

Bradley also blasted a shot off the upright and centerback Geoff Cameron led a resilient defense that limited Mexico to just one shot on goal, which Carlos Vela drove low into the net for an equalizer in the 23rd minute.

The tie was just the third point extracted by the USA at the Azteca in a qualifier. The rival nations tied 0-0 in 1997 and in their last Hexagonal meeting in 2013.
U.S. Player Ratings

5 Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough/ENG), 54/0.
Least work for a U.S. keeper at Azteca in terms of saves (zero), but that early challenge on Javier Hernandez forced him to lob off-target. Guzan rescued the U.S. twice with clean pickups of tricky bounces. Hit nearly every ball long, usually to the other team.

6 Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), 39/1.
Racked up eight clearances and called for just one foul while containing “Chicharito” and Co. Connected on his short passes. Presented with two good chances, he headed them both well wide. Needlessly kneed a ball behind for a corner.

7 Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), 53/4.
Prevented a few goals with clean, confident clears (five) and interceptions (three). His midfield challenge caused turnover that steered ball Bradley turned into a wonder goal. Most of his passes found the mark. A bit fortunate to escape a caution with four fouls committed.

6 Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), 25/1.
Rugged and reliable in his tackling and marking, he also headed a ball during a scramble that Bobby Wood couldn’t turn into a shot. Passing could have been crisper.

5 DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG), 46/0.
Struggled to contain Hirving Lozano and Miguel Gallardo. Didn’t cross many balls but got forward enough to win corners. Tightened up defensively after being cautioned for third foul committed.

5 DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), 126/17.
Drew a rough foul early and while beaten a few times also won eight duels. Gave the team a cool head and experience as it stamped out Mexico’s threats in the second half.

6 Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), 8/0.
Might have stopped counterattack -- as he had done eight minutes earlier by fouling -- on Mexican goal, but he was a half-step late in the midfield circle. Hit a couple of good free kicks, closed down spaces well in many occasions, poked the ball that Bradley crashed off the upright.

7 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), 133/17.
Chip from more than 40 yards instantly claimed a place high on the all-time U.S. goal list and also struck the post from distance with a thunderbolt from distance. Hit one great crossfield ball to Beasley near the touchline. Two of his fouls gave Mexico free kicks in dangerous spots.      

4 Paul Arriola (Tijuana/MEX), 5/2.
Started well and delivered a couple of threatening low crosses but also over-hit balls forward. His offensive influence waned as he took on more defensive duties.

5 Christian Pulisic (Bor. Dortmund/GER), 16/7.
“Ole-d” by a slick Hector Herrera move, glided past opponents a few times, nicked a cross that forced Mexican defense to scramble, curled a shot well wide in the second half after finding space.

4 Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER), 32/8.
Battled hard to hold the ball under pressure, could not connect with teammates on his passes and whiffed on a possible chance from close range. Made a few good runs that were ignored.


5 Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), 17/1.
Lifted the level when he came on but fell asleep on point-blank chance Javier Aquino belted over the crossbar.

NR Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), 104/37.
Won a corner kick battling against two opponents.

NR Graham Zusi (Sporting KC) 47/5.
Played out stoppage time.

(Ratings: 1=low; 5=average; 10=high.)
TRIVIA. Bradley is just the sixth U.S. player to score a goal in a full international at the Azteca. The others: Willy Roy (1972), Ricky Davis (1980), Eddie Lewis (2005), Charlie Davies (2009) and Michael Orozco (2012).
June 11 in Mexico City
Mexico 1 USA 1. Goals: Vela 23; Bradley 6.
Mexico –- Ochoa; Salcedo, Reyes, Moreno, Alanis (Gallardo 31), Herrera, Dos Santos (Pineda 77), Fabian (Aquino 53), Vela, Hernandez, Lozano.
USA –- Guzan; Gonzalez, Cameron, Ream, Yedlin, Beasley, Acosta, Bradley, Arriola (Nagbe 63), Pulisic (Zusi 90+2), Wood (Altidore 79).
Referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador).
Att.: 81,000.
22 comments about "USA-Mexico World Cup 2018 Qualifying Player Ratings".
  1. Chris St. Hilaire, June 12, 2017 at 2:04 a.m.

    Let's give an 8.5 rating to Arena for having the courage to make changes to the lineup. I also think that Arriola got up and back well and deserves better then a 5.

  2. Thomas Brannan, June 12, 2017 at 3:34 a.m.

    Hope I get this right. World Cup, S. Korea, USA v Mexico. Line Up Card looked to be 4-4-2 but came out with 5 in the back. USA wins. Marquez elbows Cobi Jones in the head and gets Red Carded. Tonight 5 in the back and Mexican elbow to the head. A few similarities. No win but no loss. Elbow to the head no card at all.

  3. Kent James, June 12, 2017 at 6:54 a.m.

    I think these ratings were pretty accurate, though I thought Jozy should have been rated; he came on and made a difference. When Jozy came on, I didn't think he would be a good fit for the game, but the difference was that he won every ball that came to him in the air, whereas Wood was beaten consistently on those balls by the Mexican defense. Credit to Arena to making some substantial changes that seemed to pay off. Good overall composure by the US. The referee struggled (missing 2 elbows in about 3 minutes? Calling a foul every time a Mexican player went down? Tough game to ref, but he made it tougher on himself (though he did seem to do a bit better in the 2nd half).

  4. Miguel Dedo, June 12, 2017 at 8:57 a.m.

    Glad to see that RM acknowledged the contributions of Cameron, Ream, Acosta. I saw better one-on-one defending by DeAndre Yedlin than RM reports -- especially late in the match. It takes weighted voting for Omar Gonzalez's "1" as an attacker and "7" as a defender to average out a "6."

  5. Brooks Cochrum, June 12, 2017 at 10:27 a.m.

    in re Acosta "but he was a half-step late in the midfield circle" if you watch he was having to track the runner and was trying to then cover for Cameron who should have taken Vela coming back across. Even then he was there but a hard shot eluded his legs but just as easily could have been blocked. GC got caught doing a whirling dervish on that play and really did nothing on it...GC had a great game though otherwise of course.
    If not for Bradley, he would have Bradley's position of course. I thought Acosta ran tirelessly and was a real difference maker in allowing this formation to f(x) properly. I look forward to KA becoming the offensive force he also is in the coming years. A special player indeed.

  6. Brooks Cochrum, June 12, 2017 at 10:34 a.m.

    While better otherwise, too bad our current fullbacks don't have the heading skills of Lalas/Goodson. OG missed what would have almost been a gimme for either.

  7. Dan Eckert, June 12, 2017 at 10:54 a.m.

    Guzan a 5? Really? As you stated, "Guzan rescued the U.S. twice with clean pickups of tricky bounces. Hit nearly every ball long, usually to the other team." 5 is average - so are these points average for Guzan - as his performance (for him was average). OMG -
    a tricky bounce - OMG so hard to catch. However, compared to any other GK on the roster it should have been a 3. Almost every distribution was a failure. How does that get you a 5? The GK is the beginning of the attack. I'd argue we had such low possession numbers because Guzan can't determine the difference between a US Jersey and a MEX jersey. I must admit - that green does blend well with their grass. Everytime MEX had the ball in their attacking third I got nervous. Maybe a bit of reverse psychology by Bruce - put an inferior GK in - and that forces the defensive line to man up and do a better job.

  8. Charles Stamos, June 12, 2017 at 11:07 a.m.

    For the second time in 4 days, I mostly agree with the evaluation. IMO, Guzan (4) looked slow - Dos Santos at 15' and Herrera at 71' DFKs and Vela's goal all beat him - Gonzalez (4) for missing 2 uncontested headers and he was onside on the first one and the second one was an open goal - Bradley (5) was very uneven with some clumsy tackles and along with other middies not getting to VELA, but brilliant on his shots - Beasley (4) too slow for the wing, turned and beaten to the arc by Vela - referee Aguilar, (4) not carding Salcedo for 2 elbows to the head and 2 blatant pushes to the back - Coach Arena (7) for using a 18 man roster to combat the altitude and short turnaround time. Mexico had to dial down their effort at the start of the 2nd half.

  9. Daniel Clifton, June 12, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.

    I thought 5 for Guzan was too high. He was to close to the middle of his goal when Mexico scored. He should have been closer to the near post. I thought 7 for Bradley was a little high. He took two great shots on goal, but he also committed some fouls in dangerous positions. Gonzalez was good on the defensive end, but did nothing with a couple of good chances to score in the first half. On the second chance all he had to do was direct the ball on goal because the keeper had come off his line and was late. Mexico had too much possession, although most of it was not threatening. This is not the type of formation you want to play if you are going for a win. Pulisic was pretty much left on an island on the left side. How does Salcedo get away with two elbows to the head without even a card being pulled. Incredible. I though 4 was about right for Bobby Wood. He totally whiffed on the chance in front of the goal off the corner kick that then immediately led to the Mexico goal.

  10. Bret Newman replied, June 12, 2017 at 6:16 p.m.

    Daniel Clifton, you are spot on with your analogy. I saw the same thing with Guzan. He was too far out, and he didn't give himself a chance to make a save. I was really disappointed with him, and one of my favorites, Bobby Wood. One other thing I want to point out, is the throw-ins. The US did a poor job in that department, giving Mexico possession most of the time. Meanwhile, it was a breeze for Mexico, as US rarely challenged. I think the US tried to be to aggressive, always throwing the ball upfield, when maybe they should throw back to a player in the clear.

  11. Barry Ulrich, June 12, 2017 at 11:52 a.m.

    "Hit nearly every ball long, usually to the other team."
    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE can anyone tell me why any team would have its GK punt the ball long (ESPECIALLY AT THE END OF THE GAME!), only to have the opposition immediately regain possession and bring the ball back on attack? Is our backfield so inept that it cannot retain possession and eat some time off the clock?

  12. Charles Stamos replied, June 12, 2017 at 1:24 p.m.

    Pretty much...

  13. Ric Fonseca, June 12, 2017 at 2:21 p.m.

    Heyas one and all, here's a l;ittle trivia info: Of those rated, eight play in the UK/Europe, and 5 in MLS, and it is assumed the remaining timber squad members came from other MLS teams? Where was Il Deuce Dempsey? I didn't see him on the bench, 'cause I am wondering if he was sent or went home after the T&T subbing? Lastly almost eight years to the dat, my wife and I attended the WCQ So.Africa qualifying... game in Azteca and we can tell you that the atmosphere is electrifying more so than what is shown on TV! There is quite a story yet to tell about that game

  14. James Madison, June 12, 2017 at 2:39 p.m.

    1. Deuce was on the bench. 2. I see from the above that the Bradley nay-sayers have had nothing to say.

  15. Wooden Ships replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:09 p.m.

    James, I've been a Bradley nay sayer for two years now. He's been anointed Captain and has had more uninspiring games than not. When he is on his game and into it then he is good. But you need a Magic 8 ball to forecast his game day performance. His consistency isn't good enough, IMO. I salute his contributions to country and that goal and near goal were outstanding.

  16. beautiful game, June 12, 2017 at 5:41 p.m.

    Excellent game plan by Arena which the players executed very well.

  17. Bret Newman, June 12, 2017 at 6:28 p.m.

    The referee did a poor job, by not carding the two elbows early in the game. Heck, it wasn't even called a foul. Did he need glasses, or did he just purposely overlook it? And what about the hurry up free kick, on the US foul. Mexico almost scored on that, and I would have been up in arms. This is something that was okay to do back in the old days, but not today. The ref has to first make sure the players are ready, and he has to give it the okay, by whistle. Then there was a lot of no calls, where clearly Mexico fouled. I can remember Wood and Pulisic were clearly fouled, and play continued.

  18. Wooden Ships replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:15 p.m.

    Bret, I think its news when a CONCACAF crew has a good match.

  19. Charles Stamos replied, June 12, 2017 at 11:18 p.m.

    I disagree Bret. A quick free kick is always possible and often quite an offensive weapon. A whistle is not necessary, however, the offense takes the free kick at their own peril. Only when the referee indicates that he will be blowing the whistle to restart must it be used.

  20. Wooden Ships replied, June 12, 2017 at 11:37 p.m.

    You're right Charles on the quick restart. Always look to see what's immediately available.

  21. Kent James replied, June 14, 2017 at 9:43 a.m.

    You're right about everything but the quick restart. That's Mexico's right, there's no obligation to make sure the US is ready. An additional problem with the refereeing was that some of the Mexicans went down as soon as a US player touched them (and sometimes even when they didn't; I'm looking at you, Chicarito...), and the ref was giving it to them (though he seemed to do better in the 2nd half). Very difficult assignment, didn't blow the game completely, but it would have been a lot different if Mexico had had 10 men for more than 80 minutes (though that's not to say it would necessarily been better for the US).

  22. Chris Sapien , June 14, 2017 at 10:07 p.m.

    I was there, and most of the ratings are pretty accurate, save Guzan's which probably is slightly high. Also, Yedlin's dive into the Mex attacker (name escapes me)in attempt to shoulder challenge along the goal line was nearly disasterous! Other than that, the Ref was HORRENDOUS, and everyone in the AO/US section could not believe how every dive by mex was rewarded, how every challenge to the ball from behind by a US player was called as a foul, and you never, never allow a quick DFK from any spot other than the spot of the foul! Even if it is closer to the team's own goal and not the attacking goal btw....Cross Azteca off my bucket list, lol

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