USA-Paraguay Men's International Friendly Player Ratings

March 27 in Cary, N.C.
USA 1 Paraguay 0.
Att.: 9,895

The USA won its first game since failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. A Bobby Wood penalty kick decided the 1-0 win over Paraguay in a game in which three Americans made their national team debuts and several youngsters accounted well for themselves against a rough foe.

USA Player Ratings:
Player/age (Club) GP/G
5 Zack Steffen/22 (Columbus Crew) 2/0
Not tested in first half. Good footwork handling back-passes. Batted away Miguel Alimiron's last-second shot.

5 DeAndre Yedlin/24 (Newcastle United/ENG) 50/0
Right back played solidly defensively but tamely going forward.

7 Matt Miazga/22 (Vitesse/NED) 5/1
Helped keep Alimiron and big man Federico Santander at bay. Passed well out of the back.

6 Cameron Carter-Vickers/20 (Ipswich Town/ENG) 2/0
Not as busy as his central D partner Miazga but played close to flawless.

6 Jorge Villafana/28 (Santos Laguna/MEX) 16/0
Left-back sparked several attacks coming out of the back and sent in crosses.

7 Wil Trapp/25 (Columbus Crew) 4/0
The captain played like a sweeper in front of backline, interfered with several attacks, and passed well when he won the ball. Blocked Alimiron's 68th-minute shot.

6 Darlington Nagbe/27 (Atlanta United) 25/1
Almost always impressive with the ball at his feet. Set up first U.S. chance.

6 Marky Delgado/22 (Toronto FC) 1/0
Delivered the through pass to Adams that led to penalty kick.

7 Tyler Adams/19 (New York Red Bulls) 3/0
Fast and poised. Fouled by goalkeeper Gatito Fernandez for PK that gave U.S. lead after flying through Paraguayan backline.

6 Kenny Saief/24 (Anderlecht/BEL) 2/0
Had a presence on the left-wing but inconsistent with passes; frequent giveaways in the first half. Squandered the best first-half chance while getting in Wood's way. But found his groove in the second half and pulled off some nifty moves that frustrated Paraguayans before being subbed in 67th minute.

5 Bobby Wood/25 (Hamburg/GER) 37/11
Plagued by bad touches, mis-traps and offside -- but managed to convert a penalty kick.

5 Rubio Rubin/22 (Club Tijuana/MEX) 5/0
Saief's replacement, his 84th-minute low cross was a couple yards from providing a chance for Nagbe.

NR Andrija Novakovich/21 (Telstar/NED) 1/0
Failed to convert a stoppage-time one-on-one after entering in the 77th minute.

NR Tim Weah/18 (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA) 1/0
Set up the Novakovich chance. Some promising moves in his cameo made one want to see more.

NR Cristian Roldan/22 (Seattle Sounders) 3/0
Stoppage-time sub.

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

TRIVIA: These two teams that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup met at their first World Cup -- a 3-0 USA win at the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay.

March 27 in Cary, N.C.
USA 1 Paraguay 0.
Goals: Wood (pen.) 45.
USA -- Steffen, Yedlin, Miazga, Carter-Vickers, Villafana, Trapp, Delgado (Weah, 86), Adams, Nagbe (Roldan, 91+), Saief (Rubin, 67), Wood (Novakovich, 77).
Paraguay -- Fernandez, Balbuena, Gomez, Alonso, Valdez, Almiron, Riveros (Ortiz, 66), Rojas (Gonzalez, 83), Santander, Romero (Dominguez, 81), Camacho (Perez, 55).
Yellow cards: USA -- Yedlin 62; Carter-Vickers 81; Paraguay -- Fernandez 44, Alonso 53, Rojas 56, Santander 90, Ortiz 91+.
Referee: Kimbell Ward (St. Kitts & Nevis)
Att.: 9,895

Stats: USA/Paraguay
Shots: 6/11
Shots on target: 3/3
Saves: 2/3
Corner kicks: 7/2
Fouls: 15/19
Offside: 5/1
Possession: 51%/49%

22 comments about "USA-Paraguay Men's International Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. Tim Schum, March 28, 2018 at 11:45 a.m.

    After watching England/Italy and Germany/Brazil matches earlier in the day, this match was like watching a Binghamton University intramural soccer game. There was little connection between the players and the technical ability of the US players is average at best. For instance, in the earlier games, those heading a ball generally were able to play it on to a teammate, thereby keeping possession. I can’t tell you how many times US players under pressure simply headed a ball to no one. The earlier games featured a majority of one touch passing meaning the players had an idea of where the next pass was to be played before the ball was played to them. If one (I wish I had done so) charted the number of one touch passes by the US team they would amount to a few in comparison to holding onto the ball for two touches or more. Finally it might be mentioned that the number of “killer passes” (long, penetrating passes) were few in number. The reason is obvious: there is a lack of creativity amongst the midfielders exasperated by the fact there was but one striker to try and locate - Bobby Wood. To begin with, he is a complimentary player not one who can maintain possession. 

    The commentators were all worked up by the appearance of Weah. First observation: Lacks pace and clearly is physically not ready to be the next one to carry the US back to a reasonable competitive level of international play.

    Hats off to the North Carolina fans for showing up for this dismal soccer officiated by one of those Caribbean guys who doesn’t know if the ball is stuffed or blown. Tim

  2. frank schoon replied, March 28, 2018 at 12:19 p.m.

    Realize you're criticizing the players who for the great majority are playing in Europe. You can imagine what it would like if the majority were from the MLS....

  3. beautiful game replied, March 28, 2018 at 10:12 p.m.

    T.S. appreciate your observations and candor...the U.S. squad was lackluster and the announcers were blowing smoke up each others exhaust pipe.

  4. Kent James replied, March 28, 2018 at 10:17 p.m.

    I must have watched a different game.  Paraguay had a lot of trouble, but I think the high pressure the US applied had something to do with that.  I saw a lot of one touch passing, a lot of movement off the ball, a lot of good skill (Miazga, our ungainly CB, did a neat little Cruyff on their foward who was pressuring him and then hit an incisive pass).  Heck, even the goal keeper was playing the ball with his feet under pressure.  They may not be quite Brazil, Argentina, Germany or Spain, but I was very encouraged by the overall level of play.  

  5. Nick Gabris, March 28, 2018 at 11:45 a.m.

    Fair assesment! Good game for this new group, (and Pulisic did not even play) It was fun watching a MNT again. Still work to do, but they show a lot of promise. Future looks good! Continue playing tougher competition so these young players can get even better. 

  6. beautiful game replied, March 28, 2018 at 10:14 p.m.

    NG; holding your breath for our NT is bringing about issues of real world perceptions.

  7. frank schoon, March 28, 2018 at 12:29 p.m.

    I try watching the game ,newer players but same ole , same ole. Same old passes and faulty routines, for example, on the build up from the back lacks any logic. The outside back as usual receives the ball standing still not on attack is forced the pass back where it came from or receive the  ball at a time with an opponent near him to block his advance, which is also a wasted pass.
    It seems like the coaching has little idea on how to build up from the back properly. 
    I did like Saief, he some potential, a presence with the ball, which the other ones lack. Bobby Wood to me is just a runner, not a technician with the ball. He needs someone to send him....

  8. Wooden Ships replied, March 28, 2018 at 12:42 p.m.

    I agree on Saief, Frank. And like you say, faulty build up on the outsides.

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, March 28, 2018 at 1:27 p.m.

    I thought that these younger players, generally speaking had decent technical skills, but I thought that they were poorly served by the coaching. What I saw was the same press and counter tactics as so typical in the past.  It doesn't matter if the players are capable of playing a better game if the coaching doesn't lead in that direction. From the comments of the coach and the newscasters, it was apparent that both were happy to see the same tactics yesterday as used in the NT's amateur days in the 1980s and 90s. 

    I too was impressed by Saief as well as Trap. As for Bobby Wood, how much of his performance represents the coach's game plan as opposed to representing a lack of ability to play differently? I thought the US game plan was simply make a long pass over the top for the striker to run onto.

    As far as building out of the back goes, I thought that Portugal used the same positioning and passing to fullbacks on the touch, except that sometimes their players would attempt to penetrate in tight spaces too. The typical penetration I saw from the US was a long pass forward. 

    To sum it up, the 1980's amateur long ball coaching approach bothered me most. I know others have made similar complaints in the past, but long balls over the top are not a problem. It is the lack of alternatives that is the problem. The mixture of a variety of attacks is what keeps the opponent stretched.    

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, March 28, 2018 at 1:32 p.m.

    Oops. I meant Paraguay.

  11. frank schoon replied, March 28, 2018 at 2:10 p.m.

    Bob, all true....We got to work on the coaching staff..all I really saw out there were a lot of Bruce Arena's people . We need bring in fresh NEW COACHING. Arena and his buddies, Sarachan and the rest will not introduce new concepts...I don't want USSF coaches because they all follow the same recipe, same ole, same ole.
    Watch on ESPN 3 Ronald Koeman's coaching against Portugal......

  12. Wooden Ships, March 28, 2018 at 12:39 p.m.

    Good points from the three above. We were slow in decision making, on and off the ball. Tim’s correct that Wood isn’t a lone striker, a mid at times needed to be up front near him in order to break down the central defense. Paraguay had no troubles defending our crosses and you can’t depend upon attacking from the flanks alone. Of course playing inside requires quick movement and quality touches. Enjoyed watching the USMNT, but still disappointed that we should have had 4 games instead of two, between this and the January window. Didn’t miss MB and JA at all, personally, and did witness some pore body language by Wood. 

  13. James Madison, March 28, 2018 at 6 p.m.

    Interesting to have comment by Tim Schum, a very experienced coach.

  14. Kent James, March 28, 2018 at 10:26 p.m.

    While Wood struggled, I thought Saief was generally very good.  I think he, Trapp and Adams had the best games. I thought the main thing we lacked was finishing; we need to take more shots (we had quite a few good movements ended by playing one too many passes).  We might have been better off with Nagbe in the middle; I thought we did well going up the flanks, but had more difficulty creating chances at the top of the box (where Wood was struggling, but I feel like he should be finishing chances rather than setting them up).  

  15. frank schoon replied, March 29, 2018 at 10:44 a.m.

    Kent, Nagby lacks the creativity to play in the middle. When he has the ball he spends more time running with it. He is a very slow player!! What I mean by that is not his running speed but his ability in ball distribution and he slows the game down when he runs with the ball..

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, March 29, 2018 at 9:49 p.m.

    I agree with Frank. Time and again Nagbe holds on to the ball when approaching the attacking third, exactly when quick play is needed. In that area he should be touching the ball twice, not six times. 

    I don't watch his club games. Maybe the problem is that he hasn't adjusted to the international game. Maybe in his club matches he can dribble though defenses and therefore can penetrate by dribbling. Maybe he is still looking for MLS sized gaps to dribble through in the international matches, gaps that are not there in international matches. It is a lot easier to attack a gap on the flank than in the middle.

    It is too bad Nagbe's club doesn't have a retired star player available to work with Nagbe to improve his tactics and speed of play, because he does have good touch. I can see the potential value added here, Frank.  

  17. Kent James replied, March 29, 2018 at 10:44 p.m.

    Frank and Bob, you guys are probably right.  Nagby is at his best when he has the ball at his feet and he has a little space to take it at defenders. But I did feel that we were lacking a controlled passing presence in the high middle of the field (top of the 18 to about 30 yds out).  Don't know the young guys well enough to suggest someone who can play that #10 role (someone like Feilhaber; Pulisic were he to be available would have been ideal); control the ball under pressure, hit those little through balls to Saief, Wood or Nagby for shots on goal. I thought we generally passed well, but needed more incisive passes into the box (most of our passes came from the flanks; they weren't bad, but became predictable and were too often in the air where Paraguay's defenders seemed strongest).  

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, March 30, 2018 at 7:01 a.m.

    Kent, I blame the coaches game plan, which reflected current USSF conventional thinking, i.e., spread out the attackers in a circle over a very large area. The problem is the large distances between players. Better players won't solve the real problem. 

    At the bottom of the soccer pyramid facing poor defenses and inexperienced players, this works. Against advanced players and defences, the attacking players with the ball are isolated and outnumbered. At the international level, everyone defends and transistions well. This problem with the long supporting distances due to the huge shape is aggravated by the counterattacking play style. When a team makes quick long passes to the front line, it stretches the team shape even more. If the forwards attacks directly, it doesn't give the teammates time to advance into a supporting position.

    Paraguay's defense was consistently well organized. In my view the US did better on the counters that originated near the half line (more space behind the defense to play into) and did better on the less direct play (because the team shape offered more support as it advanced into the attacking third).

    The result was too often, on the long passes to Wood, he would be facing a 1v4 situation and the arrival of the first runner made it a 2v6 situation. The purpose of a game plan is to create easy tactical problems to solve, not difficult ones. Against professional players, only the greatest players will be effective 1v4. Even with Messi, he usually has teammates moving to pull some of the pressure off him while he is dribbling through defenses. 

    Of course these are the comments of an amateur player and coach about professionals.          

  19. frank schoon, March 30, 2018 at 9:48 a.m.

    Kent, Bob. If you ask right off the bat "what is Nagby's role out there", you would have some difficulty trying to establish exactly what he is suppose to do. And, certainly, it is not running around inefficiently with the ball. He plays like a former UPS driver who runs around delivering the ball to players on the field. He's been doing this from day one for the NT. He has never changed his inefficient pattern of play which, to me, is a reflection on the poor coaching staff...can't they see this?
    Nagby is not a good player in small spaces for that requires good, quick ball handling technique, which, sorry to say,is a rare quality not often found with American players. Hugo Perez would be an exception. There is Golden Rule in soccer, you are either good in small spaces or in large spaces but you can't be in both!! This is one of the problems the US face is that we develop toooooo many players that like to run and play in large spaces. 
    We have difficulty in building up from the back for several reasons, one, the coaching is bad for they don't how to teach that particular aspect properly..just watch the USMNT and USWNT or MLS; two, our players have difficulty playing in small spaces.
    Kent, you state <Nagby is at his best when he has the ball at his feet"> That is wrong. Nagby is not a good ball handler, his strength is his speed. In other words let him run into position then pass the ball to him, but don't let him run with the ball for he has no vision and lacks good technique in small spaces when he enters the opponent's defensive third of the field.
    Nagby is a player who has to rely on physical play and running which like Cruyff says, "the more a player uses running in his game, the less intelligent he is". 
    Bob, you are right we need to bring in former greats to help to help our better players to develop which is done in Europe..

  20. frank schoon replied, March 30, 2018 at 10:02 a.m.

    Bob, don't discount yourself, you have a pretty good analysis on professional players for an amateur coach. I enjoy reading your comments and Ships.  You know Van Hanegem came out with a new book 2weeks ago. He and Cruyff are known in Holland as the oracles of soccer or the two smartest to have played the game. Van Hanegem has an amazing insight into the game.  Johan explains the game and sometimes you end up asking yourself, "where did he get this" and then realize Johan was talking 3moves ahead already but with Van Hanegem explains the game in simpler terms, much easier to understand. I hope his book comes out in English, if not ,I will at least give the interesting tidbits to you....I guess Ships ,today, is out boating with the Easter Bunny. LOL

  21. Wooden Ships replied, March 30, 2018 at 6:07 p.m.

    Frank, the Easter Bunny would probably get sea sick. Today has been spent with Thompson’s sealer and a trim brush and roller. Pooped now. I too enjoy Bobs analysis and it’s not about the level ones played. It’s more about paying attention, being attentive. We have many that post here that are insightful and Bob might be the best. Ginger too, is like Bob, a rational view/perspective regarding big picture notions. I enjoy all the posters, whether I agree or not. 

  22. frank schoon replied, March 30, 2018 at 10:45 p.m.

    Ships, that was well said. I couldn't agree with you more. And in addition ,I also enjoy each individual's post in their manner of expression and their usage of the English language.....

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