Commentary

USA-Italy: Men's Friendly Player Ratings

USA-ITALY EXPRESS:
Nov. 20 in Genk, Belgium
USA 0 Italy 1. Goal: Politano 94+.
Att.: 13,500

The USA neglected the attack part of its counterattack approach against Italy and was fortunate to escape with a 1-0 loss on Tuesday. Dismal Italian finishing and some big saves from goalkeeper Ethan Horvath kept the game scoreless until stoppage time. Not until the 64th minute did the USA get its first and only shot on target. The Italians, who had 73.5% of the possession, took 17 shots, five of which required Horvath saves and one of which finally hit the net in the fourth minute of stoppage time. In the USA's last game of 2018, Coach Dave Sarachan started only one player, Christian Pulisic, who started against England in the USA's 3-0 friendly loss last Thursday.


USA Player Ratings:
Starters
Player (Club) GP/G
7 Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL) 3/0
Positioned himself well to stop one-v-ones and made an acrobatic diving save on Domenico Berardi's 39th-minute long-range shot.

3 Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas) 2/0
The wide defender, cautioned in the 43rd minute, was lucky not to get ejected for his 66th-minute foul on Emerson. Although the USA had three central defenders, wide backs Cannon and Moore failed to attack.

3 Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL) 7/0
Stayed rooted when Berardi headed high in the 15th minute. Committed a clumsy foul on one of the three U.S. corner kicks. Part of the central gang that got beaten down the middle on the gamewinner.

3 Walker Zimmerman (LAFC) 4/1
The central defender managed the USA's first shot, a header to keeper Salvatore Sirigu in the 63rd minute from a tight angle. When the ball came back to him during the USA's longest sequence of passes, in the 51st minute, he ended it by booting the ball to Italian backline. Lucky like Carter-Vickers that Italian headers were never struck well.

2 Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls) 2/0
Part of a three-man central defense with Zimmerman and Carter-Vickers, often lucky his miscues weren't punished, like when he whiffed on a low pass through the penalty area.

3 Shaq Moore (Reus/ESP) 5/0
Committed five fouls while struggling with Italian attacks down the wing. Coughed up the ball on the rare occasions when he won it.

4 Marky Delgado (Toronto FC) 6/0
Orchestrated a 55th-minute attack in a sequence on which he was eventually fouled for a free kick. It marked the only time he connected with the forwards, having found Sargent with a pass. Unlike his midfield mates, at least acted like he wanted the ball.

3 Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls) 8/1
Part of a midfield that spent most it's time chasing Italians and unable to keep the possession.

3 Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids) 22/2
The most experienced of the midfielders, failed to bring cohesion to the U.S. game. His free kick set up the Zimmerman header, then 13 minutes later he launched another free kick straight to an Italian.

3 Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER) 23/9
Unable to evade Italian defenders. Disappeared in second half until being subbed in 83rd minute.

3 Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER) 6/2
Like Pulisic, played forward without getting a shot on goal.

Substitutes
4 Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC) 11/0
Arrived in the 62nd minute for Delgado and didn't improve midfield.

3 Bobby Wood (Hannover 96/GER) 45/13
Shot wide from nine yards out in 78th minute after replacing Moore in the 62nd minute.

4 Jorge Villafana (Portland Timbers) 21/0
His 15-minute appearance include a good tackle and a horrible pass.

NR Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy) 5/1
Replaced Pulisic in the 83rd minute.

NR Romain Gall (Malmo/SWE) 1/0
Replaced Pulisic in the 83rd minute. Hit a long-range shot that was going wide but earned USA a corner kick because Sirigu got a hand to it.

TRIVIA: Romain Gall became the 23rd player to make his USA debut in the 12 games under interim coach Dave Sarachan.

Nov. 20 in Genk, Belgium
USA 0 Italy 1. Goal: Politano 94+.
USA -- Horvath; Cannon, Carter-Vickers, Zimmerman, Long (Villafaña, 75), Moore (Wood, 62); Delgado (Trapp, 62), Adams, Acosta (Lletget, 83); Pulisic (Gall, 83), Sargent.
Italy -- Sirigu; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Acerbi, Emerson; Barella (Gagliardini, 76), Sensi, Verratti; Chiesa (Grifo, 46), Lasagna (Politano, 87), Berardi (Kean, 62).
Yellow cards: USA -- Cannon 43, Moore 43, Acosta 46+; Italy -- De Sciglio 19, Sensi 58.
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)
Att.: 13,500

Stats:
USA/Italy
Shots: 3/17
Shots on target: 1/6
Saves: 5/1
Corner Kicks: 3/5
Fouls: 20/17
Offside: 1/2
Possession: 26.5%/73.5%

12 comments about "USA-Italy: Men's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. Bob Ashpole, November 20, 2018 at 9:24 p.m.

    Essentially the US bunkered in a 532. I don't think the players are to blame. The game plan was unsuitable for doing anything more than keeping the score close in a friendly match.

    Keeping the score down apparently was more important to the coach than giving youngsters a chance to play soccer.

    I didn't care for how the 532 was played. The back line was too flat resulting in too much open space and freedom for opponents to move unopposed in front of the line. Since the back line was consistently flat, I put that mistake on the coach. 

  2. Kevin Leahy, November 21, 2018 at 7:43 a.m.

    These players still do not handle pressure very well. These ratings are what they are but, for a player like Pulisic it doesn't help to try and combine with anyone. The turnovers are constant. Will also give credit to Sargent for his defensive work on dead balls. The the young players have been given the exposure now, it is time to find the best 14 players. The back line is more than a big concern.

  3. Kent James, November 21, 2018 at 8:49 a.m.

    Horvath was clearly the man of the match (which is never a good sign for the team). Unfortunate he didn't get the shutout, though, of course, the goal was well-deserved.  Bob is right that the formation (at least the way we played it) did not help.  We had a lot of players back on defense, but most of them were not actually involved in defending (the Italians smartly exploited the space behind the line with their diagonal balls over the top, as well as exploiting space in front of the line, with time and space to shoot or pass).  And while it is good to see some young players, this game might demonstrate the need to keep a few experienced players in the line-up and work the young players in a few at a time, instead of using them all at once. I like Dave Sarachan, but this "long nightmare" (as Lalas put it) needs to end. 

  4. frank schoon, November 21, 2018 at 9:49 a.m.

    Obviously, Sarachen, should be left untouched by criticism. He gave the young players a chance to play. I do think that 2 men front line is not the way to go. Here are some of the  problems with that.
    Offensively, in a 2striker system  the striker receives the ball with his back facing the goal over 90% of the time. For example when he runs toward the sidelines (running away from the goal) to receive a ball he'll have his back to the goal, just like when he receives the ball straight down the middle; in all, it makes it easier for the defender to defend.Sargent's is much better staying around the penalty area instead of having to run around for the ball, in other words he is better employed in 4-3-3 system.
    Defensively, having 2 strikers up front makes it easier for the opponents to build up from the back for there is always a flank left open. As a result it requires  a lot more running around, either to get the ball offensively or defensively. Note , poor Sargent, sometimes ran 60 meters back on defense to his own third. There is no way he had the energy left to play offense(if we were able to put 2 consecutive passes together.)
    The major failing of the US is in the technical area. For example, the US players are not taught how to shield a ball when dribbling, an aspect that should be taught when they around 14. Constantly, we lost the ball in one on one duels. The players are taught to run after the ball on the dribble, instead of running with the ball ,keeping it on the far side away from the defender. 
    Dribbling wise, note how the Italians handle a ball in small contained, pressured, spaces, shifting directions quickly on a dime. It was like watching a cartoon as compared to our guys playing at like a 78rpm record; note how they shield the ball.
    Passing and receiving: look at how the Italians in a small contained, crowded space run at the ball,receiving it, without losing it, dribble 2x quickly , make a short quick pass. Just listen to the sound they make when passing short 10-20 meters with the ball; I just wish they would place mikes along the field just listen to sound of the passes.. 
    NEXT POST...

  5. frank schoon, November 21, 2018 at 10:31 a.m.

    The technical failings of the US players as related to space and time, is directly the fault of how youth are trained through the local soccer associations DA or AD program ,or whatever you call it, which is a total joke and not to mention the money, thousands of dollars, these parents pay for this garbage...Don't forget these are programmed licensed coaches,Big Whoop, who are clueless themselves as to development.
    The soccer association's way of improving or putting a false veneer in order to justify the money parents need to pony up is to put an official title to their soccer training program"Developmental Academy", WOW, even I"m impressed. Having been involved  in training, coaching, developing for the past 40 years ,I know a little of who is involved in working with the youth, for they are the same people, who were there before the coronation of the "DA program". There is no difference, before or after other than DA program sounds more official and, of course, more expensive, for you have to also pay  the salary of the Technical Director. This has become a great Cottage Industry. But ,alas,we continue producing programmed stiffs with little or none creative ball handling skills.
    We have to understand we're are missing a piece of the developmental puzzle, which is Pick Up soccer. I wish SA would interview some Italian players or for example Zlatan and deal specifically with how they learned to play soccer in their youth. To a man they would all mention, Pickup Soccer, for without that step we'll continue developing in a programmed manner without individuality. The USSF has got to begin to emphasize and create a mindset and foster a way for youth to play pickup soccer. Too many falsely believe we need more money, more beautiful fields, more fancy accommodations, than explain why all the hispanic MLS stars come from poor 2nd and 3rd world countries that  poor economies and lack funds; not including the youth who immigrate from 3rd world countries in Africa who tend to be much better technically skilled  than our youth.
    The other aspect of this game was how fast the Italians moved the ball, quick and fast. We still teach the element of running quick and fast which is a slower game. This is why we have Neanderthals playing employing size and speed and therefore employing counterattacking soccer. We have got to change our emphasis in training youth by playing is small spaces. 3v3 or 4v4 in 10x10 meters square or 11v11 halffield but strictly small crowded area in order to improve our quicker ballhandling skills and thinking.

  6. frank schoon replied, November 21, 2018 at 10:39 a.m.

    Our direction of training needs to change and emphasize , ball movement and positioning which is the modern way, Cruyffian way, of playing. This requires much more skill, touch, and thinking training emphasis. This is why we need to get a well experienced ,a la Mancini, Koeman, etc, that can teach this and there we need NT coaches at all levels who are capable of teaching this element of the game...

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, November 21, 2018 at 9:04 p.m.

    Frank, I think the problem is the negative influence adults have, even though well intentioned, during the fundamental stage of player development. How many coaches understand the difference between positioning and positions? From appearances, not many. Trying to teach senior players fundamentals is the horrible task of breaking years of bad habits and bad tactics.

  8. frank schoon replied, November 22, 2018 at 10:20 a.m.

    Bob, in the beginning ,up to about 14, it is all about technical development, learning and experiencing on their own, then tactics, positioning for and off the ball come more into play.
    Therefore real positioning the details are left to the coaches of older age groups. This requires coaches who are very good at looking and seeing ahead of time all the intricacies which requires a coach who has played at a very high level, for this can't learned at a coaching course, perhaps just basic stuff. This is what so good about teams like Ajax ,for example, where retired players come back and teach this insight hands on to the youth. We miss this element here and that is why I'm for bringing in foreign ,retired players who played at a high to teach this.
    What you mention about bad habits....that goes right back to the top at the door step of the USSF coaching academy.

  9. John Soares, November 21, 2018 at 2:21 p.m.

    Once again the second half was a bit more promising.
    Stating the obvious;
    *No possession/holding in the mid field.
    Means no chance for forwards to get in scoring position.
    *To many missed passes.
    Horvath deserves an award.
    HOPE...  2019 can't get here fast enough...  HOPE
    Yeah, I know. Hope is not a strategy, but for the moment it's all I have:)

  10. frank schoon replied, November 22, 2018 at 10:36 a.m.

    John, I probably agree with you on Horvath for he looked good only as appearances go ,but what appears does not all what it seems. In other words if you look all the saves he made all the balls came right at him, except for the one where he dived to his left and deflected the ball with his right hand. So lets not get carried away on his ablilities as far as this game goes...

  11. John Soares, November 22, 2018 at 12:16 p.m.


    Frank, One game at a time my friend. We need all the positives we can get:)                                                   

  12. frank schoon replied, November 22, 2018 at 12:40 p.m.

    John, that so true..Happy Thanksgiving...LOL

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