USA-Venezuela: Men's Friendly Player Ratings

June 9 in Cincinnati
USA 0 Venezuela 3. Goals: Rondon 16, Savarino 30, Rondon 36.
Att.: 23,955.

Playing joyless, predictable, error-ridden soccer, the USA lost, 3-0, to Venezuela in its final tuneup before the Gold Cup. Venezuela was coming off a 3-1 friendly loss to Mexico last Wednesday, when the Americans fell 1-0 to Jamaica.

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


For the second game in a row, Zack Steffen passed the ball straight to an opponent in front of the U.S. goal. This time it resulted in a goal, Venezuela's opening strike in the 16th minute. He stranded himself far outside penalty area in the second half and was lucky not to get punished for that misjudgment.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
2 Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew) 10/0 (24)


Right back Nick Lima moved forward to hit some decent crosses. Matt Miazga, notable for his nonchalance on the first goal, misjudged the throw-in that came through the middle leading to the second goal, before Aaron Long was beaten by Jefferson Savarino. On the third goal, Long lost track of Salomon Rondon and got juked by him after he caught up. Miazga also hit several through balls that failed to reach a teammate. Tim Ream, along with Weston McKennie, was slow to react to the rebound that Savarino slammed home.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
5 Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes) 4/0 (24)
2 Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG) 14/1 (23)
2 Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls) 6/0 (26)
3 Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG) 30/1 (31)


No creativity in the American central midfield made the U.S. attack oh so predictable. Tyler Boyd made some right-wing forays, then faded. Paul Arriola was MIA on the left wing in the first half and had a treble of misses in the second half: from two yards out after a Lima service, straight to the keeper from 6 yards, and wide from 8 yards. One of those was set up by a nice lofted pass from Cristian Roldan, who did little else. Weston McKennie had a close-range header and a 14-yard shot saved by Wuiker Farinezin the first half, then called it a day. McKennie and Wil Trapp seemed unaware that they might want to combine at times to give the midfield a semblance of cohesion.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
Tyler Boyd (Vitoria Guimaraes/POR) 1/0 (24)
2 Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew) 17/0 (26)
3 Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders) 11/0 (24)
3 Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER) 9/1 (20)
2 Paul Arriola (D.C. United) 22/3 (24)


Credited for rejuvenating Gyasi Zardes' career while in Columbus, Gregg Berhalter hasn't yet pulled that off with Zardes' career on the national team front.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
3 Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew) 45/7 (27)


The few times he got near the ball, Jozy Altidore mis-played short-distance passes. Duane Holmes committed two fouls in midfield within a minute of entering the field and got yellow-carded. He arrived late for a low Lima cross that would have been a poke-in. Jordan Morris shot wide in the 67th minute and collided with Roldan to deny him of a clear header on goal in the 79th minute.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
2 Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) 111/41 (29)
3 Walker Zimmerman (LAFC) 7/2 (26)
2 Duane Holmes (Derby County/ENG) 1/0 (24)
2 Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) 28/5
nr Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact) 5/0 (27)

TRIVIA. The USA's shutout losses by three goals or more within the last decade: USA 0 Venezuela 3 (2019); England 3, USA 0 (2018); USA 0, Argentina 4 (2016); Costa Rica 4 USA 0 (2016); USA 0 Spain 4 (2011).

June 9 in Cincinnati
USA 0 Venezuela 3. Goals: Rondon 16, 36, Savarino 30.
USA -- Steffen; Lima, Miazga, Long (Zimmerman, 46), Ream (Lovitz, 78); Trapp; Boyd (Morris, 62), Roldan, McKennie (Holmes, 62), Arriola; Zardes (Altidore, 46).
Venezuela -- Farinez; Rosales (Hernandez, 46), Chancellor, Villanueva, Mago; Moreno, Herrera (Figuera, 89); Savarino (Anor, 65), Rincon (Martinez, 61), Murillo (Machis, 66); Rondon (Seijas, 79).
Yellow cards: USA -- Trapp 47, Zimmerman 48, Holmes 62. Red cards: none.
Referee: Bryan Lopez (Guatemala)
Att.: 23,955.

Shots: 13/9
Shots on Goal: 4/4
Saves: 1/4
Corner Kicks: 10/1
Fouls: 16/11
Offside: 2/0
Possession: 50%/50%

23 comments about "USA-Venezuela: Men's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. Kevin Leahy, June 9, 2019 at 7:03 p.m.

    Couldn't watch the second half as it, should have been 4 - 0. This team is unsettled to say the least. McKennie should probably be the anchor of the future with Pulisic. Can we start to solidify a team that can qualify? If G.B. has to keep explaining that sending Sargent packing is better for all involved, he is kidding himself. Gyasi & Jozy are not going to be there through qualifications and I will bet on that. Not to mention Will Trapp. If the Gold Cup is a flop, maybe his time will be over too.

  2. John Lyncheski, June 9, 2019 at 7:45 p.m.

    Sad. Very sad. I was so disappointed and frustrated after the first half that I couldn’t bear to watch the second. What a debacle! What a sorry state for our national team. This is a new low. I had hoped that we would come on strong after the loss to Jamaica and some line up changes, but this was obviously not the case. The Gold Cup will reveal how deep the problems truly are. I doubt there is a quick fix and it’s hard to hard to tell where to assess the blame—too many choices. Go USA, please!

  3. Peter Bechtold, June 9, 2019 at 7:59 p.m.

    Some soccer publications also grade the head coach/manager; what is yours ?
    I am starting to think that our players MUST be better than they have shown in these 2 tune-ups. Are they afraid of stepping outside a very regimented "system" and then play below their potentials ?

  4. Georgie Best, June 9, 2019 at 8:57 p.m.

    So is drawing up a lineup from a list of players who should NEVER be called up to the national team a "thing" ????
    We got our arses kicked by a bunch of MLS and USL players!!!
    Can't wait for the heroic last second 1- 0 a victory against Guyana that will right the ship. Which will be followed by a blowout by Mexico.
    Berhalther we hardly knew ya....

  5. Wooden Ships, June 9, 2019 at 9:16 p.m.

    I’ll have to disagree Mike on your not noticing the quality of Boyd’s service, or at least mentioning it. Perhaps the best technique I’ve seen in many years. Crosses, corners and restarts were driven and bending and consistent. While maybe not considered in the top two at right back I do like the attacking instinct of Lima. Every field player needs to know how to strike a ball and want to strike one. How many more games do we have to endure watching players that don’t have IT at the national level? 

  6. Egan Bailey replied, June 9, 2019 at 9:37 p.m.

    If we use Pulisic and Boyd on the wings, I think we'd get much better service. Boyd's corners were launched right onto the penalty spot almost every time. and a couple of crosses were almost tap-ins.

  7. Egan Bailey, June 9, 2019 at 9:35 p.m.

    Berhalter's "system" is a cover for his incompetence.

  8. Goal Goal, June 9, 2019 at 9:35 p.m.

    We have the same problems throughout the men’s national team program.  The powers that be in Chicago are so impressed with names of our players who belong to named clubs in Europe.  I say belong or members of clubs in Europe.  Nothing is whether these players play regularly for these clubs and most don’t.  Being on a club and playing regularly are two different things whether your playing at A,B OR C LEVEL.  If you aren’t playing regularly in games you aren’t game ready.  I have never seen so many senseless errors made that you wouldn’t expect to see at this level that I attribute it to not being game ready.  Certainly the talent is there they just aren’t ready.  What is more valuable.  Training with big boys or playing regularly?

  9. beautiful game replied, June 9, 2019 at 9:55 p.m.

    How can talent not be ready? Players who have talent get playing time and respond accordingly. Excuses are being made and nothing gets accomplished.

  10. stewart hayes, June 9, 2019 at 10:08 p.m.

    We expect the whole to be better than the sum of the parts.  What we have is the opposite.  I fault the coaching.  

  11. Sam Bellin, June 9, 2019 at 10:51 p.m.

    For me it all starts in center midfield and we are just glaringly weak in that position on the field.  For the past 3 - 4 years we haven't had a player in that spot who even looks comfortable on the ball, let alone able to keep possession under real pressure, or god forbid take on a man one v one or even drive forward at speed into open spaces to collapse the defense.  Every team in the world which is even a mediocre team has at least one or two players like that and the good teams have a midfield full of those players and usually one or both outside backs who play the exact same way (probably converted center midfielders).  Why don't we devolop any players like that?  Or do we develop them and the National Team ignores them because they're often smaller in size?  Can a midfield of Pulisic, Adams, and McKinnie give us stable possession with some dynamic and creative play?  And are Pomykal and Mendez from the U-20's ready for the big-time?  They at least play a similar game to the guys on Senior National Teams that keep crushing us. 

  12. Wooden Ships replied, June 10, 2019 at 12:45 a.m.

    Agree Sam, but I contend it’s much, much longer than 3 years.

  13. Bob Ashpole, June 9, 2019 at 11:37 p.m.

    Here is what impressed me. Before the match, Berhalter was interviewed and what he talked about was making long "vertical" runs to get behind the opponent's back line. In other words his idea for fixing the Jamaica disaster is playing long balls over the top for players to run onto.

    You cannot possible get further from Dutch Style principles of play or positional play than "vertical" running. In the match itself, there was no sign that the US MNT even had a coach.

    I can think of nothing positive to say about this edition of the US MNT.

  14. Ginger Peeler, June 10, 2019 at 3:05 a.m.

    Tab Ramos seems to bring out the best in his players; Greg Berhalter seems to have brought out nothing whatsoever in his. Rather than a team, he had an assortment of players on the field who never really engaged in the if they were all waiting for someone else to make the first move. Really, instead of stepping up and challenging for the ball, time and again, they played passively, waiting for the Venezuelans to make the first move! There was  almost no sign of the players’ “leaving it all on the field” spirit that the USMNT has continually shown, and been known for, over the years. This is one of the poorest games the senior USMNT has mever played. 

  15. R2 Dad, June 10, 2019 at 5 a.m.

    Don’t forget GB’s 2000s-era “system” was chosen over more qualified candidates, after a year-long search by USSF. Is GB the problem or USSF?

  16. Nick Gabris, June 10, 2019 at 11:35 a.m.

    Does anyone know for sure if Tab Ramos was seriously interviewed for the coaching position for the MNT? replace this current team with TR and his U20's, at least they showed heart and determination in their WC. and it was fun to watch and to root for.

  17. beautiful game, June 10, 2019 at 12:17 p.m.

    When the horses can't perform on the race track; they are shipped to pasture. On the contrary, the NT horses hang around for years.

  18. Kevin Leahy, June 10, 2019 at 4:28 p.m.

    R2 Dad it, seems to me it is both.

  19. Sam Bellin, June 10, 2019 at 4:54 p.m.

    Ships I agree its been way longer than 4 years -- I think I was minimizing the crisis at that position and it is a crisis.  You could easily argue that the last real quality center mids we had were Claudio Reyna and John O'Brien in the late 90's and early 00's.  Maybe it's just me but all the Americans I have liked in that position for the last 5 years have either been marginalized or ignored altogether.  Here is my list of those players:  Darlington Nagbe, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden (damn shame with the injuries), Jose "El Gringo" Torres, Mix Diskerud, Sascha Klejstan.  This will be controversial I know but I saw Freddy Adu play as the #10 for the U-20's or U-23's (can't remeber which) and he played superbly with the ball and was the main playmaker in a quick, fluid, effective ground -based attack -- some of the best soccer I've ever seen by the USA.  All of these players have been marginalized in the same way -- not "physical" enough in the middle, dribble too much, can't shoot, don't get "stuck in" enough -- alot of stuff that is really not critical in this position.  When I hear these words what I hear is:  "we're going to win by playing a soccer version of the NFL."  Predictably it's been a disaster.  Let's hope to goodness players like Pomykal, Mendez, Ledezma, Servania don't get marginalized and squeezed out of the team in the exact same way. 

  20. Kent James replied, June 10, 2019 at 10:02 p.m.

    I actually like MB as a defensive midfielder (not a popular stand on this website), but I agree with you on your choice of talented midfielders (especially the first 3, though I think less highly of Diskerud and Klejstan; they both had good skill, but seemed to hesitant).  

  21. Wooden Ships replied, June 11, 2019 at 2:36 p.m.

    Good stuff Sam. I’ll precede Rayna with Hugo Perez. There are a couple others that I played with and against when our National team was an afterthought and thrown together with sack lunches and asking employers for time off. I would have gone with Benny right after South Africa, but our managers didn’t know how to get the best out of him. Which, is partly why Hugo was shunned. Ideas on how to play the game unfortunately too often don’t include skilled playmakers. Benny was always good for at least 2 or 3 sitters per game. 

  22. Kent James, June 10, 2019 at 9:58 p.m.

    I'm generally not one to blame formations, but the 4-1-4-1 seems like a disaster (it also played more like a 4-1-5).  We had the back four (who could knock the ball to each other), Will Trapp in the middle (all by himself, surrounded by Venezuelans) and then it seemed like the remaining 5 players were spread out across the Venezuelan defensive line.  We essentially didn't have a midfield, so the defenders became the "playmakers" and hit balls directly to the front line.  When we had possession in the Venezuelan half, it was very stagnant.  

  23. Bob Ashpole replied, June 11, 2019 at 11:29 a.m.

    Kent ignore the "formation". There is nothing inherently wrong or strange with 1414. Just think of it as yet another name for 433. The only thing 1414 indicates to me is that there is one holding midfielder, which I believe is preferable to having 2. 

    Now the execution of the game plan stunk, but it is what the players did (or didn't do) that was the problem. Changing the "formation" isn't a solution. Changing how the team plays is needed.  

    The classic 433 has 3 CMs sharing roles, but in practice any group of 3 midfielders will fall into patterns in how they support each other while performing the midfield roles, regardless of whether the game plan specifies their roles or not. If they don't adjust and support each other, then by my definition they are not good players. Seems there is a lot of "not adjusting" and "not supporting" going around these days.

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