Commentary

USA-Trinidad & Tobago: Men's Gold Cup Player Ratings

USA-TRINIDAD & TOBAGO EXPRESS
June 22 in Cleveland
USA 6 Trinidad & Tobago 0. Goals: Long 41, 90, Zardes 66, 69, Pulisic 73, Arriola 78.
Att.: 23,921.

The USA started strong in its second Gold Cup game but didn't hit the net until late in the first half. The floodgates opened in the second half and a 6-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago clinches a spot in the quarterfinals for the USA, which finishes group play on Wednesday against Panama.

USA PLAYER RATINGS
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

GOALKEEPER

Of Zak Steffen's three saves, two arrived in the center of the goal but were hit powerfully, and Alvin Jones' long-distance free kick seemed to take a deceiving path. It took a diving save to stop Kevin Molina's 22-yard shot, for which Steffen was well-positioned.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew) 12/0 (24)

DEFENDERS

Right back Nick Lima, who often turns into a midfielder, gets Assist of the Month for delivering the ball to Gyasi Zardes with a diving header on the USA's second goal. Not all of Lima's wing work succeeded -- and his shot late in the first half may have flown out of the stadium -- but he delivered a fine cross to Christian Pulisic in the 65th minute as the USA was taking over complete control of the proceedings. Central defender Aaron Long scored the USA's first goal with diving header and its sixth by chesting the ball over the line. Long, who struck a particularly impressive long-distance pass to Lima in 32nd minute, adeptly carried out his duties on the USA's end of the field as well. Very much of T&T's attack consisted of long, high balls, most of which ended up headed clear by Walker Zimmerman. The only time T&T managed a shot near the U.S. goal, Tim Ream blocked Levi Garcia's effort. Ream's passes included setting up a Tyler Boyd shot and a Paul Arriola breakthrough.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
7  Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes) 6/0 (24)
8  Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls) 8/2 (26)
7  Walker Zimmerman (LAFC) 9/2 (26)
6  Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG) 32/1 (31)

MIDFIELDERS

A major improvement was revealed early in the game as Christian Pulisic consistently received the ball, thanks to Michael Bradley's sharp passing, and the connection between Pulisic and Paul Arriola on the left wing. On the right, Tyler Boyd ensured that the Soca Warriors were pressured from both flanks. Boyd, who scored twice in the 4-0 win over Guyana, had no luck with his five shots against T&T. He tied Khaleem Hyland in knots to get a clear shot in 15th minute but it flew straight to the goalkeeper. Weston McKenni, who hit a cunning pass to Arriola that the winger should have turned into a goal and took the shot that led to Long's second goal, fiercely patrolled the midfield. But self-control is still lacking. His five fouls included unnecessary clashes in the T&T half and he got yellow-carded for interfering and escalating an incident that didn't concern him. Arriola's miscues -- poor shooting and a shot he skied out of bounds with three teammates in the penalty area whom he could have served to their feet -- delayed the rout. But he stabbed home the fifth goal and was well involved during the USA's late-game waves of attack. Bradley truly orchestrated the U.S. game with his superb and at times clever passes, one of which went to Lima on the second goal. Pulisic's curving ball across the penalty met Long on the first goal, he sliced through T&T to assist Zardes' second goal, and coolly scored from close range. He capped his evening off with a dazzling nutmeg.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6
  Paul Arriola (D.C. United) 25/5 (24)
8  Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG) 27/11 (20)
8  Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN) 147/17 (31)
7  Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER) 11/1 (20)
6  Tyler Boyd (Vitoria Guimares/POR) 3/2 (24)

FORWARDS

For much of the game it looked like Gyasi Zardes would put in a good day's work by being a target in the heart of T&T's defense, getting the ball, then dishing it back to midfielders for them to shoot or swing it out to the wings. He did just that in the 66th minute, but this time he was on the end of the sequence to make to 2-0. Three minutes later, he bent in a shot from 16 yards to make it 3-0.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
8  Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew) 47/10 (27)

SUBSTITUTES

Jordan Morris assisted twice. He picked out Pulisic after patiently keeping possession in the penalty area until Pulisic arrived. His service to Arriola made for the easiest of finishes. He also delivered a neat chip into the center that McKennie acrobatically mis-hit. Jozy Altidore got the ball to Morris before the fifth goal. In his cameo appearance, Reggie Cannon sent the ball in from the wing on the final goal.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) 29/5 (24)
6  Jozy Altidore (Toronto) 112/41 (29)
6  Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas) 3/0 (21)

TRIVIA. Since Trinidad & Tobago beat the USA in World Cup qualifying in October 2017, the Soca Warriors have played 14 games and have won twice, over the United Arab Emirates (2-0) and Guadeloupe (1-0). The results included a 1-1 tie with Guyana, which the USA beat, 4-0, in its Gold Cup opener last Tuesday.

June 22 in Cleveland
USA 6 Trinidad & Tobago 0. Goals: Long 41, 90, Zardes 66, 69, Pulisic 73, Arriola 78.
USA -- Steffen; Lima (Cannon, 84), Zimmerman, Long, Ream; Boyd (Morris, 61), Pulisic, Bradley, McKennie, Arriola; Zardes (Altidore, 74).
Trinidad & Tobago -- Phillip; Paul, Cyrus, David, Jones; Hyland (Molino, 17), Hackshaw, Garcia (Peltier, 77), George; Cato, Lewis (Jones, 68). 
Yellow cards: USA -- McKennie 58. T&T -- Jones 39, Cyrus 58, Jones 86. Red cards: none.
Referee: Hector Said Martinez (Honduras).
Att.: 23,921

Stats:
USA/Trinidad & Tobago
Shots: 27/9
Shots on Goal: 12/3
Saves: 3/6
Corner Kicks: 6/2
Fouls: 16/15
Offside: 2/0
Possession: 66%/34%

18 comments about "USA-Trinidad & Tobago: Men's Gold Cup Player Ratings".
  1. Bob Ashpole, June 23, 2019 at 1:11 a.m.

    What a relief this match was. It was great to see Zardes score some goals and Steffen make some saves.

    The player that impressed me the most was Pulisic. He was the best player on the field today, and he hasn't played regular in a long, long time. He looked like he was under a lot of pressure, so he must have felt relieved after the US got the result.

    This match is something to build on.

  2. R2 Dad, June 23, 2019 at 2:32 a.m.

    The team looked good out there in the second half, the players were scoring and smiling--what's not to love? With the exception of Mexico, CONCACAF gives USSF the false impression that everything is fine, we're progressing, Couva is behind us. But we can't really tell until the World Cup/Copa Centario where we face real competition--friendlies against top teams don't mean that much. While I'm glad the team is gaining belief, I still haven't bought in to this GB system. Because the moment we get pressed, the wheels will fall off. Do GB have countermeasures against that? I would love to hear more from GB, because the Nats will need to be able to play different formations/player mixes/tactics to advance in Qatar. Can't wait to play Mexico to see what GB has up his sleeve.

  3. Ginger Peeler, June 23, 2019 at 2:42 a.m.

    Oh my gosh!!! All of you Bradley haters must be positively apoplectic!  Bravo, USA!!! It’s just one game, but it does ignite the flames of hope. 

  4. R2 Dad replied, June 23, 2019 at 7:02 a.m.

    Broken clocks tell the correct time twice per day! In his case, a broken Six. We'll see how Grandpa Bradley does by the end of this tourney. I stopped counting his backpasses in the first half--thankfully he had more time on the ball to finally turn upfield in the second.

  5. Sam Bellin replied, June 23, 2019 at 10:51 a.m.

    Ginger, I'm not a "Bradley hater" and I'm super happy the USA had a big win against a respectable opponent.  The second half in particular was fast, well-played and exciting -- all of the goals were well-constructed and finished and we could have had several more of them.  I thought Bradley was mostly solid, did a better job of getting turned and looking forward, and hit a perfect ball to Lima to help set up the second goal.  The whole midfield was excellent -- Pulisic and McKinnie simply overwhelmed T and T with their speed and non-stop running.  At the same time, I still think Bradley is not quick enough -- with and without the ball -- to be the midfield anchor against better competition, especially in 2022 when he will be 35 years old!  I don't think it makes me a "hater" to suggest that team USA try to devolop younger, quicker players in this position.

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, June 23, 2019 at 12:59 p.m.

    Soccer that relies on "speed and non-stop running" and depends on the physical skills of CMs is fine for playing 3rd rate teams, but won't be consistently successful against teams playing good soccer. These days Manchester City doesn't select players because they run a lot. If a team has to run a lot more than its opponents, that is an indication that their play is inferior. Good teams control the game so that their opponents have to run alot.

    As far as sprinting speed goes, at the top level, it is often necessary for flank players to chase the play, but the play comes to the central players. They only sprint to recover after mistakes.

  7. Ric Fonseca replied, June 23, 2019 at 1:44 p.m.

    Great pointGinger!!!  Though I wonder why MW rates McK a point higher than Arriola?!?!?  McK is a time bom waiting to go off, he gets involved in matters not affecting him, and it is just a matter of time before the opponents will pressure him reletlessly before the fuse goes off and he'll be red carded.  As for MB, he did revert to his old style, but seemed to finally begin to play collectivelly, and most notably, this is ONE of the games that I've seen the US players "bombard" the PAS from outside, in fact I remember an old UK training 16mm film "Pass-Dribble-Shoot" that perhaps the coach saw and imparted the lesson learned to the team.  Lastly, "overconfidence" has always been the USMNT's weakness, so hopefully the Jefe Coach, remembers....  

  8. Sam Bellin replied, June 23, 2019 at 5:43 p.m.

    Bob you make a good point and I agree with you that "speed and non-stop running" without solid technique and strong field sense will not beat good teams, especially in the center of the pitch where it is crowded and quick feet and quick decisions are paramount.  I should have been more specific in my compliments of Pulisic and McKinnie:  Pulisic's speed was very effective in making drving runs with the ball which opened up a lof of useful space to exploit; McKinnie utilized his speed to disrupt / steal / intercept the ball repeatedly in the middle third during our second half outburst which was critical in enabling us to sustain the offensive rampage.  Both players used the ball skillfully and wisely against T and T -- not the "big, fast, but unskilled" American sterotype that I agree we need to move away from.  And you're right that the question becomes:  Can Pulisic penetrate and create off the dribble like that against tougher opposition?  Can McKinnie harness his speed and ball hawking to break up plays without excessive fouling and needless confrontations?  Can the two of them play smart and consistent one and two touch to maintain possession without relying strictly on athleticism all the time?  I'd like to think the answer is yes, and I'd really like to think that Tyler Adams can be just as good when healthy.  The 3 of them could provide a strong midfield foundation for the next Cup run.

  9. Kent James, June 23, 2019 at 10:36 a.m.

    Evidently Bradley and Zardes don't really suck, and can play at this level.  Like most players, sometimes they have bad games..  Zardes was very quiet in the first half (didn't really see the ball much), but certainly came alive in the 2nd.  Counting the header the keeper made an excellent save on, and his shot that hit the post, he concievably could have had four goals.  Does this great 2nd half performance mean he should be the US striker? I don't think so (one performance doesn't seal your position).  While he plays adequately with his back to goal, that's not his strength, so if that is the system Berhalter wants to play, I don't think Zardes is the best choice.  But it's good to have alternatives.  


    As for Bradley, yes he's aged, and he sometimes get caught in possession (though in his defense, most central midfielders do, though in fairness to his critics, he gets caught more than he should).  But he still has (as far as I can tell) a motor that never stops, he's very good at switching the field of play and connecting the defense to the offense, and he's excellent at seeing the field and hitting passes to runners getting behind the defense (his pass to Lima that set up a goal being a superb example of that).   Will Trapp seems to be the alternative to Bradley, and while he seems pretty solid, I don't think he switches the field or hits the penetrating passes as well as Bradley does. So while Bradley ain't perfect, it is not yet time for him to retire from the USMNT.  He also seems to be a pretty important leader on the team, which should not be underestimated, as he can help the players around him play better.


    Yes, this was against a pretty weak team, but I think the US onslaught broke them down, which made them look weaker than they were.  And the US can only play against the team that's on the field.  It was nice to see the team let loose and be rewarded for it.


    I have generally been impressed with McKinnie, though I can't figure out why the refs in the last two games didn't seem to like him.  I thought in both games he was being called for many things that were questionable, so I get while he was upset (though he shouldn't compound the situation by getting involved in altercations...ah, the energy of youth...).


    Bottom line, while this does not make up for our last game against T&T, it helps.  While it's important not to put too much weight into such a scoreline, we are making progress.  Panama will be a better test, and just the sort of test we need.  But we're allowed to enjoy the moment...

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, June 23, 2019 at 1:21 p.m.

    Kent, in my mind Bradley demonstrated he was a good player long ago. To continue playing he only has to convince the coach that he is one of the top 3 CMs in our player pool. Complaints about his performance are just noise.

    About Zardes, he played well and I am happy for him, but his weaknesses are still his weaknesses. Zardes actully plays better as a winger (where he has more time and space and can run at the defense), but he has a lot of competition in the pool ahead of him at that position.

    McKennie was lucky not to be ejected. While there is a lot to like about his attacking play, he is a defensive liability in my view until he demonstrates that he can defend successfully without fouling and demonstrates that he is in control of his temper. A professional foul is a calculated one, not one made in anger. 

     

  11. beautiful game, June 23, 2019 at 10:49 a.m.

    These type of player ratings do not show up playing tougher opposition.

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, June 23, 2019 at 1:31 p.m.

    Silly me, I still dream of US MNT playing attacking football against the top teams. 

    At least we didn't play a counterattacking 442 in the first two gold cup matches. We can talk about playing better, but the fact that everyone assumes that we will not play a 442 at home against CONCACAF minnows is a success of sorts. 

  13. Charles Stamos, June 23, 2019 at 11:53 a.m.

    A good 2nd game, after a poor 1st one. Happy to see that the starting 11 stayed the same. Don't get too optomistic as this is just a baby step to becoming a good national team. It will be OK to change out 5-6 players for the Panama match. We should be healthy now and need to stay that way and protect any players from yellow/red cards especially if they do not reset for the knockout round. 

    The forward and attacking midfield line with Gardes, Morris, Arriola, Boyd, and Pulisic had a productive game. They will need to step it up against stronger opponents. I would like to see some more inidividual attacking runs a la Pulisic as the better teams will not allow such easy passing attacks. 

    Bradley played well and got the hockey assist a couple of times; with Pulisic getting the primary assist. A great, diving header by Lima created a goal. There were no spectacular shots from distance as T and T provided a couple of times. Steffen made one save easily and almost misplayed the other. I wonder if we can score free kicks.

    The defence is a work in progress showing potential, but not tested by a quality attack yet. They should not be broken up against Panama for at least a half, barring injury or card concerns. I like Bradleys role as the defensive back infront of the back line, but he needs more support. 

    Hopefully, we improve with each game and can get a couple of quality games against Costa Rica and/or Mexico. A good start; let's see a good finish.

  14. John Soares, June 23, 2019 at 12:34 p.m.

    Give Mike a break... he is rating the game that happened, not some future encounter.
    I'm sure if we had played Germaby and sucked. Ratings would reflect THAT game.
    Bradley is still "our" best. He is the calming efect on the field.
    Anyone that objects to backward passes obviously has never watched Barca.
    For the record, they play pretty decent soccer

  15. R2 Dad replied, June 23, 2019 at 3:20 p.m.

    *snork* 
    Barca triangles = Bradley backpassing?
    Frank can school you on why running towards your own goal, with no pressure on your back, only to receive then pass back to your back line (or a square pass) is a waste of time if you aren't manipulating the spacing of your opponent. That thought never occurs to Bradley, he's just unloading the hot rock.
    You should watch Take the Ball, Pass the Ball to understand Barca training methods. Henry talks about making a dummy run where he never touched the ball 8 out of 10 times, but nevertheless had to make that run in order to create the necessary space. Bradley only passes to feet, never runs off the ball and can't dribble, and that why he's crap. And now he's over 30 and slower. 
    I would argue that having him as a liability in the defensive half outweighs the occassional on-target pass or goal in the attacking half. In fact, that perfectly described his play yesterday. First half, useless backpasser. Second half as the T&T midfield dropped off, passes to Lima in the buildup to the tap-in goal. 

  16. James Madison, June 23, 2019 at 11:48 p.m.

    When is Berhalter going to finally give up on Altidore?  

  17. Ginger Peeler, June 23, 2019 at 11:50 p.m.


    • Gentlemen, there’ve been prople insisting that Bradley was/is inept ever since his dad was named the USMNT coach.  At that time, they insisted that he was only on the team because his dad was the coach. Nepotism! For shame! They’ve never stopped calling for his dismissal, although the reasons for their demands have had to change over time. It’s been going on for YEARS! Sorry if I got a little snarky...I just knew Bradley’s 8 rating would drive some folks nuts!  Sometimes I get worn down with all the doom and gloom and in-depth criticism (“the team and all the players are totally without merit, etc, etc”). Personally, I do not expect Bradley to be playing in the upcoming World Cup. Although Preki played into his 40s, I don’t see Bradley doing the same. Tab’s U20 team had the most depth I’ve ever seen for a United States national team. Some of that’s heading our way. It’s exciting. 

  18. Seth Vieux replied, June 24, 2019 at 3:35 p.m.

    Definitely agree Ginger

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