Commentary

USA-Curacao: Men's Gold Cup Player Ratings

USA-CURACAO EXPRESS
June 30 in Philadelphia
USA 1 Curacao 0. Goals: McKennie 25.
Att.: 26,233.

Out-shot and out-possessed by Curacao, which sits 79th in the FIFA World Ranking, the USA managed a 1-0 win in their Gold Cup quarterfinal thanks to Weston McKennie's headed goal in the 25th minute, set up by a Christian Pulisic cross. The USA faces Jamaica in the semifinals on Wednesday in Nashville.

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

GOALKEEPER

Zack Steffen made a big save on Leandro Bacuna's 84th-minute shot from 20 yards. Steffen, whose other saves were in the routine category, started a couple of U.S. counterattacks with accurate distribution.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew) 13/0 (24)

DEFENDERS

Left back Tim Ream, who defended well against Gevaro Nepomuceno and Elson Hooi, set up Christian Pulisic's 2nd-minute shot and fed Pulisic before he crossed to Weston McKennie for the USA's goal. Central defenders Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman rarely pushed forward when the USA had the ball, which resulted in much chasing back by the U.S. midfielders when Curacao gained possession. Long volleyed high over the Curacao goal from 10 yards after a U.S. corner kick in the 82nd minute. Right back Nick Lima, who usually attacks consistently, did not do so on Tuesday, which contributed to Curacao outnumbering the USA in midfield for much of the game.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
4  Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes) 7/0 (24)
5  Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls) 9/2 (26)
5  Walker Zimmerman (LAFC) 10/2 (26)
6  Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG) 33/1 (31)

MIDFIELDERS

Michael Bradley playing so deep spread the U.S. midfielders so far apart that they struggled to combine, especially in second half, when Curacao had 60 percent of the possession. One would think that the U.S. central defenders shouldn't need so much help from Bradley. In the first half, Weston McKennie's forays through the middle unsettled Curacao, but in the second half the USA reverted to predictable wing play. Christian Pulisic, who played like a forward for much of the game, unleashed his first shot (wide) in the 2nd minute and his second in 4th minute (saved from close range). He shot wide again in the second half and straight to the keeper, but delivered an excellent cross on McKennie's goal after beating Shermaine Martina.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG) 29/11 (20)
4  Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN) 148/17 (31)
6  Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER) 12/2 (20)

FORWARDS

In the first half, Gyasi Zardes frequently made himself available for passes on the frontline and even in midfield. But on one of the few times he got the ball in the second half, Zardes skied his shot over the crossbar, in 79th minute after a Paul Arriola pass. Arriola also set up Pulisic's 4th-minute shot, but otherwise failed to trouble the Curacao defense. Tyler Boyd was caught offside twice, shot wide, struggled in one-on-ones, lost the ball, and over-hit a cross before getting subbed in the 63rd minute.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
3  Tyler Boyd (Vitoria Guimaraes/POR) 5/2 (24)
4  Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew) 49/10 (27)
4  Paul Arriola (D.C. United) 26/5 (24)

SUBSTITUTES

Jordan Morris spent more time defending than attacking after coming on for the last half-hour.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) 29/5 (24)
nr  Omar Gonzalez (Toronto FC) 52/3 (30)

TRIVIA. Fourteen players on the Curacao roster were born in the Netherlands.

June 30 in Philadelphia
USA 1 Curacao 0. Goals: Goals: McKennie 25.
USA -- Steffen; Lima, Zimmerman, Long, Ream; Pulisic, Bradley, McKennie; Arriola (Gonzalez, 90+2), Zardes, Boyd (Morris, 63).
Curacao -- Room; Gaari (van Kessel 75), C.Martina (M.Maria 80), Lachman, Statie (Carolina, 68); Hooi, Bacuna, S.Martina; Nepomuceno, Arias, Antonia.
Yellow cards: USA -- none. Curacao -- Martina 30, Hooi 70. Red cards: none.
Referee: Adonai Escobedo Gonzalez (Mexico)
Att.: 26,233.

Stats:
USA/Curacao
Shots: 10/15
Shots on Goal: 3/5
Saves: 5/2
Corner Kicks: 2/6
Fouls: 5/10
Offside: 2/2
Possession: 48%/52%

23 comments about "USA-Curacao: Men's Gold Cup Player Ratings".
  1. Hal Barnes, July 1, 2019 at 12:59 a.m.

    If Bradley plays, we suck. 

  2. Ben Myers replied, July 1, 2019 at 2:19 p.m.

    Yes!  Why Bradley?  His presence does nothing to develop USMNT for the future.  Are they any  viable number sixes?  If not, make one, train one, promote one or two from U20's!

  3. Bob Ashpole, July 1, 2019 at 1:06 a.m.

    I was expecting McKinnie to be the first player to score the winning goal and receive a 4 rating.

  4. Ginger Peeler, July 1, 2019 at 8:31 a.m.

    Was that the United States version of “phoning it in?

    i question the wisdom of making a 20-year old kid the captain. He’s already expected to become one of the best players in the world by many (most folks subscribing to SoccerAmerica realize how extremely difficult that will be). Did he really need the added pressure of being given the responsibility for the team?  C’mon folks! We ruined Freddy Adu with our expectations and demands, beginning when he was only 14. Pulisic, so far, is holding up well; but did we do him any favors by appointing him captain?  Look, I’ve known people who positively thrive under intense pressure. However, they have all been older. Pulisic is still a kid. Let him continue to be one for a little bit longer and back off. 

  5. Kent James replied, July 1, 2019 at 8:37 a.m.

    I agree Ginger, but I think GB is rotating the captain's band. I hope so anyway.  Generally I think the captain should be an older, more experienced player.  We'll see what happens next game.

  6. Peter Bechtold replied, July 1, 2019 at 10:50 a.m.

    It was supposedly about playing in Pennsylvania, in front of friends and family. Good reasoning by GB ?

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, July 1, 2019 at 3:15 p.m.

    To my way of thinking, Pulisic should not ever be given the captain's band in a competitive match. Nothing that can be controlled should distract him from playing and preparing to play. Not even the coin toss. He doesn't need an arm band to be a leader on the field any more than Bradley does or any keeper.

  8. frank schoon replied, July 1, 2019 at 3:50 p.m.

    I didn't realize Pulisic was the captain....now I know why we played so bad last...we should have had a more mature and older, WOW,  now we what the problem.
    To worry about who is captain out there is rediculous. Ajax has a captain that is 19. 
    This is like while the Titanic is sinking somebody is complaining that someone forgot to flush the toilet on level 2...

  9. E Velazquez replied, July 1, 2019 at 9 p.m.

    after  the last 2 games, one wonders, do we have the right coach?,  it looks like  we dont.
    Would anyone of you choose Zardes and  Altidor  instead Sargent?. . Zardes and Altidor are  slow  unfit to be our number 9.. Tab Ramos should be a consideration or Barros Schelotto Our current coach  is not a coach that will bring results for our  cuntry

  10. Seth Vieux replied, July 2, 2019 at 10:57 a.m.

  11. Seth Vieux replied, July 2, 2019 at 2:33 p.m.

    Haha - definitely agree with you there Frank.

  12. beautiful game, July 1, 2019 at 9:14 a.m.

    Bottom line, tunnel remains dark.

  13. Richard T. Lynch, July 1, 2019 at 10:31 a.m.

    I haven't seen the game yet (vacation) but this sounds more like the Dutch II team than Curacao.  14 born in Holland!!

  14. Peter Bechtold replied, July 1, 2019 at 10:54 a.m.

    Come on, Richard, have you checked out Curacao ? Where it is? Size of population ? ICYMI, it used to be called "Netherlands Antilles".
    And did you forget when Ireland made it to European and World Cup Finals with players born in England, and the occasional grandfather from Eire who had migrated over?
    Anyway, enjoy the game if you DVR'ed it.

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, July 1, 2019 at 3:19 p.m.

    You have the right idea except try Dutch D team instead of B team. 

    This gives everyone a chance to see how the US starting 11 under Berhalter stacks up against Dutch semi-professionals. 

    But for Pulisic, Bradley, and Steffen, the game would have been lost.

  16. frank schoon, July 1, 2019 at 12:18 p.m.

    I have never read or kept up with Curacao soccer ,although from time to time there is a dutch coach in Holland that's offered a job to coach the National team the but nobody wants it. As a matter of fact there are no star players in Holland who are from Curacao and are not known for producing for good players. It is those whose parentage who came from Surinam that produced some good dutch players, like Clarence Seedorf, Ruud Gullit, Vanenburg, Edgar Davids and some from a lower level like Frank de Boer's assistant at Atlanta, who also played for Ajax; but Curacao???
    I thought the US were going to clean their clocks, and questioned why are they even in this tournament, why don't we invite Easter Island natives play in Concacef as well.
    Well I"ll tell you what, if Curacoa had a goal scorer or a real striker it would have been a different game last night.
    When I look at how these players handle themselves with the ball, whipping it around our players while under pressure ,good hard passing, making our players look like Neanderthals in their mannerisms with the ball. Forget the win ,we have got to realize our training methods are not producing smooth, silky, ball handlers.....Instead ,it is all about hard work, hustle ,run, fight and once in a while a nice pass. 
    I don't understand it why it is that in this sport we produce nothing but straight forward  "stiffs" and it shouldn't be that way......

  17. Bob Ashpole replied, July 1, 2019 at 3:25 p.m.

    That matchup was so revealing as a comparison of our starting 11 against what would have been at most a Dutch D team, if the Dutch had a D team, that, even someone who had never even watched a soccer match before, would be appauled at how poorly our team fared. In short, we couldn't dominate and control a match against a team that included semi-pro players.

    Our deficiencies were glaring. This was a reality check for Berhalter.

  18. frank schoon replied, July 1, 2019 at 3:31 p.m.

    Bob, REALITY CHECK !!! I wish I had your way with words...but this REALITY CHECK should point directly to the USSF soccer program for there lies the problem....

  19. frank schoon replied, July 1, 2019 at 3:34 p.m.

    Bob, Mike Woitella should do a story on the Curacao team and find out how they developed as kids and how they learned.
    That would be an interesting story....much better than interviewing Tab Ramos or Anson Dorrance for the 10th time....

  20. james Fitzsimons, July 1, 2019 at 12:36 p.m.

    I agree with almost all of the ratings EXCEPT Zimmerman who I thought deserved a "6", Bradley and Zardes "3's and Morris a "5"

  21. Kevin Leahy, July 1, 2019 at 1:33 p.m.

    Pulisic must feel like a fish out of water with this squad.

  22. James Madison, July 1, 2019 at 1:49 p.m.

    No joy, no passion.  It's back to the WCup qualifying mode

  23. beautiful game, July 1, 2019 at 4:02 p.m.

    Same old repetitive bloggery with excuses and hopeful expectations. Reality check is not being accepted by USNT officianados. Great ideas indulged in commentary are useless without execution; formations without execution are not to blame; it's all about the consistent quality of the player(s) and what they bring to the team table. If a player can't make it happen than hasta la vista; I rest my case 

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