USA-Mexico: Men's Gold Cup Final Player Ratings

July 7 in Chicago
USA 0 Mexico 1. Goals: J.dos Santos 73.
Att.: 62,493

The USA started the Gold Cup final attacking briskly and incisively, while failing to finish. But it was a bad sign that within the first 20 minutes the USA had committed seven fouls to one by Mexico, which ultimately commanded the game for much longer phases than the USA. El Tri came away with the Gold Cup title thanks to a superb shot by Jonathan dos Santos, set up with a clever back-heel by Raul Jimenez. The 73rd-minute goal, a level of brilliance that the USA could not match, held up for a 1-0 victory. The USA was out-shot, 20-11, and had 42% of the possession. But Mexico's win was by no means an easy one for El Tri.


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


Zack Steffen was spared of a heavy workload by some awful Mexican shooting -- Andres Guardado couldn't help but laugh at himself after sending three shots high over crossbar within three minutes in the second half -- and Steffen had no chance on dos Santos' goal. Steffen had to cope with lots of back-passes when El Tri pressured the back line and he handled them safely. One could hardly blame him for sometimes booting to safety, because his defenders passed back with Mexicans chasing nearby. His 5th-minute howitzer to Paul Arriola's head that led to a U.S. chance, however, looked like he may have aimed it.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew) 15/0 (24)


Tim Ream and Matt Miazga delivered long-range passes that created scoring chances for Jozy Altidore and Arriola, respectively. Miazga snuffed a Raul Jimenez close-range shot and, like Aaron Long headed away crosses from the Mexicans, who should have realized much earlier that the aerial attack wasn't their best approach. Reggie Cannon's performance in the highest pressure game the 21-year-old has experienced bodes well for his future. Both he and Ream had to cope with dynamic wingers. The Mexicans' goal was too brilliant to blame on U.S. defenders. But in a game in which both teams pressed, the U.S. backline didn't match their counterparts' skills, especially the ability to break through on a dribble or at least side-step a foe and hit good pass to a midfield. Instead, there were too many back passes to Steffen and the hopeful long balls. Those long balls flattered early on when they landed fortuitously a few times, but they ultimately stopped troubling the Mexicans.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas) 6/0 (21)
6  Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls) 11/2 (26)
6  Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG) 17/1 (23)
6  Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG) 35/1 (31)


It's hard to criticize the individual efforts of the U.S. midfielders. Certainly, Christian Pulisic put a fright into the Mexicans shortly after kickoff, took the most U.S. shots -- three, including two that required saves -- and suffered three fouls that gave the USA free kicks in the Mexican half. But why did he not get the ball for long stretches in the second half? Weston McKennie certainly toiled and covered acres of ground. And so did Michael Bradley, who was a key to the USA's defending. He also hit a great cross-field to Cannon that fell short of replicating the goal against Jamaica. Bradley darting into the Mexican penalty area to receive a Arriola pass in the 87th minute nearly led to the equalizer. But with Bradley and McKennie, the U.S. midfield had two players both trying to do as much as they could in all parts of the field. More defined roles would seem more effective, create more cohesion, and allow a more focused role for Arriola.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG) 31/12 (20)
6  Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN) 150/17 (31)
5  Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER) 14/3 (20)


Paul Arriola, along with Pulisic, most threatened Mexico's defense. He also committed four fouls. A sign that Arriola was saddled with too much defensive work. Jordan Morris' 51st-minute header was cleared off the line by Guardado. It was the only shot on goal by another U.S. player who can be praised for toil and tracking back but saw the ball much less frequently than a forward should. Center forward Jozy Altidore kept going from hopeful to woeful. His two smart touches in the air from Arriola's header sent Pulisic onto a 5th-minute one-on-one with keeper Guillermo Ochoa. The rebound led to an Altidore bicycle kick from 12 yards that landed eight yards short of the goal. Granted, that was difficult maneuver -- it had worked from Altidore against Panama from three yards out -- but shooting wide from 13 yards in the 8th minute after swiftly cutting past Hector Moreno ruined the USA's chance to put the Mexicans behind the eight ball.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
5  Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) 33/5 (24)
4  Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) 115/42 (29)
7  Paul Arriola (D.C. United) 28/5 (24)


Cristian Roldan won two corner kicks and a free kick for the USA, and blasted a shot straight to goalkeeper Ochoa in the 87th minute. Ten minutes after replacing Altidore in the 61st minute, Gyasi Zardes headed a long ball into Pulisic's path for a chance that he shot wide. But otherwise, Zardes didn't provide the composure on the ball the USA needed.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6  Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders) 14/0 (24)
Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew) 51/10 (27)
nr  Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact) 7/0 (27)

TRIVIA. Michael Bradley joined Cobi Jones (164) and Landon Donovan (157) as the third USA player to reach the 150-cap milestone.

July 7 in Chicago
USA 0 Mexico 1. Goals: J.dos Santos 73.
USA -- Steffen; Cannon, Miazga, Long, Ream (Lovitz, 83); Pulisic, Bradley, McKennie; Arriola, Altidore (Zardes, 64), Morris (Roldan, 61).
Mexico -- Ochoa; J.Rodriguez, Salcedo, Moreno, Gallardo; Guardado (Reyes, 89), Alvarez, J.Dos Santos; Antuna (Alvarado, 86), Jimenez, Pizarro (C.Rodriguez, 81).
Yellow cards: none. Red cards: none.
Referee: Mario Escobar (Guatemala)
Att.: 62,493.

Shots: 11/20
Shots on Goal: 3/5
Saves: 4/2
Corner Kicks: 7/3
Fouls: 17/10
Offside: 2/2
Possession: 42%/58%

32 comments about "USA-Mexico: Men's Gold Cup Final Player Ratings".
  1. E Velazquez, July 8, 2019 at 5:15 a.m.

    We had no center forward , the biggest mistake the coach made was not to select and develop  Sargent  . For the slow Zardes with no ball control that is a must for an attacker and for the overweight Altidore  this should be their last match.  Overall Boyd is better than Morris  and he was left out . Do we need  another coach to prepare the  elimination phase of the the next World Cup ? 

  2. E Velazquez, July 8, 2019 at 5:15 a.m.

    We had no center forward , the biggest mistake the coach made was not to select and develop  Sargent  . For the slow Zardes with no ball control that is a must for an attacker and for the overweight Altidore  this should be their last match.  Overall Boyd is better than Morris  and he was left out . Do we need  another coach to prepare the  elimination phase of the the next World Cup ? 

  3. E Velazquez, July 8, 2019 at 5:15 a.m.

    We had no center forward , the biggest mistake the coach made was not to select and develop  Sargent  . For the slow Zardes with no ball control that is a must for an attacker and for the overweight Altidore  this should be their last match.  Overall Boyd is better than Morris  and he was left out . Do we need  another coach to prepare the  elimination phase of the the next World Cup ? 

  4. E Velazquez, July 8, 2019 at 5:22 a.m.

    We had no center forward , the biggest mistake the coach made was not to select and develop  Sargent  . For the slow Zardes with no ball control that is a must for an attacker and for the overweight Altidore  this should be their last match.  Overall Boyd is better than Morris  and he was left out . Do we need  another coach to prepare the  elimination phase of the the next World Cup ? 

  5. Bob Ashpole, July 8, 2019 at 5:31 a.m.

    Mexico played better and was the better side.

    I didn't care for the referee. There were two obvious instances of misconduct that could have resulted in red cards for violent play that were either not seen or ignored by the referee. One against Altidore and the other against Pulisic. Since the misconduct was obvious, I think the referee ignored them. I have seen players ejected for similar actions. I realize that this is CONCACAF but that should not be an excuse.

  6. beautiful game replied, July 8, 2019 at 12:10 p.m.

    Referee did his typically directed FIFA job of selective whistles and no cards on several cardable offenses. Also dismissed persistent fouling by USNT in first half. TV cameras did their usual ping-pong littany of facials or back of the heads that's annoying and detriment to viewer perception of player team movement and passing lanes. Commentary was winded, boring, and totally lacked the informative flavor of the mtach at hand. TV wide-angle view of the pitch is too limited and too many replays have no purpose whatsoever. TV kahunas have no idea of how to handle any sports transmission.  

  7. Carl Neff replied, July 8, 2019 at 12:13 p.m.

    I'm with you on the ref - games like these lead to serious injuries when the ref lets too much stuff go.  In additon to the plays you mentioned above, there were others tackles by players on both teams that at, a minimum, should have resulted in yellow cards.  

  8. Kevin Leahy, July 8, 2019 at 7:50 a.m.

    I think you might want to go back and watch the game again Mike. Michael Bradley was chasing the game constantly. He has become too slow for international soccer against a quality opponent. He was chasing the guy who made the pass to Jimenez on the goal. If you coach against the U.S. high pressure is the way to go. Pulisic might be the only one that can handle it consistently. Having said that, they played with a certain spirit. Which, is necessary for them to compete. If Berhalter insists on Gyasi, Jozy & M. Bradley moving forward it, will be dicey in qualification.

  9. beautiful game replied, July 8, 2019 at 8:37 a.m.

    K.L., agree with your observations. IMHO, Pulisic doesn't have the quality players around him in order to put his stamp in 90-minutes. Altidore's first half miss on a golden opportunity showed that his decision-making process overtook his instincts on the missed opportunity. As for Z&B, they bring zero to the table.

  10. Nick Gabris replied, July 8, 2019 at 11:56 a.m.

    This is getting old! I thought we were done with the old guard? Bradly, Altidore, Zardes, need to retire from the MNT, they are more of a hyndrance than an asset at this level. Past their prime, if they ever had one, that is why they play in the MLS and not in Europe. Question: Were the European players ever called up for this game, other than Pulisic, Mc Kinney?

  11. To Jo replied, July 9, 2019 at 9:42 a.m.

    Couldn't agree more that Bradely deserves a 3 or 4.  In the second half in particular, Bradley looked like he was running on sand. Would like to see his tackle and pass completion percentage.  Family cheered in second half when Bradly finally won ONE tackle!

  12. Kent James, July 8, 2019 at 9:32 a.m.

    The US outplayed Mexico in the first half, but couldn't capitalize on some great chances (always a bad sign).  The Mexican attack in the first half was awful (play the ball to the right wing, let him cross it in the air to our defense, in which aerial defending is our strength, or shoot from distance and have trouble hitting the endline).  The Mexicans played much better in the second half, and we had trouble getting the ball out of our end. All in all, it was an intense but sloppy game where Mexico finished one chance and we failed to do so.  It could have gone either way.

    The referee let way to much go, while calling a foul anytime there was contact from behind and a player goes down (we tend to stay up in such situations while the Mexicans tend to look for the foul, so that hurt us, though it probably did not make a difference in the outcome; it just made for an ugly game).  

    I was disappointed that the American fan base did not come out in anywhere near the force the Mexican fan base did.  It is embarrassing for US soccer to have an overwhelmingly pro-Mexico crowd on US soil for a US-Mexico game.  We need to do better (credit to the Mexican fans).  

  13. beautiful game replied, July 8, 2019 at 12:15 p.m.

    American base is more emotional than knowledgeable. Current USMNT has too many mediocre players that don't deserve being on the roster is not worth the price of admission and the time/expense going to the venue.

  14. humble 1 replied, July 9, 2019 at 11:51 a.m.

    second beautiful game on the calculus.  I was in Chicago - looked at game - week before lowest price was $280 each plus $25 fee = $900 for family of three.  No thanks.  Day of you could see flashes where prices were $180 + $50 fee - still too high.  I realize the USSF internal justificiation on this - the stadium would be all green-white-red if they price it less - reality - it was anyway.  My take is that the real reason they price this way is that they are a greedy lot and price it to pad their coffers.  We paid less than $600 total for Russia, so on principal we stay away.  Wanna grow soccer in USA - make the damn national team games affordable - period.  On the game - USA won final in Chicago in 2007 and 2013 - lost in 2019 against a Mexican team missing some of their best players but giving a chance to young up-and-comers in their place - bottom line - overal decline continues - and - our talent gap with Mexico grows.           

  15. Frans Vischer, July 8, 2019 at 11:52 a.m.

    Looking at the big picture, this was a positive. 2 weeks ago I expected the US, should they face Mexico, to be humiliated. Mexico deserved to win, but they became an attacking team with much potential. Reggie Cannon was a revelation, (deserved more than a 6.) Boyd should have gotten time instead of Zardes. But this is a good beginning.
    Now with this tourament behind us, it's time to integrate younger players. Drop Bradley, (his poor pass in injury time, when we needed a veteran's cool touch...) Altidore, Zardes, Ream. We need a faster, more technical team. Invite half the U20 team and we'll be fine. 
    We'll only get better from here on.

  16. beautiful game replied, July 8, 2019 at 12:18 p.m.

    F,V, anyone who has expectations in soccer or any sport and has ideas of a blow-out because of past performances is fantasy.  

  17. Ben Myers, July 8, 2019 at 11:53 a.m.

    Short and sweet.
    Bradley?  No more, please.  Slow-footed.
    Altidore?  No more, please.  Can't finish reliably.
    Promote U20 players and more European-based studs, e.g. Weah?  Yes.
    Is it the coach or is his the selection of players?  Accurate passing, possession, composure are all abundantly missing from this squad.
    Ramos' U20 squad would give this collection a battle.

  18. John Soares, July 8, 2019 at 12:13 p.m.

    I'm going with "cup is half full".
    Yes the USA lost, but did not embarass themselfs.
    The first half was even, perhaps in our favor.
    Result was much better than most would have expected just a month ago.
    Shows good promise for 2022.
    Agree, Ref did a "poor" job at best.

  19. beautiful game replied, July 8, 2019 at 12:20 p.m.

    Cup half-full for sure. Unless 50% of this current squad is demoted, WC 2022 qualification will be more difficult.

  20. Carlos N replied, July 8, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.

    I believe Weah opted out in order to compete in the U21 World Cup. 

    Jozy Altidore proved once again he has one of the worst 2nd touches in all of football.

  21. R2 Dad, July 8, 2019 at 12:30 p.m.

    Do not understand how a referee from Guatemala can officiate the top competition in the confederation. Does he referee in Mexico? It's not like Guatemala has a top league. Or ever qualified for the World Cup. This is our top referee?

  22. James Madison, July 8, 2019 at 2:48 p.m.

    As often as not Michael Bradley looked befuddled on defense and made unforced errors when in possession.  He should be honored for his 150 caps and allowed to retire from international competition.  Josy generally looked slow and clumsy and should also be allowed to retire.  McKennie ran all over the place, but appeared not to do much with the ball.  Zardes rarely touched the ball.

  23. Wooden Ships replied, July 8, 2019 at 4:34 p.m.

    Maybe Weston would have looked better if Morris is supporting him from touch. Boyd, I guess the stage was just to big for you. This is too much for Berhalter I’m afraid. 

  24. Sam Souza, July 8, 2019 at 4:38 p.m.

    Would have been stellar if you had ratings for both teams to understand the full picture. This is a selfish note as you don't promote the culture of understanding the rival.

  25. Al Gebra replied, July 8, 2019 at 8:54 p.m.

    I agree re rating the Mexican players. It puts the rating of the US players in a more relavent perspective.

  26. frank schoon, July 8, 2019 at 4:53 p.m.

    Forget the score or the chances each team had, that is not a really an issue. 
    The moral of the story of this game is called NO's that simple. Forget about ref calls this and ref calls that...I keep reading the same old garbage in posts about ref calls. I wish that was our problem, after all we play so fantastic that it is only a matter of time that we get right ref.
    First of all we are playing against a team that is much faster in ball handling skills, and have no problem going one on one with the opponent. 
    If you notice where MB is that's where you'll find McKennie. You know MB tends to drop back into the pocket in the backfield, that means one less midfielder and now one more less midfielder, McKennie...there goes your midfield. Cannon the right back is not good with a ball, that is also a problem and then you have Morris likewise not good with a ball on his feet in small spaces posted around midfield. This whole midfield strategy  was doomed to failure.
    Here is the kicker Pulisic is only a threat if he has the ball on his feet, otherwise what does he really contribute to the game. A smart team  can neutralize Pulisic by not allowing  to have the ball which means the Mexican backline and midfield don't make stupid mistakes. 
    We should count are lucky stars that Mexico has weak wing play. I mean if my wing can't beat Reams one on one than I would bench him. At Ajax a wing has to be able to beat his opponent , otherwise we don't need you. What I miss in today's wing besides producing a good cross is the lack of zig-zag movement coming at the defender thus forcing the defender to move likewise ,then wait for that moment he zigs and you zag. Tobin Heath likewise needs to work on the zigzag movement, for a lot of times it appears she's running out of ideas....
    Also the Mexicans should realize that their crosses should be hard to the near post not the in the air to second post, for in order to score on the Americans you need to employ your speed not height for that's a no win situation.
    Also notice when McKennie drops back with MB ,they basically clog any forward movement through middle forcing either long ball passes downfield to our outnumbered guys up front or to our flanks at midfield and that's a loser to start out with if you look who's on the flanks...Cannon, Reams, Morris and Arriola, the latter two who love to run with high octane...

  27. R2 Dad replied, July 8, 2019 at 5:56 p.m.

    GB is not dropping MB, so our midfield has to come up with a band-aid for this handicap. 

  28. frank schoon replied, July 8, 2019 at 6:22 p.m.

    R2, can you suit up for the next game.....

  29. frank schoon replied, July 8, 2019 at 6:36 p.m.

    Guys a got a midfielder for you,

  30. humble 1 replied, July 9, 2019 at 12:08 p.m.

    Spot on - no midfield - and - continuing epidemic of players that cannot withstand pressure and either cough up the ball or more likley send desparate errant passes.  Broken record.  We wish we could play tiki-taka out of the back - but our system is not able to deliver players that have the skills.  To teach a player how to move laterally and backwards and to hold a ball under pressure you actually need to fight against many coaches and the overall system here.  

  31. Sam Bellin, July 8, 2019 at 5:08 p.m.

    Not much more to add.  This was basically a Mexican B Team -- no Lozano, Hererra, Corona, G Dos Santos, Layun -- and they whipped us the way they have for the last 5 years:  They can control the ball with quick, smart, short ground passes and we can't.  The whole game flows predictably for both teams from this starting point -- on the goal J Dos Santos protected the ball at midfield, pivoted away from 2 defenders right on top of him, played a short forward ground pass to feet, and the dominos fell from there and produced a beautiful goal.  In the crucial minutes from 45 - 75 the USA was unable to possess the ball at all, leaving us with useless aerial spray balls or trying to play onthe ground and being stripped in our half of the field every time, leaving Pulisic, a genuine game-changer, with no chance to even touch the ball.  I'd like to see the glass as half-full after the Gold Cup and maybe it is but until we can find 2 Center Backs who can pass and a bevy of midfielders with quick feet and quick brains we are just spinning our wheels some more.

  32. Sam Bellin, July 8, 2019 at 5:14 p.m.

    Just one more comment:  Does anybody know why Zimmerman didn't start at CB?  Was he injured?  IMHO he is a much better player than Miazga or Long and a far superior passer.  If GB can't recognize that or can't understand how much our whole team needs that skilll set at CB he is probably not the coach we need moving forward.

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