USA-Qatar Men's Gold Cup Player Ratings

July 29 in Austin, Texas
USA 1 Qatar 0. Goal: Zardes 86.
Att.: 20,500.
* * * * * * * * * *

With the same starting lineup that narrowly beat Jamaica in the quarterfinals (1-0 with an 84th-minute goal) the USA again improved after the subs arrived in the second half, and beat Qatar, 1-0 (with an 86th-minute goal). One imagines Coach Gregg Berhalter will shelve this starting lineup for the Gold Cup final on Sunday in hopes of delivering decent play much earlier in the game.


USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)


Matt Turner made a good diving save on a twice-deflected, long-range low shot in the 19th minute and soared well to tip away a Abdelaziz Hatim volley two minutes later. He needn't do anything on the penalty kick, which Hasan Al Haydos blasted high.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Matt Turner (New England Revolution) 6/0 (27)


Thursday's win marked the USA's fourth 1-0 victory of this Gold Cup and a team with such meager offense needs a solid backline. Against Qatar, Miles Robinson looked unbeatable on the ground and in the air. His central defensive parter James Sands erred three times. On the first, a sloppy cross-field pass that went straight to Al Haydos, but Sands raced back and got in the front of Almoez Ali, who shot wide. The second was the flukish deflecting of a deflection -- it all happened in a split second -- from Boualem Khoukhi's shot that would have gone wide. Instead it forced Turner's big save. The third miscue by Sands -- who came into the game having committed zero fouls in his first three USA starts -- was a penalty-kick foul on Akram Afif. Albeit it took a close VAR intervention to detect the infraction. The USA went unpunished, though, thanks to the PK miss. Otherwise, Sands interrupted several Qatar attacks. Particularly impressive was his 10th-minute interception and surge forward to spark the USA's first attack that ended with a shot. Left back Sam Vines logged lots of mileage without making impactful contributions. Right back Shaq Moore did all he could to combine with right winger Paul Arriola, who wasn't in shape to make much of it, and set up Daryl Dike for a first-half chance with a sharp pass. Moore also made a crisp clean penalty-area tackle in the 12th minute to prevent a close-range shot. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Shaq Moore (Tenerife/ESP) 10/1 (24)

James Sands (New York City FC) 5/0 (21)

Miles Robinson (Atlanta United) 8/2 (24)

Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids) 7/1 (22)


Gianluca Busio misplayed most passes that weren't of the most basic sort and lacked the ability to beat players one-on-one down the flank. His 17th-minute shot went wide by 18 yards. Kellyn Acosta delivered a workmanlike performance and was lucky to escape without a caution for his antics during Qatar's penalty kick -- and earlier in the game for that matter. He passed out of bounds shortly before the halftime whistle when he had plenty of time and space. Sebastian Lletget went from average to outstanding when Berhalter sent in a trio of subs in 63rd minute and the USA started playing deep in Qatar's half, thanks much to Lletget's patience on the ball. He also passed the ball with his head from an interception to Nicholas Gioacchini to spark the winning-goal buildup.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City) 4/0 (19)

Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids) 36/2 (26)

Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy) 27/7 (28)


For the second straight game as a starter after coming off injured in the Gold Cup opener, Paul Arriola simply did not look sharp or fit. Combined with Busio's tentative when not flawed performance, the U.S. right flank for most of the game posed no problems for Qatar. Matthew Hoppe's one shot went straight to the keeper. His mistrap of a simple pass in the 38th was a low point for Hoppe, who for an ineffective forward at least constantly sought the ball to help out the midfield during its woeful first 70 minutes. And Hoppe's pass set up one of the two Daryl Dike shots that Dike hit poorly to the goalkeeper. Dike's first touch, like when he squandered Moore's good pass, was unworthy of a national team player. But the saddest of Dike's misplays came after Sam Vines' Maradona move before a give-and-go that Dike ruined with a square pass out of bounds.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Paul Arriola (D.C. United) 37/8 (26)

Daryl Dike (Orlando City) 7/3 (21)

Matthew Hoppe (Schalke 04/GER) 3/1 (20)


All five of the subs made cases to be starters. Granted, they may have benefitted from what looked like a fatigued Qatar team dejected after the penalty kick miss, but having Cristian Roldan and Lletget on the field together brought composure to the midfield. Nicholas Gioacchini's assist was wonderful. After getting the ball from Lletget, Gioacchini got a nifty return pass from Eryk Williamson and evaded three defenders to send in the pass that Gyasi Zardes slid onto and stabbed into the net.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders) 23/0 (26)

Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew) 61/13 (29)

Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR) 20/1 (23)

Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen/FRA) 6/3 (21)

Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers) 3/0 (24)

TRIVIA: The USA’s eighth-straight win ties the second-longest winning streak since the team won 12 in a row from June 2 to Aug. 14, 2013.

July 29 in Austin, Texas
USA 1 Qatar 0. Goal: Zardes 86.
USA -- Turner; Moore (Cannon, 63), Sands, Robinson, Vines; Busio (Roldan, 63), Acosta, Lletget; Arriola (Williamson, 81), Dike (Zardes, 63), Hoppe (Gioacchini, 81).
Qatar -- Barsham; Pedro Miguel, Al Rawi, Khoukhi, Hassan, Ahmed; Al Haydos (Al Ahrak, 72), Boudiaf, Hatim (Alaa, 88); Almoez Ali, Afif (Muntari, 77).
Yellow cards: USA -- Arriola 54, Moore 62; Qatar -- Boudiaf 40.  Red cards: none.
Referee: Juan Gabriel Calderon (Costa Rica).
Att.: 41,318.

Shots: 6/17
Shots on target: 4/2
Saves: 3/3
Corner Kicks: 4/3
Fouls: 15/9
Offside: 3/0
Possession: 58%/42%
16 comments about "USA-Qatar Men's Gold Cup Player Ratings".
  1. Bob Ashpole, July 30, 2021 at 12:52 a.m.

    I was pleasantly surprised with the result in this match.

    I don't understand why Deke was playing with an injury.

    I thought Busio was misused and that Accosta was ineffective as a pivot while the US was in possession.

    Once again the Keeper had a great game.

    It was clear that the missed penalty was the turning point of the match. The US was energized. Qatar ran out of gas and had nothing left in the tank to deal with the US fresh legs.

    Is it just me or is Zardes really better than he was 4 years ago?

    I think there will be a lot of happy comments on this forum tomorrow.

  2. Goal Goal replied, July 31, 2021 at 12:24 p.m.

    I am trying to figure out why so many are trying to make Busio a star. Only thing consistent about him is that he runs around.  At this level he is just out there at best.  One on one forget it.

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, July 31, 2021 at 10:15 p.m.

    If you cannot see Busio's talent in about 5 minutes, then nothing I will say will help you understand. He has the best fundamentals, fastest speed of play, and most potential of this gold cup squad. Doesn't mean he will make anything out of himself, but the potential is there. No one has said that he has realized his potential yet.

  4. Kent James, July 30, 2021 at 1:01 a.m.

    While Busio did not have a great game (he strikes me as more suited to the middle of the field), 3 seems a bit harsh.  Dike also struggled (not sure why GB left him on for the 2nd half); 2 is harsh, but probably accurate (he seemed to have an injured shoulder?). I'm glad Gioacchini got some playing time, and his sweet hip swivel and no look outside of the foot pass certainly justified his playing time.  I hope he gets more in the final.

    I thought Shaq Moore played a good game, and was somewhat disappointed when Cannon came in for him, but after the subs, that side certainly began to click (Ariola, who otherwise had a poor game, suddenly came alive).  Maybe Cannon knows better than Moore how to play with some of the veterans?  I do hope Moore continues to get playing time. 

    Many people don't like Zardes, but he always puts in the effort and his finishing (and touch) have gotten much better over time.  Nice finish on the goal.  He certainly deserves to play most of the final.  In the interview he also gave a lot of credit to the starters (pretty impressive from an older player who was not starting to allow the younger guys a chance). His assessment was also accurate; Qatar was clearly tired when the subs came in, and the subs just ran rampant over them.  So kudos to him.

  5. Santiago 1314, July 30, 2021 at 1:02 a.m.

    I thought we would have a Good game against Qatar... and we Did...Good, Because; We "Just Won Baby, Win"...
    2nd Place Gauranreed, 500k Prize Money WON.!!!!... That is No Chump Change.!!!... Now, Let's "Spirit of '76" UP and Pull a Dos-a-Zero and we get another 500k.!!!

  6. R2 Dad, July 30, 2021 at 1:05 a.m.

    Despite poor performances all over the field, the US found a way to win. This is of important value to a team that needs to build some mental toughness. Glad they could defend as needed and attack late in the game to get the result. Progress.

  7. Peter Bechtold, July 30, 2021 at 1:40 a.m.

    Goodness, gracious! Four 1-0 victories in which the US played poorly. Some cheerleaders will claim that all that matters is to win and move on in a tournament. I disagree. As just about everyone stated a few weeks ago: From the US perspective, the objective of this Gold Cup was to test whether any players showed enough quality to move up to the "first" team for the WCQualifiers.
    From that perspective M.Turner(GK) succeeded, J.Sands and S.Vines were adequate and M.Robinson was outstanding.
    In the MF it is difficult to identify positives. Certainly not Busio; Acosta and Lletget perhaps as squad players but not starters. (I could imagine a pairing of Acosta and E.Williamson as MFers.)
    Up front the only addition is Hoppe against decent opposition. Dike has played himself off the team for now. The others can play only against minnows which will be hard to find with the ascendancy of Canada and El-Salvador.

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, July 30, 2021 at 3:13 a.m.

    Peter, I certainly didn't say it. The competition at this Gold Cup was always going to be substandard because of the Olympics and upcoming world cup qualifying. Qatar brought their A team, but Mexico also has a team in Japan right now.

    I also disagree that the team played poorly, if you are describing the players' performances. Just because they didn't dominate Qatar doesn't mean that they played poorly. This was a young inexperienced group playing against the current Asian Champions. I thought they gave a pretty good account of themselves. The important thing is that they appear to be improving.

  9. Sean Guillory replied, July 30, 2021 at 1 p.m.

    Excuse me but the whole objective is to win.  Yes we want to develop players but to think they are not developing by playign in these games at a competitive level is foolish.  I cant see how people beleive that playing "attractive soccer" should come befre results.   I did not like the way Greece played in Euro 2004 as  nuetral but they have as many Euro championships as the Netherlands who plays "attractive soccer".  If this team, which is basically a B/C team, beats Mexico I think that should be clebrated.

  10. Santiago 1314 replied, July 31, 2021 at 12:02 a.m.

    Peter... ONE Million Dollars.!!!... The Winner of the Tournament gets ONE Million Dollars.!!! ... Any Question about what PROFESSIONAL Players should be Playing for.??? ... They Play for the MONEY, otherwise go play Amateur Ball... The Money means Bonus Money for each Player(Family members might like/Need that), Staff get Bonuses also...USSF might get to Fund an u14 Girls National Camp, Some Digital Media employee might get to keep their Job in Chicago... Poooo, to your rather Look good LOSING ONE MILLION DOLLARS, Than Winning Ugly.

  11. John Bonini, July 30, 2021 at 4:09 a.m.

    I don't know how the author rates Sebastian Lletget as a 7, but it's the funniest thing I've read all day, and I will continue to laugh into the weekend.

  12. Glenn Manning, July 30, 2021 at 6:18 a.m.

    How is Turner NOT a 10??!!  Without those reaction saves the game is over in the first half  :)

  13. Sam Bellin, July 30, 2021 at 12:30 p.m.

    IMO the US played a pretty good game to beat the Asian champions (loaded with all of their best players), while we were missing at least our 9 best players -- Pulisic, McKennie, Dest, Adams, Brooks, Reyna, Sargent, Aaronson and Steffen.  Miles Robinson has played great.  His recovery speed and on-ball defending is the best we've had at CB in a long, long time (Eddie Pope?).  Acosta and Lletget have been effective enough, and have showed why they belong om the "A Team," although not as starters.  James Sands does a lot of good things and is a strong prospect -- maybe he'd be better as a D Mid?  Moore and Vines have looked solid or even above-average but I still think Reggie Cannon needs to start the Final -- the team level seems to go up when he's in and I don't think its an accident.  Lastly, Dike was so bad he made Jozy Altidore look like Pele.  If Berhalter knowingly let him play injured then shame on him -- if Dike is that inept when healthy enough to play then he should not be in the player pool right now.  Overall it was a tense, fun game to watch and I'm looking forward to the Finals!

  14. Sean Guillory replied, July 30, 2021 at 1:06 p.m.

    Not juist those 9 players but Weah, Yedlin, Richards, Robinson. Musah, Long etc.  People dont understand how far down the depth charts this team is right now.  Some like Robinson will get promoted up, especially with Long injured, but this is an extremly young and expirimental team.   To the person that said Mexico has a team in teh Olympics.  That is ture but their team against Canada had 9-10 starters from that final against the US in Nations League.  This is basically their first team.

  15. Seth Vieux replied, July 30, 2021 at 8:54 p.m.

    Agreed with both of you. The fact our B-/C+ team that includes several players (and regular starters this GC) are absolutely just in try out phase to see if they belong in the periphery of our top 23 pool, is moving along at about the rate we'd generally be happy with for a full first team in Gold Cups past days A LOT about the direction we're moving, and the difference in current ability, let alone potential, between our top 15 or so core players and this group is pretty damn stark.

    I'm still very critical of GBs player selection with regards to wingers for this tourney, but not much else I could possibly complain about. Including only 2 true wingers in Arriola (we know who he is and he's not close to full fitness) and Lewis (we know who he is and he proved it yet again from the first game = not remotely close to the level) is still just staggeringly unbelieveable. We NEED to figure out who can possibly help at a few positions, primarily striker and midfield depth, and he hamstrung all of those guys by creating a squad with no ability to give them reliable wing play from guys that play at least sort of like the 1st/2nd choice guys they'd hypothetically need to combine with if they make the WCQ cut. How are guys like Llanez and/or Mueller not in this group? They both had pretty impressive performances in the chances they've had with the senior team have they not??? Even if they aren't seen as likely to be at the level needed for WCQ they are actual wingers that can do winger things to support the striker and midfield auditions.

    Other than that (and again I'm still unhappy about that success not withstanding), I think GB has been able to succeed on the field while identifying several guys that definitely can (and definitely cannot) contribute in WCQ and WC2022.

    Winners that have clearly earned the right to stay in the running:

    Turner, Robinson, Vines, Acosta (probably already was in), Lletget (was already in), Cannon (probably already in) Sands

    Probably going to at least stay in the conversation:
    Moore, Zimmerman, Zardes, Hoppe (wouldn't it have been great to have some wings so he could play 9 when it was clear Dike ain't there yet??), Gioacchini

    Shouldn't be in the conversation but might still be:
    Dike, Arriola, Roldan (though he has played well), Busio

    Definitely done: Lewis, Yuiell, Pines

  16. Santiago 1314 replied, July 31, 2021 at 7:28 a.m.

    Seth, you prefer Cannon, over Moore.??? ... I don't see it.

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