USA-Mexico Men's World Cup Qualifying Player Ratings

Nov. 12 in Cincinnati, Ohio
USA 2 Mexico 0. Goals: Pulisic 74, McKennie 85.
Att.: 26,000.
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The USA delivered the game plan that Coach Gregg Berhalter promised  -- "high press ... put speed in the game ... make it uncomfortable for them" -- and pulled off the most dominating U.S. win over Mexico in the rivalry's World Cup qualifying history. Mexico's frustration mounted amid the game's frenetic pace, the USA matched Mexico in possession, out-shot El Tri 18-8, and Christian Pulisic put the USA ahead five minutes after his second-half arrival off the bench. Weston McKennie's goal revived the dos a cero tradition.

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


Mexico had the best chance and most impressive attacking sequence in a hectic first half when its slick passing broke the USA's high press and sent Chucky Lozano through for a low shot from 16 yards that Zack Steffen blocked with a darting dive save in the 18th minute. Steffen also looked good six minutes earlier with a diving save, although Edson Alvarez's well-placed shot from outside the penalty area lacked power.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG) 25/0 (26)


The relentless pressure that the U.S. midfield applied to successfully disrupt Mexico's buildups limited El Tri's ability to test the backline, which did intervene successfully when it had to. Central defender Walker Zimmerman headed clear a 57th-minute cross after the Mexicans broke through for the first time in the second half. His central partner Miles Robinson started strong with a 2nd-minute tackle on Jesus Corona but his second yellow-card foul sent him off in the 89th minute -- late enough that it didn't cost the USA. Left back Antonee Robinson tended to trouble the Mexicans until his final pass, although he set up a couple shots. DeAndre Yedlin played competently enough allow Yunus Musah freedom to surge forward.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/TUR) 70/0 (28)

Miles Robinson (Atlanta United) 15/3 (24)

Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC) 21/2 (28)

Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG) 18/1 (24)


The marauding Weston McKennie capped his all-around performance by stroking home the USA's second goal, after which he showed deep in the U.S. half to end a rare Mexico attack. Yunus Musah's midfield support contributed to Tim Weah's outstanding performance. Tyler Adams filled in the gaps when his midfield companions and the outside backs attacked.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP) 10/0 (18)

Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER) 21/1 (22)

Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA) 28/8 (23)


Left winger Brenden Aaronson's first corner kick didn't get past the first Mexican defender and later efforts were better but ineffective. His 18th-minute shot went straight to keeper. Tim Weah showed signs of being the USA's sharpest attacker in the first half when his low pass created a chance for tightly marked Ricardo Pepi, who came inches short of reaching it for a solid shot. Early in the second half, Weah blazed through to serve up the USA's best chance at that point, McKennie's shot that Ochoa saved. In the 74th minute Weah, delivered the perfect cross for Pulisic to score the go-ahead goal. Weah even contributed on the other end with a solid tackle to end a Mexican attack. Pepi's hustle contributed significantly to Mexico's inability to find routes out of his own half,  but his scoring touch failed him when the ball popped up to him 10 yards out. He shot high over the crossbar.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Tim Weah (Lille/FRA) 17/1 (21)

Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas) 5/3 (18)

Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT) 14/5 (21)


Christian Pulisic followed the script the USA had hoped for -- producing what the USA needed within the few minutes he was limited to because of his injury recovery. Making his qualifying debut, Jesus Ferreira shot wide in stoppage time.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG) 41/17 (23)

Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids) 43/2 (26)

Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas) 3/2 (20)

Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER) 5/0 (21)

TRIVIA: Friday's game marked the 73rd USA-Mexico encounter, dating back to 1934. The head-to-head record now stands at 22 USA wins, 36 Mexico wins, 15 ties. Since 2000, the USA has won 17, lost 9, and tied 6.

Nov. 12 in Cincinnati, Ohio
2 Mexico 0. Goals: Pulisic 74, McKennie 85.
USA -- Steffen; Yedlin, M.Robinson, Zimmerman, A.Robinson; Musah (Acosta, 82), Adams, McKennie; Weah (Richards, 90+1), Pepi (Ferreira, 82), Aaronson (Pulisic, 69).
Mexico -- Ochoa; L.Rodriguez, Dominguez, Vasquez, Gallardo; Romo (C.Rodriguez, 74), Alvarez (Funes Mori, 83), Herrera; Corona (Alvarado, 75), Jimenez, Lozano.
Yellow cards: USA -- M.Robinson 59, 90, Steffen 68, McKennie 68; Mexico -- Romo 45+1, L.Rodriguez 68. Red cards: USA -- M.Robinson 89; Mexico -- none.
Referee: Ivan Barton (El Salvador)
Att.: 26,000.

Shots: 18/8
Shots on target: 5/4
Corner Kicks: 5/3
Fouls: 12/13
Offside: 0/1
Possession: 49%/51%
58 comments about "USA-Mexico Men's World Cup Qualifying Player Ratings".
  1. John Sabala, November 13, 2021 at 6:08 a.m.

        An Overall Very Good Performance and Great Result
    The players ratings for the most part are accurate, but there are two that are wrong IMO.  A. Robinson should have been a 4 at best.  He was the weakest link on the pitch. Time and again he single handedly destroyed potential goal scoring opportunities with terrible passing, terrible touches and poor positioning on the left wing.  He should have been sub for Scally.  He is not good in 1v1, in tight spaces and his touches are unreliable.  M. Robinson should have got a 5.  The second yellow was a flop on the breakaway and did not warrant a second yellow.  M. Robinson played very well with Zimmerman and made mostly sound decisions.  Now to the game....

    Kuddos to GB to come out and press the Mexican team for most of the game and the team sticking with possessing and bulding from the back.  Team fitness was key for this to happen and with the few times of the press being broken, or poor passes in the back there were not too many dangerous chances created despite the possession being 50/50.  I hope so many doubters of T. Weah see why he is so much better option on the wing.  A key to the US success was the work between Yedlin and Weah connecting play with either Musah or McKennie.  On the left side A. Robinson kept this from happening on the left.  Mexico stuck with same tactics to constantly foul our best player in previous matches, Aaronson.  They effectively removed him from influencing the game and all but raped him in the process.  CP showed why he is needed for the team, as he is only on the pitch 20 minutes and gets the breakthrough goal making a great run.
           NEXT POST

  2. John Sabala replied, November 13, 2021 at 6:15 a.m.

    For all of the Sargeant naysayers, Pepi looked human this game and got few opportunities to put the ball in the net and those attempts were poorly taken.  His pressing greatly helped the team, but the hold up play and tight space passing has a long way to go.  One great find of McKennie from the box.  A great expericene for him, but also for the whole team to build upon.  Sounds a lot like Sargeant's play for the USMNT when he did not get any service to attempt to score.  Now lets not have a let down against Jamaica and there is still no room for dropping points. Jamaica will play with reckless abadonment and physicality to even the odds.  Take note, Pulisic was only on 20 minutes and was taken to ground 4 times by hard fouls......this will continue.

  3. Santiago 1314 replied, November 13, 2021 at 8:09 a.m.

    Player Rating Too Low.... This was MEXICO, Not El Salvador

    I think Everyone, Including Myself, Never Expected this to Turn into a Mano-a-Mano Track Race..."Team Play" was Minimal, but it wasn't Needed.
    Once USA Players Figured Out, That because we are Bigger and Faster Athletes, Mexicans couldn't take the Ball from us Without Fouling US, Game became a "Track Race"
    It was a Reversion to the USA of the Last 20 Years... And the Results were the Same...2-0.!!!

  4. John Sabala replied, November 13, 2021 at 9:25 a.m.

       Hey Santi,
    The only person playing a track meet with A. Robinson and as I stated he was the weakest link on the pitch.  Play was connected, we just moved the ball upfield much quicker and our midfield turned upfield most of the time when they received the ball instead of playing back or just out wide.  Musah for me was key as he could not be taken off the ball by the Mexican midfielders and came back deep to cover when needed...aka when McKennie or A. Robinson was out of position.  This helped protect the backline most of the evening.  All three midfielders did a good job of dropping to cover when needed.  The thing that helps McKennie besides his athleticism is the ability to make those timely runs from the midfield. This is what has helped him at Juventus again recently.  I will take him everyday over Llegett, Roldan or almost any other attacking mid at the moment.

  5. Kent James replied, November 13, 2021 at 11:25 a.m.

    John, while I generally agree with your assessment, Antonee Robinson was able to move past the Mexicans at will, and I think can be a valuable offensive weapon.  But you're right, some of his passes were atrocious; I'm hoping that can improve.  Not the greatest defender but his quickness does allow him to recover.  

    Musah was excellent with the ball.  Not only holding Mexicans off, but letting the ball run into space with superb timing. I like the way he plays (and we don't have a lot of players like him).

  6. Seth Vieux replied, November 13, 2021 at 1:19 p.m.

    Musah was marvelous last night, and the ref allowed him to be dragged down from behind after turning past and carrying the ball far too many times. Only remember him blowing the whistle once on fouls on Musah, and should have been 4-5 times, all of them potentially yellows for intentionally dragging him down from behind to stop promising attacks.

    A. Robinson's final ball was certainly lacking, but he was immensely important to this win by forcing Tecatito to play so far back that he rarely was able yo-to present any attacking threat.

  7. Santiago 1314 replied, November 13, 2021 at 1:26 p.m.

    Kent, while Musah did Do Well in Physically Holding Off the Opponent, as Ggg said; Musah Job is TO RUN AT OPPONENT...This Job of his He PASSED UP(or OFF I should say)...He had NUMEROUS OPPORTUNITIES to do His Job... it's Not his Job to Cover at Def.Mid

  8. Sam Bellin replied, November 13, 2021 at 5:28 p.m.

    Love that MMA midfield!  Not as technically efficient as Spain or Italy but so powerful both running with and tackling the ball!  A few poor passes, true, especially Adams in the first half, but overall we thoroughly outplayed the Mexicans in the midfield and when was the last time that happened?  Hopefully GB starts the same lineup at Jamacia and Busio covers the #8 role in a manner similar to McKennie. 

  9. Santiago 1314 replied, November 13, 2021 at 7:22 p.m.

    Yes Sam... Literally a MMA Midfield for the USA... No way the Mexicans can go Mano-a-Mano against those 3

  10. Santiago 1314 replied, November 14, 2021 at 6:48 a.m.

    JS; as for Aaronson; He Continues to set the "Tempo" for the 3 Forward Press... He was Excellent, AGAIN... Is Ggg going to SIT Him when Reyna comes Back.???... Tough Call.!!!
    Pepi; I would prefer Dike, if we are going to Ball "Turbo". His Game is not Suited to a Fast Paced Mano-a-Mano Track Meet. Jamaica will Expose this even more so I think.

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, November 16, 2021 at 1:17 a.m.

    Santi, I disagree with GB and your view of the role of a CM on the ball in a 433. His top priority is to get the ball to a forward in a dangerous position before the defense can adjust. He does that by passing, not dribbling the ball to the forward. The midfielder can use dribbling to unbalance the defense and create space for the forwards. Such as when an opponent is screening the opposing back line. Dribbling at him forces him to commit opening space up for the forwards. Then you distribute the ball. 

    Even wingers dribble past opponents until a CB is forced to move wide to defend leaving more space in the center, then the winger crosses. The wingers job is to service the strikers (unless the winger cuts inside in effect switching positions). 

    CAMs are really playing like second strikers rather than midfielders. Different role. They usually play ahead of the ball. In my mind I divide the roles of the midfielder in position in terms of the relationship to the ball. Playing ahead of the ball, on the ball, and behind the ball. The best midfields have midfielders equally adept at all 3 roles. Makes for a very unpredictable and entertaining attack.

  12. Santiago 1314 replied, November 16, 2021 at 11:46 a.m.

    Bob, OBVIOUSLY: 1st thing is to ALWAYS Pass to a Player Ahead of you who is Open.!!!
    What I HATE is Players who PASS OFF The Responisbility to a COVERED Player when they have the Ball and a Chance to RUN Forward at the Defense...
    If you Steal the Ball from a Player that is Running "NORTH", While you are Running "SOUTH":

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, November 16, 2021 at 1:12 p.m.

    Santi, that I agree with. Carrying the ball is the last choice for a back or midfielder.

  14. Bob Ashpole, November 13, 2021 at 7:02 a.m.

    What a wonderful result!

    While results are what is recorded in the history books and what counts toward winning, results and performance are two different things. The result here was fantastic, but the performance was anemic. 

    The biggest problem was fiinishing. When Pulisic scored the flaw was underscored. Pulisic alone made a move in the box. No one else was in a supporting position. They were waiting for the ball to come to them.

    In the seconds before McKennie scored I was actually thinking that he was having a bad game. Then he got a lucky rebound and scored. I was then thinking that his unassisted insurance goal was going to make McKennie the hero of the match to fans and commentators.

    McKennie is a gifted athlete and headstrong, but his skills are deficient. He makes too many bad decisions and his positioning is poor. 

    The result doesn't change the quality of the overall performance, but it does make us extremely forgiving of poor performance.

    I am simply very relieved that Pulisic made it off the field apparently uninjured. 

  15. Santiago 1314 replied, November 13, 2021 at 8:20 a.m.

    Bob, I was Like you...McKenNIE,  Needed to be Yanked, before we got a 2nd Yellow...We almost ended up Playing TWO men short.
    But as for his Play; He is the Heart of this Team, The Erratic, Sporadic, Dynamic that others Teams Midfielders can't Cope with...
    Even his Coach at Juventus, that wants to get Rid of him, STARTS Him EVERY Game now..!!!

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, November 13, 2021 at 8:52 a.m.

    Agreed, Santi. Can't live with him, can't live without him.

    The play of the match, of course, was Weah's cross and Pulisic's finish. I loved that the goal was scored during the run of play. Against Mexico.

  17. John Sabala replied, November 13, 2021 at 9:32 a.m.

      Santi and Bob,
    I agree with you that McKennie did struggle for much of the match, but did not do anythign that was fatalistic for the team.  I was so suprised A. Robinson did not get pulled at halftime.  Killed so many potential goal scoring chances.  Made nts about Pulisic's run shows the application of his knowledge and skill to play versus guys like Pepi, Roldan, Arriola, etc....  He delivers time and again despite getting the crap beat out of him. Aaronson got a big taste of it last night.  

  18. Santiago 1314 replied, November 14, 2021 at 6:29 a.m.

    JS, maybe I want Clear... I thought McKenNIE was Excellent... an 8 for me... I just wanted him out because, Mexico would "Target" him for 2nd Yellow, and we would be playing a Man Short... I didn't Expect M.Rob to get the 2nd Yellow... I must have Missed the First One; I was Watching the Game on a Small TV in an Irish Bar with Mi Novia and my Friend Guinness... Multiple "Friends".!!!... Cheers.!!!!

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, November 15, 2021 at 10:32 p.m.

    John, he was making mistakes and his poor fundamentals could have cost us the game. I specifically recall one play that upset me. He had come back but instead of being open to the field, for no good reason he had his back to the opponents goal. He wasn't checking around so he did not know who was behind him and where. The pass came to him and he passed it straight back to the FB, playing the way he faced, but it was a poorly executed pass. The Mexican wing pounced on the ball and shot on frame, which the keeper saved at full stretch.

    Everyone remembers the great save, but they don't think about the root cause of the bad situation. McKennie's poor fundamentals and decision-making. 

    Most fans are clueless about fundamentals of the game. You would also be surprised at the number of youth coaches that don't address body facing. I must admit that I was clueless about body position because I played on the flank where having a position open to the field comes naturally. I also played in the back so I would face forward without thinking about it. It was only when I started coaching and had to deal with playing in the center zones that I realized that CMs and CFs have to be mindful of their facing. It is something that needs to be taught because it isn't natural for most players.

  20. Santiago 1314 replied, November 16, 2021 at 11:49 a.m.

    Yes Bob, You should TRY to Curve your Run as You Check Back; Easier to see Opponent and Space Behind you.

  21. Bob Ashpole replied, November 16, 2021 at 1:27 p.m.

    Santi, I will always agree with your main point about international soccer: Playing pretty soccer means nothing if you don't win. So given the choice between the two...

  22. Wayne Norris, November 13, 2021 at 7:29 a.m.

    Decent ratings however....

    Adams way too first half he was coughing up ball left and right and almost gave up goal on horrific turnover....5-6 for me

    Miles way too low......6

    GK is tough as they sometimes cannot do enough for high rating but Steffen was flawless and made that early game charging save.....8 or 9

  23. Santiago 1314 replied, November 13, 2021 at 8 a.m.

    DOS A CERO.!!!!....TOMA YA.!!!!....10s FOR EVERYONE AND Ggg... This is how to play USA Soccer...
    These Kids are just Starting to Realize how Good they are...
    Every time they put Their Head Down and took Off RUNNING with The Ball, the Weaker, Less Athletic Mexicans were Forced to Foul Them...Once we Started doing this in the 2nd half, it was "Lights Out"
    A.Rob was the KEY to this, that Bald Headed Mexican Wing Back was Forced Stay back on Defense and Hack and Chop and Pull Nostrils Finally...
    Yedlin Looked like The Yedlin of Old...He even ended Up playing as Ggg's Inverted Wing-Back/Ct.Mid sometimes.!!!
    Weah Finally "SHOWED UP"... Loved the "Moxey" toward the End of his Shift; Dancing on the Ball.
    Musah was the only one Not to Catch On... Played too Conservative and too Deep....I think that is what Threw off Adams Game a little.
    Tiki-Taka (Barca) or "Turbo" (Madrid).????

  24. Santiago 1314 replied, November 13, 2021 at 8:14 a.m.

    Wayne, I think you are right, except M.Rob...
    If he was going to get 2nd Yellow he should have "CRACKED" that Player when he had him Trapped against the SideLine...Once he let him go it was Bye-Bye

  25. John Sabala replied, November 13, 2021 at 9:40 a.m.

    I think the key on this side was Aaronson even though he was limted in his touches he kept the left fullback occupied, especially from his pressing ability.  A. Robinson just gave the ball away after running 20 or 30 yards......aka what he normally does in match play.  A. Robinson is the reason whe did not have more shots on goal in the first half.  If you rewatch the match you will see what I mean.  I concur 100% that Yedlin played a very solid game....was much better on the ball and made very good attacking runs into the wide area without giving the ball away. He supported Weah and Musah well hence the attack was so successful on that side.  Yedlin is the unsung hero of this match.  I think one reason Weah showed up is he was on the pitch with mostly the best XI.  Good on the ball and did the work on defense this match.  He play with his back to goal tonight shows he is an option to play as a central forward once we get Reyna back.  Not a true central striker, but more like the Chelsea frontline before Lukaku arrived.  Just another option for GB.  Again, must not have a let down in the next match.  Need the next 3 points.

  26. Alfred Randall replied, November 13, 2021 at 9:43 a.m.

    On Miles' 2nd yellow: the Mexican attacker slowed to creat the illusion of a foul and the ref bought it. 5-6 rating would be more like it. We have been blessed with goalkeepers and either one would have been fine.

  27. Seth Vieux replied, November 13, 2021 at 1:29 p.m.

    John, I've been saying for 2 years that Weah needs to get a look at the 9 for us. I keep hearing 'but he's never played there for US' but he played there plenty in the US U-XX teams and plays there more than a little bit for defending Ligue 1 champs Lille who have no shortage of good options there. 

    I'm digging Pepi so far, but just don't see how anyone can see Weah's career track and abilities as anything short of right there with Pulisic, Dest, Reyna, Brooks. He's too good and plays at too high a level week in week out to not find a regular spot for. WE deserve a chance to see a front line of Pulisic-Weah-Reyna with McKennie-Adams-Musah behind them. Would really like to see this sometime next year when Reyna's back.

  28. Santiago 1314 replied, November 13, 2021 at 7:18 p.m.

    Yes, Alfred... agree, very Clever play by the Mexican Player

  29. humble 1 replied, November 15, 2021 at 2:44 p.m.

    John and Santi, it was not even mentioned by the TV talking heads, Dark or Twelman, that the positioning and recovery run by Yedlin on Lozano pressured Lozana, limited his options and help the GK to that save.  He did not block the shot, but was closing and he force it.  The Yedlin of old never makes that play.  This is the new improved Yedlin.  Less error prone, better service, still very very fast.  He deserved better than a 6. I would not be as hard on Robinson either.  He was part of the US charity program, giving the ball away, but almost the entire team was in on this, which is why Pepi was starved, but, he, Robinson dominated Corona, Romo and Rodriguez, he was relentless, played right through all their dark arts.  Well done to both the fullbacks.  Keep it going boys! 

  30. Santiago 1314 replied, November 16, 2021 at 12:14 p.m.

    Humble, What I especially saw that was Different in Yedlins Play was his Positioning....
    He was Playing much more Centrally... This Helped him Track down Lozano on that "Almost Goal"
    Our 1st Goal was a Direct Result of Yedling Playing Centrally...
    At 74:39 He WON A HEADER in the Center Circle that Went to Pepi, Who Laid it back to Musah, Who Passed it out to Weah, Who went 1v1, Beat his Man JUST ENOUGH TO GET THE BALL BY HIS PLANTED FOOT and Crossed Low and Hard for CP to Dive and Redirect at the NEAR POST.!!!
    **At 84:45 He Recieved a Pass from McKenNIE almost in the Center Circle, Played it out to Weah, Weah(This Time) Played it EARLY into McKenNIE {Sprinting in to the Rt.Ct Forward Spot}...(a Hole Created by Acosta Running to the Rt Forward Position and Dragging one of the Mexican Ct. Backs Out of the Middle)
    McKenNIE and Ferreira Played a YORKE-COLE Dummy Movement, like the Days of the OLD 4-4-2 at ManU.
    And the Speed of the Combination Play, Forced the Mexican Defender to "Wall Pass" it to McKenNIE for the DOS-A-CERO.!!!
    Not sure whether Ggg did this Intentionally or Not, but as I have Stated Numerous Time...
    Play our Defense Like Arrigo Sacchi used to Play is at AC Milan... NOT FLAT;
    But Angled IN on the Back Side... Like a Hockey Stick...
    You can Look it up on UTube... Arrigo Sacchi Tactics.

    13:32 of the video; "Coaching the Italian 4-4-2 with Arrigo Sacchi"

  31. frank schoon, November 13, 2021 at 10:10 a.m.

    Watched the first half only for I figured the US would win the game , judging from the flow of the game to be in the US favor.  What do I mean by flow of the game , well in basketball one of the teams gets a flow and all of a sudden they are up by 20 points. You ask yourself 'what the hell happened?", "did the other team somehow forget how to play defense?"....These flows come and go and in soccer they could be initiated through a throw-in , or a foul, or a sudden dynamic. A good coach, needs to be able to sense these things , to either initiate or prevent one. Cruyff knew these flows if things needed changing. 

    This morning I watched almost the whole game. So this what I came away from watching. The US last night was in a flow from the beginning, from the moment they walked on the field ,  their Harley-Davidsons were revving up along the sidelines, reminding me of an old Jan and Dean song, "Drag City" VROOM, VROOM, here  I come". And the Mexican team, it seemed had their burros parked munching along the sidelines. It was one of those games that the Mexicans just weren't going to win ,and it showed from the start.

    The Mexican team had their chances but  somehow they were missing a certain strength dealing with missing player personnel, I think, which effected their offense. I don't know that much about their team other than Alvarez plays for Ajax...

    What I like about Mexico, whatever they were missing, they continued to play their 'style' ,'their type of game' which means they are a disciplined team, by holding on to their manner of play. The US could never play in a disciplined manner but rely right away on "Boom Ball City", if things don't work out. We don't have the confidence with the ball in small spaces or handle the ball in small spaces under pressure... The Mexican team continued ,for example. to build up from the back, passing the ball amid a lot of pressure from our fire-breathing dragons and did what they had to do

                                                        NEXT POST...

  32. Santiago 1314 replied, November 14, 2021 at 7:07 a.m.

    Frank, What I like about Mexico also is; they Can't Change their Style/Tactics ... Just liked Farça and Ajax... They Live and Die by the Short Pass Build-Up out of the Back, with Small, Diminutive, Anemic, Un-Athletic Players... If the Opposition has Better Athletes that Can HIGH Press and Turn the Game into Longer Ball, They FALL Apart... Madrid, Man City, Soon USA; are the Rare Team that Can Do Both... Play High Pressure AND some Tiki-Taka when Needed; NOT BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO(Due to Physical Limitations of Players on the Roster)... If you can't (or WON'T) change your Style/Tactics during or from Game-to-Game; Opposition will Eventually figure You Out and Shut down your Plan "A" ... No Battlefield Plan, Survives 1st Contact with the Enemy... How you Adapt, AND HAVING THE PHYSICAL QUALITIES and TECHNICAL ABILITIES and the PSYCHOLOGICAL ABILITIES to Change Determines the Outcome...
    I think these USA Players are Just on the Cusp of Figuring "IT" Out.

  33. frank schoon replied, November 14, 2021 at 9:16 a.m.

    Santi, This will be a long discussion for I have nothing better to do sunday mornings.... I disagree with that Mexico's problem was they couldn't change their Style/Tactics. Mexico was doing just fine and they had the better chances in the first half for they should have had 2 goals. Chuckie Lozano, should have cut back and allow his centerback to slide for air and then shoot. But instead he ran full speed 40meters with those little legs and try to shoot on the way, and it was blocked, he blew it. How 'bout that shot on open goals and totally missed....Mexico had the better chances the first half....but that's the way it goes....It had nothing to do with not able to change their style or tactics. They created the chances but blew it... 

    Mexico was playing alright but regardless their problem was personell, something was missing in their attack. I admired Mexico's ability under the pressure circumstances to maintain their style. That tells me they have a strong team, even though they lacked something...

    "Live and Die by the Short Pass"(Ajax, Barca) Or lets say "Live and Die by the Long balls" (England). Santi let me remind you that before Guardiola came, talk of midfielder characteristics, centered mostly on burly,athletic types and speed, able to run box to box. Barcelona proved to the world that with munchkins who had no size, nor speed , but had skills and brains allowing the ball to do the running, would do just as well and it was more efficient.... Not to mention Barca's munchkins on the front line. 

    The Barca we talk about is no longer, for it hasn't been that way for over 6years....Here is the point I want to make...It is not about playing short ball, or long ball or changing style /tactics. Soccer is all about finding SPACE that is created by how one plays. Employing SPACE can require either a LONG ball or SHORT ball. It has NOTHING to do with changing style or tactics. 

    IT HAS ALL TO DO WITH CHANGING THE FOCUS, OR EMPHASIS OF PLAY !!!! For example, if the opponents want to press high then they leave space behind them. TIKI-TAKA has nothing to do with short passes. It has everything to do with ball possession on one side of the field thereby creating space on the other....switching the field is not a short pass, but LONG ,that's how Barca played. Xavi was an expert switching the field for he was aware of the open space...
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  34. frank schoon replied, November 14, 2021 at 10:19 a.m.

    It is not about the ability of changing STYLE/TACTICS, but changing the EMPHASIS which is fluid. You don't change your style, that's IMPOSSIBLE. Brazilians can't change their style, they change the emphasis of play employing their style. EMPHASIS is depended upon how the opponents play.
    For example, Barcelona would change their defensive emphasis depending on which flank Ronaldinho played...It is all about details in soccer, finding where the weaknesses are and employing your style of game to counter....

    Guardiola's Barca had a front line that kept the opponents weary of playing high pressure defense, for if they commit then Barca's backline gives a LONG BALL (not short) over the top, to Messi, Suarez or Neymar...
    Barca with its munchkins played excellent defense because the whole team played compact, the lines and spacing were close together. This means the Athletic types, the Turbos that need the space to run and control the ball would have difficulty....

    Teams who are good in ball possession like Barca, Ajax, etc, are a bane to teams that rely on Athletic players to attack for they can't get the ball....A good example was the Dortmunt game against Ajax, which Dortmunt lost 4-0. The German Turbos, along with Haaland couldn't do anything for they couldn't get the ball. Haaland was guarded by 2 Ajax munchkins outsized by 6inches by Haaland.

    You have to realize that Dutch players are not fighters ,they can't duel like the Italians, Germans, English. Holland would be nowhere if they played that way. Like Beckenbauer states that the Dutch like to play the pure game...
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  35. frank schoon replied, November 14, 2021 at 10:40 a.m.

    Your quote, " If you can't (or WON'T) change your Style/Tactics during or from Game-to-Game; Opposition will Eventually figure You Out and Shut down your Plan "A" . I agree but what idiot coach would do that....Every team is different , that's why teams have scouts to see what the opponents are  doing
    Your reasoning is a little simplistic. You think Ajax used the same  tactics playing Dortmunt in the first game as in the second game or against Sporting of Portugal....Come on, Santi....It is all about emphasis where do you place the focus, each's a chess game, where the EMPHASIS continually changes

    To say, "  I think these USA Players are Just on the Cusp of Figuring "IT" Out." ....NOT BY A LONG SHOT !!! We can't even play possession soccer, and without that how can you follow any plan ,unless you want to play 'Boomball city'.

    "If the Opposition has Better Athletes that Can HIGH Press and Turn the Game into Longer Ball, They FALL Apart"....If that's where you think soccer is going...good luck, although I agree I see some trends in which you're seeing more foam on the mouth type of turbo teams but that will never become the answer, for soccer is always and continually changing the EMPHASIS.
    Furthermore ,I don't think Mexico got beat because of that trend but it was more of a lack of certain personell on their side. But soccer is a strange, for a turbo style can beat a good soccer team, it happens....

  36. Philip Carragher replied, November 14, 2021 at 11:11 a.m.

    Was Mexico 100% committed to winning this game? Their play appeared to have more malaise than ebullience. Very un-Mexico like.

  37. frank schoon replied, November 14, 2021 at 1:35 p.m.

    Philip ,Mexico was missing something and it had to do with personell. This wasn't there strong team.

  38. Santiago 1314 replied, November 14, 2021 at 11:47 p.m.

    Frank, Cruijff used a Much more Direct, to Wing Play/Speed Game 1v1, whether it was in '74, or Barca, or the Dream Team, He didn't Believe in Just Passing the other Team or the Fans into a Zombie State... At one Point the other day Spain had 600 passses to the Opponents 150...0-0... I much prefer the Faster Paced Athletic, Go to Goal Game, to Watching a Game of 11 v 11 Rombo..
    I really think this USA Group is going to Develop a Hybrid Style of Mixing Both... Barca, Ajax... Can't.!!!

  39. frank schoon replied, November 15, 2021 at 9:04 a.m.

    Santi, I agree about Cruyff ,the '74, or Barca, or the Dream Team. As a matter fact  I prefer watching asoccer of the 70's over the garbage seen today. Yes, he didn't believe (your words) 'passing the opposition into a Zombie state. What you meant , is turning the spectators watching the useless passing into zombies for it would be great if the opponents turning into Zombie state.

    Cruyff believed in BALL POSSESSION, in order to nulllify the opponent's offensive threats,Period!  That means you hold on to the ball, no ball loss. The problem today as I see it has going to extremes because the coaches who copy the ball possession way are not creative enough and the players are not CREATIVE enough to score and therefore as a result they keep passing the ball around. We have to realize the players today were not as good as the players of Cruyff's era, for there were alot more and better technicians and thinkers then as compared to today's dodos and idiots that have to be shown by assistants coaches, charts, weather forecasts, flip over charts , computer graphs before they are substituted onto the field. You never saw this crap back in Cruyffs playing for these guys were good and knew the game...

    Guardiola did an excellent job applying Cruyff's concept and principles of play. Yes, it looked like more passes made than in Cruyff era  but there are reasons for that...In Spain, the players are smaller, as you see with Guardiola's Barca.  The less technical players, more Athletic types were seen a lot in soccer therefore the game had gotten more physical and less technical....Taking that backround and having small Spanish players, it behooves Guardiola not have these little legs( Xavi, Messi, Iniesta, etc) having to run after those Athletic types, no way. 

    Guardiola was successful with Barca. The problem I see with possession ball is what came after it by coaches who try to copy Guardiola's style, in the same way as those coaches who tried to copy "total soccer'  and caused the type of players we now see, the dumb Athletic types. The coaches who copied Michel's 'total soccer' watched his practices and noticed  there was no technical training but lots of running and rough play....
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  40. frank schoon replied, November 15, 2021 at 9:25 a.m.

    It were these idiot coaches copying Michel's style that created the type of rumdumb soccer players today. Michels practices were based on the idea that he had the greatest technicians ,ballhandlers, and thinkers of the game so what could he possible teach them????? ,the only thing left is the bottom feeder stuff that takes no brains and skills,  the rank aspects of the game, running turbo, and Athleticism. So now you see how soccer has gone down hill in its technical and brains aspects....Instead we have computer coaches who can't take a lamppost on 1v1...And you're saying 600 passes ,blah ,blah, blah. You're right !!!!! No brains, lots of dumb passes with no meaning behind it, two-thousand square and back passes. We don't have good finishers or skilled players, but lots of Athletic bozos, who think they speed is what it takes and don't understand nothing is FASTER THAN THE BALL....

    It is not about Hybrid, but , One, it is about being able to possess the ball under pressure in small spaces; Two, being able to beat  someone 1v1; Three, knowing what to do a step ahead; Four, how to position yourself for the next play: Four, passing the ball to allow the receiver to deal with it in the most Efficient way; Five, know where the open space is. Five, a quick sprint or run when needed for you only need a step on an opponent, not 10 or 15 meters to beat a players as so many of these athletic dodos think. There is more but if the US could do all this ,I'd be happy...

  41. Santiago 1314 replied, November 16, 2021 at 12:25 p.m.

    Great Stuff Frank;
    All coaches Need to "STEAL" from other Coaches.
    Apply what works for YOUR Group of Players and DON'T GET "MARRIED" to Only ONE STYLE if Possible... USA has a Group of YOUNG, TALENTED Players, who I think in the LONG Run can Play Multiple Styles... We will See in Jamaica... I think it is going to be a BLOOD BATH Game...
    Not Tiki-Taka or "Turbo"... Hack and Chop, Grab and Pull... Leg Breaking Slide Tackles...
    Hope we Survive this "TRAP" Game.

  42. frank schoon, November 13, 2021 at 10:44 a.m.

    We can all be happy the US won. Some details like our midfielders always have their backs facing downfield, is not good,for it reduces not only our field view but also the tempo of the game. Furthermore, Aaronson, a right footed player should not be taking direct kicks from the sideline for his ball spin away from the oncoming player heading it. It gives less power to heading of the ball, instead the ball should come toward the player thereby allowing for not only more velocity but also more chance of distance to reach the far post. Zimmerman and Weah, almost headed butted each other ,telling they need to organize this play better...

    As I've have stated before,  backs should not be running with the ball especially starting in their own half. There was one good pass going to A.Robinson that he received on the run into the opponents own third, A PERFECT PLAY, which happens so rarely on the flanks. Aaronson needs to move his butt from sidelines away from the flank when Antonee makes a run; THAT'S CALLED CREATING SPACE FOR ANOTHER PLAYER..... simple a,b,c's.... I'm not impressed with Pepi, he's too  slow, he's not good with his back to the goal. I'm sorry, I'm not that excited at all about him... 

    When we scored the first goal, it was BECAUSE our right wing was right footed, in other words we brought into play a goal scored by the near post which is a rarity these days because all wingers tend to cut in towards the middle, thus eliminating that offensive threat. Don't forget with a right footed right winger you push the defenders as far back as possible thus giving more attacking space to the upcoming attackers. And also it forces the opponents to have to choose between watching his man or the ball but he can't do both, BINGO!!!

    A defender therefore will have difficulty in stopping a cross run from CP to head the balll in...I find it so refreshing to see a goal scored by the near post , it also means the 'LITTLE GUY' doesn't have to outjump a taller defender but only has to be a step quicker...What I'm trying to say is that you have more attacking options with a right footed right winger. Also a hard cross so close coming the goal line so near can cause a defender to accidently score an own goal....
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  43. Santiago 1314 replied, November 16, 2021 at 1:08 p.m.

    Frank. The Market Place Dictates...
    How many Teams are Looking for "Dainty" Tiki-Taka Ajax Players.???
    Fans want Speed and Athletiscm... With Some Clever Tricks and Tactics
    But, they don't want to "Wait" for it to Develop, Like the "Old Days"

    Why did they Put in a Shot Clock with NBA,
    Why did NFL move the Game from RUN to PASS.???
    Give the People what they want to see....
    I still think they should make the Goal, 1 Foot Wider on each side and 1 Foot Taller...
    Every Game there is ONE Ball off the "Woodwork' and ONE GOAL Changes EVERYTHING.!!!

  44. frank schoon, November 13, 2021 at 11:19 a.m.

    Alvarez of Mexico played a nice game. He came to Ajax over a year ago as a centerback, didn't start much and it looked liked he might not be around for long. The dutch didn't think much of him, other than being a 'garden variety' player. He has developed as a defensive midfielder and plays a #8 or at times a #6 or centerback. You can tell the difference between Adams as a #6 and Alvarez as #6. Alvarez has so much to give offer to the game. He is a leader, his passes skip stations, creating quicker attacks, he knows where the ball should go and should move to and he plays defense as well. Adams, on the other hand,compared to Alvarez, is just meat and potatos, very one dimensional. Alvarez at Ajax has developed into a more rounded player and that is  unfortunately not the case with Adams playing German ball..And this why Sargent never developed in Germany becoming a better centerforward..

    The build up out of the back by Mexico, suffers from what most teams do. It is what we call in Holland, a lack of 'uitspelen' but plenty of 'afspelen'. As taught by Ajax, a  good pass is a pass that beats a player,(UITSPELEN) PERIOD!!, then you have one less player to content with. Too many passes go square and backwards in the backfield resulting in NOTHING gained,( one of the Mexican problems), which is mostly due to lack of vision and lack of good positioning by teammates off the ball.PERIOD! These types of passes don't beat anyone.... Not to mention the technical aspect, which I won't go into here for that's a whole other area to discuss.

    I've come to the conclusion that sending our boys to Europe at 19 and 20 does not improve their play from turbo to playing a more intelligent and technical game as we envision our American boys becoming. All it has done sofar is to bolster and fortify and perhaps improve ,even, our TURBO way of playing. I don't see our boys coming here, and saying, "WOW" ,you can what a great dribbler or great thinker, or great passer he has become...No, we just see the same player who has added more sophistication to his Turbo way of play. Alvarez is someone that really has developed and it is so noticeable....

  45. John Soares, November 13, 2021 at 1:11 p.m.

    It's always better when you win but....
    This was a great game regardless of score 
    With a little more experience, this could be the basis for a very good team 
    USA.. definitely on the right track 

  46. Kevin Leahy, November 13, 2021 at 1:35 p.m.

    Musah is becoming a beast and really keeps finding someone in every match that, he can really mesh with. Adjustments will be forced on this team for Jamaica due to suspensions. How well they do will determine whether they get anymore points in this round. Richards will probably have to step up in the back. Don't believe they can match the same intensity but, they can't afford to be passive. Six points in 2 matches would be HUGE!

  47. Frans Vischer replied, November 13, 2021 at 5:33 p.m.

    With McKennie out for the Jamaica game, I see Busio in the #10 spot, with Musah more a defensive mid. This could open the attack a lot. GB may not risk playing Pulisic at all, unless we need points at game's end. I'm dying to see Scally play, and wirh M Robinson out, some defensive jiggering may make that happen. 
    I hope Weah has something left in thetank- he was terrific! Finally got to show what he can do, and I saw plenty!
    We have enough players available to beat Jamaica. 
    I'm still on a cloud about this result. Plenty to analyze/criticize, but compared to the previous 2 qualifying windows, this is a big step in the right direction. 
    GO USA!!!

  48. Santiago 1314 replied, November 13, 2021 at 7:49 p.m.

    Agreed Franz, ... But Busio plays more of a #6 Role in Venezia... It would be a better to only make One adaption in the Midfield than Two...

  49. Seth Vieux, November 13, 2021 at 1:36 p.m.

    My hope for the XI against Jamaica (I think I'm tracking whose now unavailable):




    Steffen (totally fine if Turner starts)

    Subs: Pulisic for Aaronson at the half, Scally for whichever fullback is least impressive, Arriola for Pepi with Weah sliding into striker.

  50. Wayne Norris replied, November 13, 2021 at 1:59 p.m.

    Replace Busio with anyone else!

  51. John Sabala replied, November 13, 2021 at 3:36 p.m.

    There should be no reason for sweeping changes to the last starting XI since they get 4 days and no more matches this window. Go in thinking you need the 3 points.  Give the best chance to create some separation.  I would go with:





    Ferreira looked good for the few minutes and gives a bit more pace. It seems he may be better in tight spaces than Pepi, but too little game time to say for sure.  You have to sit A. Robinson and get Scally on the pitch. I think he will be able to connect play better than A. Robinison and make much better passes to get Aaronson more involved in this game.

  52. R2 Dad, November 13, 2021 at 10:42 p.m.

    No rating for the ref? I thought he got VERY lucky not to have everything disintegrate in the 68th minute. Missed a blatant red card that coiuld have been avoided if he'd pulled a yellow card immediately. In US/Mexico matches I don't see waiting to card has any benefits. I'd give that ref a 3. Would love to read the CONCACAF match report on his performance. 

  53. Santiago 1314 replied, November 14, 2021 at 6:39 a.m.

    It was Pretty Shocking that the Game didn't Disintegrate into a Brawl, I guess with 2nd game, players didn't want to Miss Out. Ref was just OK... I liked his Stare Down on the Mexican Player... I guess Best thing that can be said about any Referee; He didn't influence the Outcome of the Game.!!!

  54. Wayne Norris replied, November 14, 2021 at 11:59 a.m.

    I feel the ref had a solid performance (6.5) perfect by any means. No matter who official is Mexico-US will almost break out into brawl.

    Probably got suckered into couple foul calls but did not back down to either side and kept control pretty well.

  55. Kent James replied, November 14, 2021 at 9:14 p.m.

    I agree with Wayne. Too often refs fall for Mexico's dives, and this ref generally didn't (except for the 2nd yellow on M Robinson, and to be fair, most refs are going to call that).  He definitely missed one when Musah got mugged, but given how tough these games are, I thought he did well. And as an indicator of the difficulty, it almost blew up over a out of bounds call at midfield...

  56. Charles Davenport, November 14, 2021 at 10:24 p.m.

    MW is the only commentator I've heard her read so far that got it right... it was evident from the start that this was one of the highest work rate games I had ever seen... The game was all about pressure...miscues, bad passes were unimportant.  The goal was to put pressure on Mexico and not let them play...the apparent "poor first- half, great second half "....was due to the fact that the Mexican team wasn't looking forward to 45 minutes of more American pressure in the cold Cincinnati night 
    Play of the game, and player the game, was made by Zack Steffen... if Lozano scored in the 17th minute, the effect could have been devastating... Kasey Keller downplayed the moment with an "aw shucks that's just a goalie doing his job" comment

  57. humble 1 replied, November 15, 2021 at 3:06 p.m.

    That was it.  The attitude and the constant, relentless pressure.  The 1-0 lead helped as it allowed them to press in waves, to work off queues.  It certainly helped, the crowd and the stadium.  It was as you say, a very uncomfortable 1st half for the visitors, and their response in the 2nd showed less than they did in the first.  If you have never been to an away game for Mexico that is really more like a home game, then, you cannot know, what they are used to.  It is important that USSF continue this approach, the boys deserve a home game when they play home.  Cheers!  

  58. E Velazquez, November 17, 2021 at 6:46 a.m.

    mat turner should have been the KEEPER

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