Commentary

USA-Bosnia & Herzegovina Men's Friendly Player Ratings

USA-BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA EXPRESS:
Dec. 18 in Carson, California
USA 1 Bosnia & Herzegovina 0. Goal: Bassett 89.
Att.: 11,044.
* * * * * * * * * *

The 20-year-old Cole Bassett, one of four players to make his USA debut in its final game of 2021, scored in the 89th minute to earn the USA 1-0 win over Bosnia & Herzegovina. The late goal came after the USA played ineffectively against a foe that went a man down with a 40th-minute red card. 

USA Player Ratings

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

GOALKEEPER

Matt Turner was called to make three first-half saves, each of which came straight to him with little power. He faced more pressure interchanging passes with his backline, and coped well.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

5
Matt Turner (New England Revolution) 13/0 (27)

DEFENDERS

Central defender Walker Zimmerman broke up attacks in the air and on the grass, and contributed the most to stifling the attacking duo of Igor Savic and Jovo Lukic. His central partner Henry Kessler also intervened at some key moments, such as his tackle on Ajdin Nukic in the 28th minute after left back George Bello slipped. Bello had earlier pulled off a clean slide tackle on Nukic. Right back Brooks Lennon was bolder going forward and set up Ricardo Pepi for a prime chance. Lennon had no excuse for his sloppy foul in the 30th minute that gave tame B&H a rare threat, but he started the second half with a well-weighted pass from which Jordan Morris won a corner kick. Subbed in the 63rd minute, Lennon could be pleased with his debut for the USA.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

7
Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United) 1/0 (24) 

7
Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC) 23/2 (28)

6
Henry Kessler (New England Revolution) 2/0 (23)

5
George Bello (Atlanta United) 5/0 (19) 

MIDFIELDERS

Cristian Roldan passed impressively in the first half, fleetingly resembling a midfield playmaker, but ultimately, like his teammates, fell short of the creativity needed to break down the B&H bunker. He coughed up the ball on a 75th-minute counterattack, and shot horribly in first-half stoppage time after a nice layoff by Morris to continue his scoreless streak for the USA. Central midfielder Johnny Cardoso -- who did intercept a pass in the penalty area on B&H's first promising attack -- took little advantage of facing a weak midfield, denying the USA of threats through the middle. Kellyn Acosta's inconsistent first half included a couple turnovers, a decent pass to Jesus Ferreira, with whom he rarely connected, and the foul suffered that got Amar Begic ejected. Acosta started the second half with a bad pass that ended a promising attack. A few minutes later, he under-hit one of his ineffective corner kicks.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

5 
Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders) 30/0 (26)

4
Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA) 3/0 (20)

4
Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids) 45/2 (26)

FORWARDS

Right winger Jordan Morris, aiming to prove his form after a long injury layoff, blazed past Hrvoje Barisic the first time he got the ball and created the most problems early on for the B&H backline. In the 31st minute, Morris' diving header off a fine cross from Jesus Ferreira was sharp but within reach of Nikola Cetkovic's foot. Morris faded in the second half. In the 15th minute, Ricardo Pepi, squandered a close-range chance when he whiffed on a perfect low pass by Brooks Lennon from the flank with his right foot when a left-footed attempt seemed more appropriate. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

6
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) 40/10 (27)

3
Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas) 7/3 (18)

 
Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas) 4/2 (20)

SUBSTITUTES

The injection off the bench didn't give the USA much of a boost. In fact, B&H mustered more counterattacks in the second half than in the first. But finally, in the 89th minute, a veteran and a trio of youngsters created the happy ending. Bryan Reynolds sent in a cross that Cole Bassett got a head on while falling. The ball came to Gyasi Zardes, who tapped it to Jonathan Gomez for a left-footed shot that the keeper Belmin Dizdarevic couldn't hold. Bassett pounced on the rebound from his fellow debutant's shot to win the game. 


Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

6
Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew) 66/14 (30)

5
Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes) 16/0 (24)

6
Bryan Reynolds (Roma/ITA) 2/0 (20)

5
Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes) 1/0 (18) 

7 
Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids) 1/1 (20) 

6 
Jonathan Gomez (Louisville City) 1/0 (18)

TRIVIA: The USA and Bosnia & Herzegovina had met twice previously: A 4-3 USA win in Sarajevo in 2013 that featured a Jozy Altidore hat trick and a Bobby Wood goal; and a scoreless tie in Carson in 2018.

OPPONENT BACKGROUND: Bosnia & Herzegovina, a national team since the Yugoslavia breakup in the early 1990s, qualified for the 2014 World Cup, exiting in the first round Its latest attempt to return to the World Cup failed when it won only one of its eight qualifiers in UEFA Group D. France won the group and Ukraine finished runner-up for a playoff spot. Its roster against the USA averaged less than 24 years or age and didn't include any players who have been capped more than twice.

Dec. 18 in Carson, California
USA
1 Bosnia & Herzegovina 0. Goal: Bassett 89.
USA -- Turner; Lennon (Reynolds, 63), Zimmerman, Kessler, Bello (Gomez, 84); Acosta, Johnny Cardoso (Yueill, 63), Roldan; Morris (Bassett, 78), Pepi (Zardes, 63), Ferreira (Cowell, 78).
Bosnia & Herzegovina -- Cetkovic (Dizdarevic, 46); Barisic, Kurdic, Nukic, Vojinovic; Krpic (Pidro, 46), Corluka (Cavar, 62), Dokanovic (Ovcina, 83), Begic; Lukic (Maksimovic, 84), Savic.
Yellow cards: USA -- Zimmerman 68, Ferreira; B&H -- none. Red cards: USA -- none; B&H -- Begic 40.
Referee: Keylor Herrera Villalobos (Costa Rica)
Att.: 11,044..

Stats:
USA/Bosnia & Herzegovina
Shots: 10/9
Shots on target: 3/3
Saves: 3/2
Corner Kicks: 5/2
Fouls: 14/10
Offside: 1/0
Possession: 73%/27%
10 comments about "USA-Bosnia & Herzegovina Men's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. Ben Myers, December 19, 2021 at 12:32 a.m.

    I think we all knew that B&H would pack it in and play for a draw.  They almost succeeded against a tepid offense. I was not impressed with how little movement there was by US players off the ball.  Other than a few balls played to Morris and resulting in some very good crosses into the 6, most of US attack consisted of early balls played into the box from the outside, and realtively short chip-like passes over the top to the front runners.

    Well, in effect, these were the better American MLS players taking on a callow inexperienced team and looking somewhere below mediocre while doing so.  Even worse, the USMNT could not break down the 10-man B&H team! The goal was scored after a difficult save not played well by the substitute B&H keeper.

    I predict that of the players on the field tonite, Turner, Zimmerman, Acosta, Pepi and maybe Morris are very likely to make the final squad that finishes out the octagonal and goes on the Qatar.  Morris is strong enough to allow the US some holdup play when needed, although we saw none of that tonight.  From what I saw tonight, I would not consider any of the others. Cowell and Bassett simply got lucky at the end.  

  2. R2 Dad replied, December 19, 2021 at 1:44 a.m.

    Note especially surprised with a midfield like that.Cardoso can't do it all by himself.

  3. frank schoon, December 19, 2021 at 10:50 a.m.

    I watched the first half last night and turned the channel when BH began to play with a man down. Without getting into lots of the smaller details of the game(LOL), like for example our leftback, or whoever that was, initiating a run from his own third with the ball almost 50 meters full speed, as if  thinking he's going to outrun everybody to the opponent's goal and score and than ends up passing. All he was doing was giving the opponents so much time to adjust defensively, marking our boys for the oncoming pass. You see this so often especially in high school ball and up....

    I don't know?, but how can a player at this stage of his development , making the NT, have no clue in what he is doing wrong or what advantage he gave his opponents. Is our coaching this BAD, that he's never been taught this aspect through all the subsequent higher levels of play he's gone through! How complex is THIS??? to understand?  What scares me the most is the lack of reaction from the coaching staff, who obviously have no clue themselves. I would have stood up and yelled, "WTF are you doing"!!! By being this blunt with him he will not only have learned something but also never forget what he should have learned in the prior years by other coaches(licensed)

    The most important element of soccer is TIME and SPACE and under that comes the concept, DON'T BE PREDICTABLE for that nullifies the TIME and SPACE created. It is very simple but our boys continually have no clue when you see the amount bad passes made or lost to the opponents.
    So many passes are made from our backfield going forwards and received with our backs facing downfield. #5Bello (LB), feels very uncomfortable receiving a ball with his back facing downfield, a weakness most defenders have. At midfield he receives the ball with his back facing downfield using the outside of his leftfoot his good foot, instead of using the inside of his rightfoot thereby using his body as a shield, at the same time. Or the midfielder comes towards the sideline to help out the wing, or the LB thus taking with him more opponents and clog things up....

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  4. Bob Ashpole replied, December 20, 2021 at 2:15 a.m.

    Yes our coaching is that bad.

  5. frank schoon, December 19, 2021 at 11:37 a.m.

    Why when after a corner, or during an attack when one of our boys head the ball away straight forwards into a crowd, creating a sort of volleyball game, whereby both sides heading it back and forth into the air....In that situation ,you don't head it straight forwards but sideways where there is empty space which would benefit our defender for they have to run a shorter distance to the ball.Like in a triangle the opponents would have to run the hypotenuse. Most of the times the headers that go straight forwards ends up directly for the opponents. 

    Also, never attempt a throw-in on the leftside near the midline by a leftfooted player when he's the only leftfooted player on the left. You need that leftfooted player on the field, facing downfield, for that allows room for short passes, give and go's and long passes downfield and across field..
    Another thing ,I noticed is that sometimes in our backfield we 4 or 5 players trying to take the ball up when there only 2 BH up front ,which totally weakens our MIDFIELD positioning, in other words ,NO MIDFIELD!!!

    I don't understand the commotion over Pepi, he does not impress me. He hasn't done anything since he scored those two simple goals a few months back. Jordan Morris (JOHNNY TURBO) did fine, no nonsense. He proves that we need to play with wings, that PENETRATE going towards the endline forcing the opponents to come all the way giving us space out side the penalty area, and more dangerously in front of the goal...JM has to keep to keep it simple for he is simple who doesn't have the finer elements of the game. He was very efficient, direct in his application of going to goal. I like to see him improve himself in maneuvering in a  zig-zag movement for that can throw off the defender as he moves backwards, zig-zagging where JM can take advantage of his TURBO....

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  6. frank schoon, December 19, 2021 at 11:52 a.m.

    JM created attacks on both sides on the flanks, he creates movement in the opponent's third.  He forces opponents to move to adjust and in that manner, JM creates space for our other attackers to move in. Notice how simple of a player he actually is for he doesn't have anything else. If he restricts himself, and plays it very simple ,he can be an asset to the team. He has to learn to become less predictable.  When he gets the ball he has to do something with it. Sometimes, he needs to cool it, pass the ball around, put the defender to sleep and watch the defender when he's  looking away....And this is what I also miss with CP, who ,I think, has not progressed or improved which JM has. We need someone at midfield who can send JM or CP but requires good passing skill and able to read the situation well at the moment....we don't have that...

    In the second half we didn't very good because we are a counter attacking team forced to make the game. It shows right away that we're not good in small spaces, give and go's, or running crosses from the flanks which are opponent's were excellent at. When you're used to playing TURBO style and now forced to play a hold back, putting the brakes on that causes the team to lose RHYTHM. GB stated that the opponents playing 531, defensively shows you the weakness ,technically, tactically. Technically our ball handling skills are too slow when we have to make or create the game, and tactically, that's a level were not ready for ,yet....

  7. Kent James, December 19, 2021 at 12:04 p.m.

    If the goal was to get the MLS players a game to keep them in shape, goal achieved.  The victory was good (it's always nice to win, and while we did not play well, we should have scored two goals earlier).  It would have been nice if we had the opportunity to let Bosnia replace the player who was carded (since we needed a competitive game more than we needed the win), since the game certainly took a turn for the worst when Bosnia went to 10 men.  I hope Pepi's misfire in front of goal was an aberration, and not that he's unable to use his left foot, since getting that ball on goal should have been a simple tap in with his left.  But he's young, so hopefully lesson learned with no harm done.  I thought Jordan Morris (and Zimmerman in the air) were the only guys that looked good (though Turner was certainly fine, though untested). 

  8. John Soares replied, December 19, 2021 at 2:08 p.m.

    I certainly agree that Morris and Zimmerman played at a higher level.
     Not a great game. It's a friendly... good enough.
    Bigger concern is attendance. Yes I too would rather be in S. California in December, but these games should be awarded to cities that will fill the stadium.
    Would much prefer a full house in  Portland on turf 
    Than empty house on really ugly beat up sod 

  9. Kent James replied, December 19, 2021 at 7:27 p.m.

    John, I agree, the turf and the crowd were embarrassing.  Friendlies should be played where people want to see the team.

  10. Wooden Ships replied, December 20, 2021 at 7 p.m.

    Countries don't want to travel and play on carpet. The field should be, was fine, we are in CONCACAF. As far as attendance, you can market it full (USSF). 

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