USA-Colombia Men's Friendly Player Ratings

Jan. 28 in Carson, California
USA 0 Colombia 0.
Att.: 27,000 (sellout).
* * * * * * * * * *

Yawn. Colombia and the USA battled to a snooze fest in Carson on Saturday night in a game that provided nine U.S. players (three starters) with their first or second caps. Colombia arrived to Southern California even more inexperienced but still outplayed the USA for most of the game. Los Cafeteros' attacking trio had only six caps between them.

The game contained a total of three shots on target, none requiring a difficult save.

Defensively, the USA did an OK job of forcing the Colombians wide. Its defenders matched up well physically with the Colombians but on the ball the newcomers didn't impress. On the attack, the USA was frustrated by a lack of creativity. What little there was came thanks to Jesus Ferreira (photo) and Paxten Aaronson, the latter who earned his first cap and the former who left just after the hour mark.

When the USA was able to get out of its own half, Colombia overwhelmed the Americans, who found themselves isolated with few options showing to the ball. In the second half, the game opened up and the USA had more time on the ball. Still, the team was unable to regularly string more than five passes.

Neither team looked particularly interested in scoring, the USA less so than Colombia.

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


Sean Johnson made his first start since the USA’s 0-0 draw with Uruguay last July and performed just fine with the ball usually in his own half. But for a couple routine saves and a lot of defensive marshaling, Johnson had little to contend with against a starting lineup with five of his MLS opponents.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Sean Johnson (Toronto FC) 11/0 (33)


DeJuan Jones, the New England wingback had the tall task of marking LAFC’s Cucho Hernandez. He limited him to a few half chances and errant dribbles but looked out of his element on the ball. He lost multiple passes when he wasn’t under pressure. The USA could not play in Colombia’s half long enough to warrant any attacking runs from the outside backs, and John Tolkin was even more invisible than Jones in the first half.  Walker Zimmerman, likely the best U.S. defender on the day, broke through the midfield and connected well with the attack a couple times. Aaron Long had oceans of time at half-field more than a few times but could only find yellow shirts.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution) 2/0 (25)

Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC) 39/3 (29)

Aaron Long (LAFC) 31/3 (30)

John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls) 1/0 (20)


Paxten Aaronson, 2022 World Cup player Brenden Aaronson’s younger brother, showed moments of true skill and the 19-year-old’s potential is exciting. He was not very consistent on the ball in a stuffed midfield that required crisper play. When the game opened up in the second half, he drove decently with the ball and won some fouls. Kellyn Acosta mopped up well behind Aaronson when he could, but was often left isolated in transition. His set pieces were poor. Eryk Williamson was invisible in the first half and then left the game at halftime for Alan Sonora.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers) 6/0 (25)

Kellyn Acosta (LAFC) 57/2 (27)

Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER) 1/0 (19)


Matthew Hoppe was his usual feisty self. He did well to control a long ball with his chest and beat his man to lay off to Aaronson, who hit just over the ball resulting in a weak shot and an easy save. The left winger, who hasn’t scored in a first-team competition since May of 2021 when he was still in the Bundesliga, had a great chance to score with his weak foot in the first half but passed it straight to the goalie. Paul Arriola worked hard and linked up play, sometimes, but was not dangerous in one vs. one situations. Jesus Ferreira was really the only true connecting, creative force for a U.S. attack that lacked other ideas besides, "let’s knock it into a channel and get a cross into the box." Colombia’s front line had six caps between the three of them and looked a lot more composed and in-sync than the Americans who had 75. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Paul Arriola (FC Dallas) 50/10 (27)

Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas) 17/7 (22)

Matthew Hoppe (Middlesbrough/ENG) 8/1 (21)


Alan Sonora was only slightly better than Williamson, on either side of the ball. Brandon Vazquez, who typically relies more on service in the box and balls in behind than Ferreira, did not get a chance to show off the finishing skill he displayed against Serbia on Wednesday. Emmanuel Sabbi chased and fouled the Colombians but didn’t do much on the ball besides receiving a yellow card for a nasty tackle when he took a bad touch.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Alan Sonora (Unattached) 2/0 (24)

Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati) 2/1 (24)

Emmanuel Sabbi (Odense/DEN) 1/0 (25)

Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy) 2/0 (19)

Sam Rogers (Rosenborg/NOR) 1/0 (23)

Julian Gressel (Vancouver Whitecaps) 2/0 (29)

NOTABLE: The USA has scored four goals in its last eight games. 

Jan. 25 in Los Angeles
USA 0 Colombia 0.
USA — Johnson; Jones, Zimmerman (Neal, 70), Long (Rogers, 72), Tolkin (Gressel, 81); Acosta, P.Aaronson, Williamson (Sonora, 46); Hoppe, Ferreira (Vazquez, 63), Arriola (Sabbi, 65).
Colombia — Montero (Chunga, 46); Mosquera, Llinas, Perez, Fabra; Valaquez (Castano, 83), Campuzano, Borrero (Ruiz, 68); Valoyes, Arango (Cambindo, 46), Hernandez (Moreno, 68).
Yellow cards: USA — Sabbi 79; Colombia — Velasquez 4, Valoyes 28, Fabra 45. Red cards: none.
Referee: Said Martinez (Honduras). ARs: Christian Ramirez (Honduras), Walter Lopez (Honduras). Fourth: Filberto Martinez (Honduras).
Att.: 27,000 (sellout).

Shots: 5/12
Shots on target: 2/1
Saves: 1/2
Corner Kicks: 5/2
Offside: 0/3
Possession: 45%/55%

Photo: John Dorton/ISI Photos

23 comments about "USA-Colombia Men's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. Ric Fonseca, January 29, 2023 at 3:13 a.m.

    Yuch!  Yer kidding right?  Booooring!  Though the commentators did an awfly rotten job, the only one with any kind or type of "positive commentary" was Martino (?)  The other English bloke was his usual English-style commentary.  It'd be nice if we had some good ole "Amerricun" commentators.  As for the USA chants, pretty booooring and sophomorish, the USA crown ought to come up with some newe chants as the ones they "chanted" up seem to me to be right out of high school.... but oh, well, whotta do I know, right, after almost more than 50 years of watching US soccer....    Oh, but I digress!  Sorry lads, 'tis late in the night and my pillo beckons....  Oy!!! 

  2. R2 Dad, January 29, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.

    Why do the Nats choose centerbacks with no ball handling skills? A nanny 6 has to come back and do it for them? Lame. Got tired of watching outside backs back pass during the first 45. Painful to watch. Left at the half.

  3. Radwan Muscat replied, January 30, 2023 at 9:56 a.m.

    Believe me, you wasn't missed.

  4. frank schoon, January 29, 2023 at 9:54 a.m.

    I totally forgot about this game. Reading the reportage of SA on this game was negative than you know this game was a 'woozy'. To watch these last two games you need to take into account other factors than what you normally would look at. First of all, how many of these players come from the Academy and how many have a basic college soccer backround or have gone to both.  This same question should be asked of MLS players in order to get an idea, does going to these soccer academies run by MLS teams really make any difference out there in one's playing abilities. This would solve or answer the question about whether one should play college ball or immediate connect with the academy. My feeling is that college will do just fine.

    The way I look at it is that by the age of 20, a player has reached a certain 'gestalt', a style an manner of play that fits his technical abilities. After that it becomes more of a mental development,  becoming more efficient. At Ajax there is a saying that young players are allowed to do everything, experiment, whatever, but when you reach to pro-stage you cut out all the unnecessary frills ,become efficient to make the team play better....In short, DO THAT, DON'T DO THAT....

    In other words, players should be ready technically, when they reach 20, after that it is all about in how you function within the team. The stage where our players supposedly learn and develop before 20 is LACKING is very deficient. If you look at our players vs the Colombian players, the latter have much ball handling skills especially in small spaces and most importantly the are better at moving the ball around under pressure.  Our players all look and play alike and have the same DNA. Our player development somehow reach a glass ceiling in development when they reach around the age of 15. The few that who go beyond that are players who have more innate talent .

    Ajax is known for their youth development, but don't think that Ajax produced a van der Vaart, a Wesley Sneyder, a Edgar Davids ,a van Basten, etc. They already had talent. The Ajax youth program is set up to make the mediocre players better ,which is the great majority of the players.

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  5. frank schoon, January 29, 2023 at 10:31 a.m.

    The acquisition of getting a coaching licensing should be split into two licenses, One for Coaching and One for Training. Both can coach regardless of the license, but having a trainer license is more intense more difficult and more valueable for to get this license you need to be able to demonstrate the technical skills. In that dept. you need not only the ability to demonstrate skills but also have the ability demonstrate creative skills that is needed in a certain situation, that skills are more reflected in the type of player the trainer was.  A trainer who was a defender will not have the mindset, or have a 'toolbox' technical displays. For example,in a small sided game a trainer stops the game and demonstrates technically how to get out of a situation, that might look problematic.

    That's the problem our youth lack and much of these problems that come about later as the play get more sophisticated is due to lack of pickup soccer. The Colombian have a much 'handle' on the ball then our players. If getting a 'handle' on the ball is through learning through certain technical exercises at the academy, then our players would have this 'handle' but we don't. That 'handle' is learned in the stage leading up before the pro-stage. WE DON'T HAVE A 'HANDLE' ON THE BALL.  This is why we lack good ball possession, not good in small spaces, but man can we run with the ball even though we don't even shield the ball properly on the run...The Colombian players got much of ball-handling and thinking situations in pickup soccer....

    We have it all wrong with the 'coaching' license. We don't need licensed coaches when players are young, we need TRAINERS who can demonstrate, the various levels of skills. A COACHING license comes more into play when the players reach the age of 16. The current problem is that coaching license is not needed ,what players need at the early stage of development the freedom to experiment ,try things out, and learn from players or others who are better skilled than they and learn when to apply certain skills in certain situations..

    Our players all look alike, 'grey mice' and play the same way which tells me the lack of good coaching/trainers the players have had.  By the looks of some of their haircuts, where I do find some creativity, I think some of the barbers perhaps went out to lunch and forgot to come back...

  6. Ben Myers replied, January 29, 2023 at 10:50 a.m.

    Frank, From my perspective, you are 100% accurate claiming that training is more difficult than coaching. Separate licenses for both.  That's why the pro teams have several assistant coaches, a keeper trainer, a set piece expert, etc. Klopp, Guardiola, ten Hag, Marsch do not manage player training, becoming involved on occasion.  Lampard's success with Chelsea was in the training and development of his players, a superb collection of midfielders, and Tuchel took advantage of it, but did squat to improve the abilities of the team.  Arteta, after apprenticing with Guardiola, seems to have a mix of both.

  7. frank schoon replied, January 29, 2023 at 11:29 a.m.

    Ben, yup, you're so right. The USSF should require that assistant hired by NT should be ones who were great players....Rivelino, Zlatan, Wesley Sneyder, Beckenbauer TYPES. They have so much knowledge and experience, wisdom , and they can demonstrate as well, than look at the bench of 'nobodies' GB has....It's about time Cone, the USSF, whatever and the rest of that crew better start thinking and using their brains

  8. R2 Dad replied, January 29, 2023 at 2:59 p.m.

    I like this idea of separate licenses (if a license is to be required). Coaches all want to run older teams, mostly because they can then assume the basics have been handled by previous coaches. What i've found is that those basics aren't taught, uniformly, to those U8-U10 players that need to learn them early. Pay coaches less, or good trainers more, to incentivize correct soccer values in this country.

  9. frank schoon replied, January 29, 2023 at 4:08 p.m.

    Guys what I mean by a 'Trainer' which to me I weigh much ,much higher than a normal coaching license for this requires you to have good skills, ideas and able to demonstrate thenm. Realize all great players, Cruyff, Maradona, Messi, Pele ,etc all learned from previous great players. Cruyff copied  DiStefano style, Maradona copied Omar Sivori's style of play and so did van Hanegem of Holland. For example, Watch Sivori and you can see right away where Maradona got his influence f, same where  Messi got his.  Sivori was a star in the late 50's and early 60's
     Un regalo fenomenal del fútbol: Enrique Omar Sívori - YouTube

    The Scottish winger Jimmy Johnstone watched and learned from Stanley Matthews. Trainers have to be familiar with players they perhaps never seen but study them for there are certain youth players who tend  to move and are built in a way that would fit a style of previous players. For example Figo , Sivori, for example were not fast but can beat you by just zig zag and placing you on the wrong foot...and that's all you need, that one step, that slight fake. You from the great, the previous. Some day soon a trainer will connect Zlatan's way of playing with the ball. 

    In other words it is not only technique but knowing the history of previous players you employ to teach the youth, besides just being good in the technical part. Young players learn from older players ,who in turn learned from older players,etc. The problem today is that the coaches today are clueless as far as teaching technique. They have no connection to teaching technique knowing the past history of players other than having a Wiel Coerver video or follow some drills given by the coaching is all too programmed.

    Players, (youth) learn from the past (players). Today we have coaches who are under assumption that player skills from 50 years ago is not as good. Players skills today are nowhere near what it was 50years ago. Players today lack a touch on the ball as compared to players 50years ,for they  spend so much more time as a youth with a ball. When was the last time someone exactly saw 2 kids kicking a ball back and forth for an hour or so or even spend 10minutes. That was standard in my days for kids to kick a ball back and forth on their free time. It was  never with the idea of trying to improve oneself, it was something you did for fun. The only time kids today pass a ball back and forth is when they are at practice...
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  10. frank schoon replied, January 29, 2023 at 4:29 p.m.

    If you for example Aaronson shield the ball, he does it wrong...You don't shield the ball with your back square to the opponent. He does it constantly and that is why he ends up with his butt on the field alot. Apparently his little brother is the way...You never receive a ball with your back to the opponent , you should be at an angle with the receiving foot furthest away and lean in to the defender...Simple things like just aren't taught and you see it even on the MNT.... This is why NT coaches bring in to their staff former greats who are good at certain aspects of the game...

    All I ever see on GB's bench are lap top coaches looking the monitor screens, who are licensed and are clueless...Today we have a huge coaching staff. Diet coaches, psychologists, mental coaches, goalie coaches, video coaches, warm up coaches, coaches  telling subs what to do when coming on the field etc,etc...The dutch star ,former great van Hanegem once stated that soccer is beginning to lose the essence and simplicity of the game and realize the game is not getting better even with all these coaches. It still comes down to intelligence, technique of the player and how to handle the ball under pressure and knowing what to do with it ahead of time. This is the most important fact  players need to understand and having an extra busload of coaches isn't going to make players better skilled or think better.....

  11. humble 1 replied, January 30, 2023 at 10:55 a.m.

    Agree on trainer v coach, but, licensee should be expert in both.  We have problem here.  Our licencing process is not world class.  I am not in the mix, but for me the license process has Reyna problem, friends and family prevail.  Strong, wise voices come in and are cast off.  A la H.Perez and many others.  I am not an insider in any way, but, this is not rocket science.  My son had an old wise Croatian trainer for a summer, he laughed when I asked him about the licencse process here, compared to Croatia.  Laughed.  It is a well known joke ex-USA.  This needs to be remedied.  Have a nice day.

  12. Ben Myers, January 29, 2023 at 10:54 a.m.

    If nothing else, these two friendlies have revealed that out of training and out of form MLS players are largely incapable of playing high level international football. In form would be marginally better.  I am looking forward to the time when the USMNT coach, whoever he is, can call in the best in-form American players in Europe and put together a competitive national team.  

  13. Bill Riviere, January 29, 2023 at 11:32 a.m.

    Good analysis of what I saw of the match before boredom actually put me to sleep.  Not so sure it really was a sellout, though, as I recall seeing plenty of empty seats on the far side...right?  

  14. Kent James, January 29, 2023 at 12:09 p.m.

    I would not have characterized the game as a "snoozefest".  For a friendly, it was surprisingly combative (the ref gave the first yellow card, definitely deserved, in the first few minutes).  It was not pretty; there were lots of turnovers, but I think that was mainly because the defensive pressure was so intense.  Nobody was shying away from a challenge.  Much of the game seemed to be Paxten Aaronson trying to shield the ball from the Colombians.  We also had three excellent chances to score (Hoppe's attempt to go beneath the keeper 1 v 1, Aaronson's two efforts on goal, the first one not a great effort (after a great set-up by Hoppe) but the second one would have beaten the keeper by a defender's challange got enough on it to keep it out of goal), so I wouldn't say neither team was interested in scoring.  Both teams were being aggressive (Colombia had some good counters that they had trouble finishing, again, due to US defensive efforts).

    As for the players, I thought Aaronson played pretty well, as did Hoppe (he was able to recieve the ball, hold it up under pressure, and generally be constructive with it).  I thought Jones showed some potential. Not sure why Sabbi got a 2; he made some mistakes, but I also thought he showed some potential (but didn't really play long enough to get a real sense of his quality).  I like Zimmerman, but not sure why he got a 7; I'm also not sure why he played so long (or Aaronson played at all).  We know those players.  Same for Arriola, Acosta and Ferreira.  I get the idea that you need to have some consistency, but I would have liked to have seen some more of the new players (Cowell for Arriola, e.g.).  I also understand why Ferreira got the nod (given his Colombian background) and his through pass to Hoppe was sublime, but otherwise he seemed like he had his normal "work hard, don't make a lot of mistakes, but not really do anything to change the game" performance.  

    I thought Colombia was a much more difficult opponent than Serbia (though Serbia's finishing was better).  While I'm not a big fan of 0-0 games, this one did provide an opportunity to see how some young players responded to a challenging environment.

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, January 29, 2023 at 2:13 p.m.

    I agree with you generally. I was surpised because I thought that the coaching was better than under Gregg. Hudson didn't seem wedded to the conventional USSF tactics of making a 70 yard wide circle and then pass the ball ineffectively around the back of the circle.

    I don't disagree with Frank's views. I tried to look past the really horrible bad passes from the back line. The player pool is the same, and I was surprised that they played Colombia even.

    This doesn't mean that I think Hudson should replace GB. I just think Hudson is a better coach than GB. 

  16. humble 1 replied, January 30, 2023 at 11:01 a.m.

    I agree with Bob, did not watch games, but Columbia and Serbia, these, even if it is their B team, are serious opponents, everyone of those players has ambitions to be on their NT.  The results were not a joke.  What do you expect when you get players, mostly from MLS that are from a periodization perspective, working towards peak, and, by defintion, below peak.  Then you have interim coach, which takes the edge off the whole setup.  Normal.  I continue to instead watch South American U20 Championship with eye on Uruguay.  Much more meat on that bone.  Have a nice day. 

  17. Kent James replied, January 30, 2023 at 1:26 p.m.

    I meant to say "not sure why Aaron Long played at all" not "Aaronson"; I was very glad to see Aaronson play as much as he did.

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, January 30, 2023 at 2:57 p.m.

    Good points, Humble1. I wouldn't be surprised if the next coach keeps Hudson as an assistant. His resume is strong, he knows the players, and knows USSF. Hudson is going to want the job himself, so I don't know if he would stay, but he would be a plus for the program. 

  19. humble 1 replied, January 31, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.

    Hudson is a relatively young man, with a wide range of experience.  He seems like a coach who thinks ahead and handles adversity.  Coaching/playing in England, Holland, Bahrain, New Zealand, shows his ambition.  This will be the highest level he has handled as a coach.  For him great opportunity to continue to grow his career.  Someone to watch for sure.  Love to see young coaches taking on challenges in the right way, growing their capabilities.  Kind of like HC of Syracuse Men's Soccer Ian McIntyre, who I have a lot of respect for, and who just lead his boys to first ever College Cup, and Jill Ellis, another British ex-pat doing great work here, among many.  He would have faced two seasoned coaches in Argentine Nestor Lorenzo for Columbia and legendary Yogoslavian player and now Serbian coach Dragan Syjokoic.  I did not watch these games, and of course for the coaches, it would not have been about winning, rather about looking at players/giving opportunities/getting players caps, but still he did not embarass himself, so well done.  Keep it going!    

  20. Alan Blackledge, January 29, 2023 at 4:27 p.m.

    What did Vasquez do to warrant a 6? Crazy!

  21. Sean Guillory, January 29, 2023 at 8:44 p.m.

    How is Aaronson a 6?  He was 4 at best.  He was getting bullied off the ball all game and lost a ton of physical battles.

  22. Nick Gabris replied, January 30, 2023 at 1:21 p.m.

    Agree! Aaronson spent more time on the ground than being vertical.

  23. Bob Ashpole replied, February 1, 2023 at 12:18 a.m.

    The things you mention don't mean that Aaronson was playing poorly. Many times I see USMNT players make bad tactical decision and then compound it by bad execution, putting teammates in impossible and even dangerous positions.

    The object of good play is to do something effective with the ball before the opponent arrives. If there is a physical battle somebody screwed up to allow it.

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