USA-Oman Men's Friendly Player Ratings

Sept. 12 in St. Paul, Minn.
USA 4 Oman 0. Goals: Balogun 13, Aaronson 60, Pepi 79, own goal 81.
Att.: 13,665.
* * * * * * * * * *

The USA scored early, struggled to come up with creative ways to penetrate a team whose main interest was avoiding a rout, and finally when the toothless foe was thoroughly fatigued, added the goals needed to make it a satisfying scoreline. The USA beat Oman, ranked 73rd in the world by FIFA, 4-0 on Tuesday. Two youngsters, 18-year-old Benja Cremaschi and 20-year-old Kevin Paredes, got their debuts coming off the bench and contributed to goals. The players battling for the center forward spot each got to play a half. Folarin Balogun scored in the first half and Ricardo Pepi, as he has been, in the second half. A flukish free kick and own goal provided the other two. The win came three days after the USA's 3-0 win over Uzbekistan, which beat Oman 3-0 in June in the Central Asian Cup and tied Mexico 3-3 on Tuesday night.

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


Ethan Horvath's one save came from a header straight at him. He bobbled a second-half corner kick but caught it on the bounce. Horvath passed well after receiving back passes and he rolled the ball powerfully to Tim Weah to spark a counterattack.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest/ENG) 9/0 (28)


Right back Sergino Dest's 18-yard half-volley went to straight goalkeeper Ibrahim Al-Mukhaini but was struck powerfully enough to force the rebound that Folarin Balogun finished for the 1-0. In the second half, he shot wide on two prime opportunities. Despite spared of defensive duties, left back Kristoffer Lund failed to translate that luxury into attacking contributions. And when he received a pass from Folarin Balogun near the goal area, Lund hesitated instead of shooting and passed to a defender. He also enabled a stoppage-time Oman attack with a midfield giveaway. Center back Chris Richards moved farther up field to defend and helped keep Oman pinned in its half. His partner Miles Robinson, who fouled on his first defensive header, cleared the few high balls Oman managed to launch into the penalty area. In the 33rd minute, Robinson shot at the keeper from the corner of the goal area.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Sergino Dest (PSV Eindhoven/NED) 28/2 (22)

Chris Richards (Crystal Palace/ENG) 12/1 (23)

Miles Robinson (Atlanta United) 26/3 (26)

Kristoffer Lund (Palermo/ITA) 2/0 (21)


Weston McKennie's cross-field passes, including to Weah ahead of the first goal, provided most of the USA's first-half playmaking. In the second half, he squandered two major scoring chances with shots wide of the goal. Yunus Musah effortlessly interfered with Oman's feeble attempts to move upfield and safely distributed the ball. Malik Tillman passed through the middle to Brenden Aaronson ahead of the second goal on a free kick awarded for a foul on Aaronson. But otherwise the U.S. midfield's buildup focused on going wide when more creative forays down the middle were needed.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA) 46/11 (25)

Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven/NED) 6/0 (21)

Yunus Musah (AC Milan/ITA) 28/0 (20)


Oman's scouting report, if they had one, failed to report the danger of right winger Tim Weah on the wing and they gave him plenty of space to receive cross-field passes. Weah nicely volleyed McKennie's delivery to Dest on the first goal. Weah also began roaming the field and sent the pass from the left side of midfield to DeJuan Jones on the right flank to assist on Ricardo Pepi's goal. Weah set the plate for a chance in the penalty area that Dest shot wide. Folarin Balogun's only shot of the game was a poacher's finish for the 1-0 goal. Perhaps Weah had space because Oman did have a defensive strategy to surround Christian Pulisic on the left flank. His forgettable evening included slipping to the grass in the 12th minute while about to meet Weah's pass that arrived at the edge of the penalty area. (That pass ended up reaching McKennie, who sent it back to Weah on the first goal.) On Pulisic's left side, with McKennie opting mainly to send balls to the right wing and left back Lund an ineffectual attacker, Pulisic had few chances to contribute. His time on the ball included under-hit passes, thwarted attempts to dribble through the crowd, and six fruitless corner kicks.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Tim Weah (Juventus/ITA) 33/5 (23)

Folarin Balogun (Monaco/FRA) 4/2 (22)

Christian Pulisic (AC Milan/ITA) 62/26 (24)


They came off the bench when the minnow opponent was also a fatigued foe, but to their credit, Berhalter's subs made the most of it. Ricardo Pepi got a fourth chance after heading wide, heading into the side-netting, and shooting wide from close range. It was an excellent finish: a swift strike on the turn after a good first touch that nutmegged a defender and too powerful for the outstretched right hand of goalkeeper Al-Mukhaini. After getting chopped down by Ahmed Al-Khamisi, Brenden Aaronson took a 25-yard free kick that made it 2-0 thanks much to the four-man Omani wall opening a gap for his shot and the slow-reacting goalkeeper. Debutant Benja Cremaschi, poised on the ball, set up one of Dest's big chances. DeJuan Jones assisted Pepi's goal. Although an own goal, the buildup to the fourth goal was impressive, with Jones feeding Cremaschi, who cleverly passed between two defenders so that another debutant, Kevin Paredes, could beat Ahmed Al Kaabi to the ball and hit the sharp low cross that Khalid Al-Braiki poked into his own net.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven/NED) 18/9 (20)

Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin/GER) 34/8 (22)

Benja Cremaschi (Inter Miami) 1/0 (18)

Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL) 13/0 (24)

DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution) 7/0 (26)

Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER) 1/0 (20)

TRIVIA: Pepi has scored the last four of his nine goals for the USA after coming on as a sub.

NOTABLE: Half of the U.S. starting field players were raised abroad: Balogun (England), Dest (Netherlands), Musah (Italy and England), Lund (Denmark), Tillman (Germany). Weah moved to France when he was 14, while Pulisic was 16 when he joined Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

UP NEXT: The USA hosts Germany Oct. 14 in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Sept. 12 in St. Paul, Minn.
USA 4 Oman 0. Goals: Balogun 13, Aaronson 60, Pepi 79, own goal 81.
USA — Horvath; Dest (Jones, 76), Richards (McKenzie, 71), M.Robinson, Lund; McKennie, Tillman (Cremaschi, 71), Musah; Weah (Paredes, 79), Balogun (Pepi, 46), Pulisic (Aaronson, 46).
Oman — Al-Mukhaini; Al-Yahmadi, Al-Braiki, Al-Khamisi, Al-Kaabi; Al-Balushi (M.Al-Mushaifri, 80), Al-Saadi, Fawaz (A.Al-Mushaifri, 64), Al-Aghbari (Al-Mamari, 64); Al-Ghassani, Al-Sabhi.
Yellow cards: USA — Musah 88; Oman — Al-Mamari 66. Red cards: none.
Referee: Mario Escobar (Guatemala). ARs: Luis Ventura (Guatemala), Humberto Panjoj (Guatemala). 4th Official: Sergio Reyna (Guatemala).
Att.: 13,665.

Shots: 19/7
Shots on target: 9/1
Saves: 1/6
Corner Kicks: 8/4
Fouls: 12/9
Offside: 0/2
Possession: 60%-40%
27 comments about "USA-Oman Men's Friendly Player Ratings".
  1. R2 Dad, September 13, 2023 at 2:16 a.m.

    Note to USSF: crushing minnows in no way validates your decision to rehire GB. 

  2. Santiago 1314 replied, September 13, 2023 at 6:30 a.m.


  3. Kerry Solomon replied, September 13, 2023 at 4:15 p.m.

    Wholeheartedly agree.  He's lost. Should have hired the interim coach.  He understands attacking soccer, not the continuous back passing to build from the back. Then, constantly trying to pop balls over the top.  That's youth soccer at its best.

  4. Santiago 1314, September 13, 2023 at 7:08 a.m.

    Santiago 1314, August 30, 2023 at 10:35 p.m.
    Ggg Gonna Pound that Square Peg(Tillman) into the Round Hole (Reyna) #10 and Hope that Tillman will have a Blinder and Everyone will Forget about GIO.!!! ... Ain't gonna happen; But, if you put Tillman on Left Forward, he MIGHT Make People Forget about CP.!?!?!?


    Would have rather Seen CP at #10 and Tillman at Left Forward.

  5. Chris Wasdyke replied, September 13, 2023 at 11:45 a.m.

    How would Reyna have even played?  He just got minutes with the Dortmund u23s.  The amount of negativity and moaning on this site has become unbearable.  I'm surprised with the vast knowledge all the armchair QBs here have, no e of you aren't coaching the team.

  6. Santiago 1314 replied, September 13, 2023 at 8:47 p.m.

    Chris, you don't see it ???
    TO NOT PLAY GIO AS a #10

  7. John McGinty, September 13, 2023 at 7:30 a.m.

    On a non-player note would like to give a high rating to Luke Wileman, his announcing of the game was superb, effortlessly weaving in relevant facts and information with a steady commentary on the flow of the game. His descriptions of player movements for both sides, along with identifying the player during the run of play, was superior to almost any other announcer over the last year. Melissa Ortiz sideline reporting was also excellent.

  8. frank schoon replied, September 13, 2023 at 7:38 a.m.

    John, since you describe the commentating through the eyes of a 'non-player' ,  I can understand your assessment although for me they should say with  Duckpin bowling.....

  9. Georgie Best, September 13, 2023 at 8:26 a.m.

    Yes it's only 2023 but I saw nothing to suggest they will be anything more than an also-ran in 2026. Dominating the mid-field both offensively and defensively regardless of the opponent will be critical if they hope to have any success in 26. It's a different team with Reyna in the midfield and he just  needs a Jermaine Jones type next to him to cover defensively.  If Berhalter thinks he can marginalize Gio and still have a shot at winning anything then we're doomed. Berhalter was the wrong choice from the beginning anyway....

  10. Wooden Ships replied, September 14, 2023 at 11:34 a.m.

    Agreed George. 

  11. frank schoon, September 13, 2023 at 9:08 a.m.

    I just watched the first half last night, after falling asleep at about 30min. and just now try to watch about 25min. this morning.  I like to know who is behind scheduling these games for our NT men and women, for it seems we always play teams that are near the bottom of the food chain....

    Fortunately we don't have a sophisticated fan base and therefore we can get away giving the public garbage soccer and paying for it with no complaints ,and making the public happy as long as we win and look good. 

    Oman, is a pub team disguised as a NT. It wasn't until the 23min. of the game that they eventually strung two consecutive passes together. Their passing accuracy was bad, they lost just about every 1v1 confrontation, they had no attack, they had no team concept....I mean how dare the USSF give us this type of quality soccer to the public. This game should game should have been taken off the air due to creating air pollution.....

    My first reaction of the second half upon seeing Horvath in goal was that Curly of the 3-Stooges was back. And those shoes of Musah, I thought Toy's R Us was no longer in business....

    One thing that worries me is that no matter how bad the opponents are that we play, our play sophistication does not improve. Our level or quality of play stays the same, and perhaps look better but that is due to the lesser quality of the opponents making us look better....

    If you look at Lund and Dest who love to move up on attack. But who will take care of their position, which is our midfielders. What happens as a result is that #6 our center mid drops back somewhat between the two centerbacks to help out due to the backs moving into the line....Get my drift of what's happening or rather can be a disaster waiting to happen. Our midfield is totally weakened and if the opponents or rather their coach has half a brain he would put pressure on our midfield during transistion and it's over for us...This is why it is so important to have 5 players around the midfield to hold the fort...

    The other problem is our enthusiasm to run over to the flank to help out without realizing you're bringing the opponents with you. McKennie has the ball on the flank, than CP comes, the back, and even a #9 will move over there....Leave the wing or whoever alone and give him room and space!!!

  12. Santiago 1314 replied, September 14, 2023 at 12:20 a.m.

    Same Problem Persists in the Box;
    How do Not ONE, But 2 Balls Land Inside the 6, 
    And there is No One there to Tap them IN.???
    Coach Ggg or BJg or Santa Maria.!!!
    Teach Near Post, Far Post , Perimeter on Runs in the Box.!!!

  13. frank schoon replied, September 14, 2023 at 8:40 a.m.

    Santi, You're so right. When no one is there to take advantage of the opportunity to score, that's rediculous....Those players whose only job is to score don't show....that's p*ss poor..

  14. Philip Carragher replied, September 14, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.

    Where is Sargent?

  15. frank schoon replied, September 14, 2023 at 10:42 a.m.

    Philip, I think he injured his ankle a couple of weeks ago

  16. Santiago 1314 replied, September 17, 2023 at 11:50 p.m.

    Ankle Surgery ... Out until at least December 

  17. Kent James, September 13, 2023 at 11:15 a.m.

    Oman, like Uzbekistan, is not a top team.  But a lot of the top teams are busy, and unavailable (S America with WC qualifying, and Europe with European Qualifiers, Africa with cup of nations qualifying), so besides CONCACAF, that pretty much leaves Asia.  I don't know when these games were set up, but I'm guessing it was while GB was not in charge (since he was just hired a month ago).  So the idea that GB is setting us up against weak teams to look good is a stretch.  Next month we have Germany and Ghana, which will be pretty solid opponents (though critics I'm sure will say that GB only picked Germany because they're currently in disarray....

    As for the player ratings, Pulisic played better this game than last  (3 is a bit harsh), though still not up to his standards.  I thought Lund was pretty competently active in the first half (though the errors mentioned were true, I'd attribute that it being his first start); he needs more time to get a true evaluation.  Cremaschi looked nervous to start, but grew into the game (and he and Paredes and Jones took advantage of the acres of space they were given on the right side). Pepe and Balogun did what you want strikers to do, score goals.  Aaronson came on and did what he does, which is bring energy and maket things happen (sure his goal was because the wall broke, but you take what you can get).  

    The first goal was excellent; McKinnie (who was the best US player over the 2 games) did a great job to use his body to get the loose ball, some nice footwork to set up his excellent cross; Weah positioned himself well, and had an excellent drop-off to Dest, who hammered his one touch shot, and Balogun, positioned himself well and made no mistake on his finish.  Well-played all around.  

    In short, the US team did what they were supposed to do against an inferior opponent, and improved upon the last outing.  GB got to look at some young players, and the team had a positive two games.  Not a bad two games.  Next time they can test themselves against Germany and Ghana.

  18. Wooden Ships, September 13, 2023 at 1:02 p.m.

    CP is an enigma on the field, not a strong left winger and he occasionally hits a nice restart. Needs to the let the game come to him. Lund to me looked better than Jedi attacking, but again, CP doesn't play great on the left wing. The distribution of Horvath is superior to Turner, his foot work-touch and passing is top notch. I believe he commands his box as well as any of our Keepers. I also still rate Sargent as our most complete 9. 

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, September 13, 2023 at 3:34 p.m.

    I don't understand why Gregg uses CP on the ball for restarts. Seems foolish to me. He should be a target. If nothing else, he can clear space for another.

    I liked Richards paired with Robinson. Better partnership then Richards and Ream. Better movement and positioning.

    I am still not impressed with Balogun. Yes he scored, but can you imagine a professional not finishing that ball?

    I thought Tillman did enough to keep him in the pool. I rate at least 5 others ahead of him (Busio, Musah, LDLT, McKennie, Adams). Just listing them makes me wonder what the heck the coaches are doing.

    Sargent and Reyna should both be first call players. 

    I would be thinking about Weah as a 9 and left wing. I always favored having the 3 forwards switch positons at will. Look at the flowing movements in basketball and hockey that unbalance the defense. I think Weah, CP, Sargent and Reyna would make a slippery diamond up top and a difficult problem for the opposing backs and keeper to solve. This is nothing new. In fact it dates back to the 235 and 424 grand-daddies of the 433.

    But that isn't the "vertical" turbo style of play.

  20. Wooden Ships replied, September 14, 2023 at 11:44 a.m.

    Bob, I'd have CP on the Keeper or outside the 18. I'm okay with your center back pairing. Balogun is definitely a good forward that will get even better. For me it's Sargent, Balogun and Pepi (their all young and will get better). Weah I don't ever see as a 9, just not his makeup. I do agree with the players you mentioned appearing in unexpected areas as the game gives them that. Rigidity in attack is less than optimal and it's simpler to account for. But, our lack of comfort with the ball is glaring. We have some good ball skills players, but Gregg isn't the one to understand that and recognize it's worth. 

  21. Bob Ashpole replied, September 14, 2023 at 2:44 p.m.

    I value your judgment far more than mine.

    My concern with Balogun was his technique on the header in the first game and his positioning overall.  His foot technique on the second goal was excellent and quick.

    I don't see Weah playing between the CBs. He is big, athletic, and quick. I see him dropping a bit lower, but you would be a better judge of that possibility. If they drop with him, they give him space behind to exploit facing goal with his quickness.

    My ball skills were relatively weak for a winger, but I made up for it with quickness, speed of play, vision and good timing. Good positioning helps a lot.

    Our coaches are not getting the best out of the talent we have now. 30 years ago the Army had sayings I think are relevant now: 1) Be all you can be, and 2) Fight the war with what you have. Substandard ball skills are not a reason to belittle the benefits of good positioning. 

  22. Ted Morehouse, September 13, 2023 at 3:54 p.m.

    Like watching a full in scrimmage.  Glad to see some new faces.  Dest never outs his open shots in frame.  Too much passing in the box by everyone. Fear of shooting and missing? Nothing exciting here . 

  23. Karl Sonneman, September 13, 2023 at 5:36 p.m.

    Overrate the subs and could differentiate better among Dest and mid-fielders.  Weah and McKinnie helped shape the game and deserve more than the others. 

  24. Alfred Randall, September 14, 2023 at midnight

    Lund a 4? He made one bad pass the whole match just at the end. Lund was a 6. Don't like him huh?

  25. Bob Ashpole replied, September 14, 2023 at 11:44 a.m.

    Looking at the percentage of "effective" passes weighs higher than merely avoiding a "bad" pass.

    Besides subjective judgments about passing is complicated and involves considering the play of at least 3 different individuals for each pass. You should not assume that the last person to touch the ball is to blame for a bad bass. Or that the last misplayed ball was the "bad" pass at issue.

    In short, Mike is probably considering different things than you are. 

  26. Santiago 1314 replied, September 14, 2023 at 11:11 p.m.

    Liked what I saw from LUND;
    Good Size, Pure Lefty, Good Touch on the Ball...
    Decent Athletically...
    About the same Level Tactically as Vines...
    We shall See...

  27. Bob Ashpole replied, September 15, 2023 at 5:42 p.m.

    Santi, my view is you can never have enough depth at left back. A big welcome to Lund.

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