USA-Trinidad & Tobago Concacaf Nations League Player Ratings

Nov. 16 in Austin, Texas
USA 3 Trinidad & Tobago 0. Goals: Pepi 82, A.Robinson 86, Reyna 89.
Att.: 19,850.

Fielding an all European-based starting lineup, the USA played a first half as if suffering from interplanetary jet lag against a Trinidad & Tobago team that defended with 10 men. It became a nine-man defense after Noah Powder's 37th-minute ejection. Gio Reyna's composure in the middle of the field amid the ragged U.S. play ensured that the steady pressure on the Soca Warriors would eventually pay off. Ricardo Pepi came off the bench and broke the stalemate in the 82nd minute, followed by Antonee Robinson's deflected long-range shot into the net four minutes later and Reyna's own finish in the 89th minute. The 3-0 win gives the USA a comfortable lead going into the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal second leg in Port of Spain on Monday.

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


There's no telling whether his recent benching at Nottingham Forest would affect Matt Turner's USMNT performances because he wasn't tested by the Soca Warriors.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest/ENG) 36/0 (29)


The USA needed more creativity from outside backs Sergino Dest and Antonee Robinson than their hopeful balls into the crowded T&T penalty box. Robinson finally delivered a pass within a teammate's reach to assist on the first U.S. goal (1-0) and provided its second with a deflected shot into the net from 22 yards out (2-0). With central defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers and Tim Ream having no defensive concerns, Ream was the one who used that luxury somewhat with midfield distribution.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Sergino Dest (PSV Eindhoven/NED) 31/2 (23)

Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/SCO) 15/0 (25)

Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG) 54/1 (36)

Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG) 38/3 (26)


Gio Reyna started off with impressive passing of various ranges, including a pinpoint lofted cross-field delivery. Though not as sharp in the latter stages of the first half, his ball-handling overall steadied a team plagued by haste and sloppiness. His pass to sub Brenden Aaronson provided a golden chance inside the penalty area. Reyna headed a T&T clearance to the feet of Robinson that enabled the left back to assist on the first U.S. goal. He didn't assist directly on the USA's second goal, but froze a pair of defenders before his cross was cleared to Robinson for his shot to make it 2-0. Reyna, who celebrated his 21st birthday four days earlier, scored his seventh goal in 23 games for the USA in the 89th minute (3-0) — finishing after being involved in the buildup. Neither Weston McKennie and Yunus Musha figured out how to contribute to breaking down the defensive foe but McKennie made the highlight reel when fouled in midfield by Powder for the Trinidadian's second yellow.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA) 49/11 (25)

Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER) 23/7 (21)

Yunus Musah (AC Milan/ITA) 32/0 (20)


On the left wing, Kevin Paredes failed to control the ball on the rare occasions it came his way. In the 66th minute, his half-volley from 10 yards flew into the stands shortly before he got subbed in the 66th minute. Malik Tillman saw more of the ball, enabling him to provide an even more frustrating performance on the right wing. He too exited in the 66th minute. Folarin Balogun failed to escape Aubrey David's cover in the first half. His one shot on target rolled to goalkeeper Denzil Smith while others missed the goal or struck defenders. He finished on a high note by prepping Reyna's shot that made it 3-0.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven/NED) 7/0 (21)

Folarin Balogun  (Monaco/FRA) 7/3 (22)

Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER) 3/0 (20)


Although marked as tightly as possible by David, Ricardo Pepi managed to flick home the USA's opening goal (1-0). Brenden Aaronson should have opened the scoring on a chance much more convenient than Pepi's and mis-hit three other shots. 

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven/NED) 21/10 (20)

Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin/GER) 37/8 (22)

NOTABLE: Six of the USA's starters were raised abroad: Dest (Netherlands), Carter-Vickers (England), A.Robinson (England); Musah (Italy/England), Tillman (Germany), Balogun (England).

UP NEXTOn Monday, Nov. 20, Trinidad & Tobago hosts the USA in the second leg of the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals.

Nov. 16 in Austin, Texas
USA 3 Trinidad & Tobago  0. Goals: Pepi 82, A.Robinson 86, Reyna 89.
USA — Turner; Dest, Carter-Vickers, Ream, A.Robinson; McKennie, Reyna, Musah; Tillman (Pepi, 66), Balogun, Parades (B.Aaronson, 66).
Trinidad & Tobago — Smith; Jones, David, Garcia, Phillips (Lee-Him, 66), Raymond; Telfer (Hacksaw, 46), Gomez, Rampersad (Williams, 66), Powder; Shaw (Garcia, 66).
Yellow cards: USA — none. T&T -- Powder 18, 38, Hackshaw 91+1 Red cards: USA — none; T&T — Powder 38.
Referee:  Oshane Nation (Jamaica). ARs: Stephanie-Dale Yee Sing (Jamaica), Ojay Duhaney (Jamaica). 4th official: Christopher Mason (Jamaica).  VAR: Drew Fischer (Canada). AVAR: Benjamin Pineda (Costa Rica).
Att.: 19,850

Shots: 26/1
Shots on target: 8/0
Saves: 0/5
Corner Kicks: 10/0
Fouls: 14/9
Offside: 2/3
Possession: 75%/25%

Photo: Robin Alam/ISI Photos

33 comments about "USA-Trinidad & Tobago Concacaf Nations League Player Ratings".
  1. frank schoon, November 17, 2023 at 7:46 a.m.

    Well, they won but the team they played was just awful. From the start their tactics was to play defense and just hope for the best...
    How can anyone rate our players in this game when the opponents on average gave all of us 5 meters of space to pass a ball. If you are going to give Reyna an 8 then you might just as well give him a 10.
    We were allowed so much time and space to dish the ball off, that I didn't even bother watching the 2nd half. 

    The only aspect this game points out is that our wings or whatever you call our flank attack was able to go to the endline for crosses which made our attacking forays more dangerous. It's been a long time since I've seen anyone on the left flank reach the endline...

    Dest ,to me, was the best player on the field. You can tell as a youth he played wing but was turned into a back...

    Considering they were with 10men that played a very defensive role, then it behooves us to play it smart which don't have A.Robinson ,for example, run 30 meters with the ball for what you're doing is giving the opponents with less men more time to set up on defense....Other players likewise had to play Turbo as well, like McKennie. At this stage with one man less we needed to play a little smarter. That means, reduce extra long diagonal balls for it will just give the opponents more time to set up. Also the goalie for quick attacks should have employed low drop kicks for faster attacks.

    The opponents due to their defensive set up gave us a lot of time and what happens we have certain players who want to run with the ball, thinking this will speed up the game when in effect it slows it down....We had no give and go's which is a major weakness of our soccer at all levels. 

  2. Bob Ashpole, November 17, 2023 at 7:50 a.m.

    For this type of match I prefer Busio over Musah. Musah doesn't transition from Turbo to possession play well. 

    I also saw Frank's point about needing a skilled attacking CB. Gregg uses Ream for his long passing, but Ream is tactically very slow. On a long diagonal pass, the slowness is not such a liability because he is waiting while the player is making a long run. But it gives up a lot of mobility of the ball and of the CB. It also is predictable. Size is overrated as an advantage.  

    Nothing new to watch. Everyone's idea of how to score goals is to move to the 9's space, which doesn't stretch the defense and in fact compacts the space around the 9. I should not have said everyone, because Dest was supplying the wing play on the right side. I don't blame the players for this, because I believe that is how they are being coached to play.

  3. Santiago 1314 replied, November 17, 2023 at 12:42 p.m.

    Bob, I believe Busio is with the Olympic Team.

  4. frank schoon replied, November 17, 2023 at 10:47 p.m.

    Bob, with the the type of CB I want to see, a good attacking midfielder type who is quick fast will draw other opponents towards him thus creating space for his teammates nearby, like #6 ,#8.  It would also reduce CP to always come back, leaving his wing position, into his own half to receive the ball with his back facing downfield. This is a win win situation and furthermore add more strength and balance in our backfield centerbacks. Furthermore our attack , passing wise, will be much quicker

  5. Santiago 1314, November 17, 2023 at 7:56 a.m.

    Nice to see Ggg put Pepi and Balo on at the same time;
    Would have been better to Start Tillman at Left Forward and Zendejas at Right Forward. 
    Inverted Wingers and Overlapping Full-Backs would have been more effective against Packed Defense.
    From watching Tillman the Last 2 Years; I don't EVER Remember seeing him on the Right Wing.
    Ggg won't play him on the Left Wing, because it might expose that Tillman can be as Dangerous as CP; and Ggg can't allow any Competition to his Boy; "Captain America"
    Ream.???.... We just Wasted another 90 minutes of Development (Plus Training/Camp Time) for either Trusty or MacKenZIE.
    I am not sure Balo is "Capable" of Playing with this Team, when we are NOT in Transition.... Jury still out on him.

  6. humble 1 replied, November 20, 2023 at 12:46 p.m.

    you mean your jury of one is out on him - right?  I think you are all alone on your island of uncertainty mi amigo.    

  7. Santiago 1314 replied, November 20, 2023 at 4:01 p.m.

    I think it would be Interesting to see Balo out on Rt Wing, with Pepi in the Middle.
    I see Balo as more of a Mbappe type of "Inside" Forward, Slashing to Goal from Behind and Off to One Side or the Other... Not a #9
    This Player Does NOT Exist in the GGG "System"
    If Ggg is going to "Grow", He Needs to Adjust his Tactics to the Qualities and Strengths of his Players... Not Vice-Versa.
    Balo seems Incapable of Creating his Own Chances... (Not that we have anyone that Can)
    He might just "Fade Out" if the System is Not More Transition Based,
    Which is "Impossible" against Bunker Teams in CONcacaCrApF or Central Asia or 80% of the Teams that we will play against... 
    So can he Bring something Else.???? Jury is Out... Like I said.
    I haven't seen him make "Slashing" Near Post Runs like the one Pepi did... 
    I haven't seen him be a "Heading" Threat...
    I haven't seen him Turn and Face Up and Beat his Defender 1v1...
    I haven't seen him ..... get the Point....
    Now, He has shown that he can "Play of the Shoulder' Of the Last Defender and make Breaks into the "Space Behind"... BUT, is that a Tactic that GGG uses.??? NO... BJ did YES... and that is why we saw a More effective Balo.

  8. Kevin Leahy, November 17, 2023 at 9:05 a.m.

    Agree with all the comments so far. Wanted to see Zendejas start with the front line players but, knew that wouldn't happen. They need to decide if A. Robinson's defense is a more important than his liability to the offense. Think Scally brings more to the team overall. Pepi is starting to grow on me. Would like him to show that, he can use his left foot. Tillman had a nightmare of a game and Paredes was out of his element. Don't see any development from Aaronsen. Santi, I don't see Balogun as the problem, as much as how, this team plays. Was stunned to see them actually run a play off of a corner kick! GB is not the guy to take this to another level. If everyone is healthy, it will always be a righthanded team.

  9. Santiago 1314 replied, November 17, 2023 at 10:28 a.m.

    Agree that Balo is Not the Problem.
    The Problem is.... He is Not your PROTO Type #9,
    Especially like, Back-to-the-Goal, Target Man. (Dyke, Haji, Pefok)
    Which would have been the Preferred #9 last night.
    Hopefully, T&T will have to come out of the Bunker down in Trinidad,
    and we will have some Transition Attacks that play to his Real Strength.
    I Honestly haven't seen all that much of him;
    I Refuse to PAY for another Subscription(BeIN), especially because we only have (1) American in the French League.
    What continues to be the Problem... USA Men and Women... 
    Our Coaches are INCAPABLE of Adjusting our Tactics;
    To the The Talent we have(on any given Night) and the Weaknesses of the Opponents...
    GGG was OUTCOACHED Last Night...
    If Pepi doesn't PULL HIS BACON OUT OF THE FIRE...AGAIN.!!!! ... We Probably TIE

  10. humble 1 replied, November 20, 2023 at 12:49 p.m.

    What?  Check on Robinson - not a perfect player - but a lock starter in the prem - that is one of the most durable players fullbacks in the world?  Check on whether he's a liabilty, for the USA?  We should be thanking our lucky stars the young man, every time he plays for us. Him and Dest.  Thank you! 

  11. R2 Dad, November 17, 2023 at 11:07 a.m.

    Lots of ball-watching and playing to feet. Nobody put on their finishing boots in that first half. It's difficult to walk the ball into the net against a 5-4-1. Would have appreciated if GB could have emphasized a better counterattack because otherwise we gave them all day to reset their D.  We don't always need a big lump at CB, but all-things-being-equal when you need to put a body on a body for all those aerial duels, I'm glad we have CCV for the job. 

  12. Perry McIntyre, November 17, 2023 at 12:05 p.m.

    ..."interplanetary jet lag."?

    Impressive how well they've all been playing in the Mars Premier League. ;-)

  13. R2 Dad, November 17, 2023 at 12:11 p.m.

    I thought the ref did a good job, but the red was unnecessary. Would have liked to see him pull the red card, and just hold it in his hands. Would have acheived the same control as the 2nd yellow was clearly verbal. However, this is something you can do at the amateur level; prolly not FIFA-approved procedure.

  14. Kevin Leahy replied, November 17, 2023 at 12:20 p.m.

    R2, thought it was a stupid play for someone already carrying a yellow but, agree with your assessment.

  15. Anthony Petgrave, November 17, 2023 at 12:39 p.m.

    ...25% possession for T&T, when? who was measuring?

    I too would have liked to see Alex Zendejas get a sniff, even if only to prove if he could cut it?

    Pepi keeps saving GGG's bacon...I hope he (GGG) remembers!
    Both Tillman & Dest came up short in this match, from my view, but I would expect better to come, from both.

  16. Kent James, November 17, 2023 at 12:45 p.m.

    I must have watched a different game than Mike.  I thought Reyna disappeared for large portions of the game (but did play well in the last 15 minutes).  It's not that he did anything wrong, he just wasn't a factor until the end. Musah and McKinnie didn't play badly, but they weren't as signfiicant as they usually are.  Dest and Robinson were the players responsible for much of our offense, Dest with crosses and also coming inside to hit one screamer of a shot and another shot that he tried to place in the upper corner.  Robinson had some dangerous crosses, both on the break and in stagnant situations, and hit and excellent left-footed shot.  And while Ream didn't have much to do defensively, isolated against relatively quick forwards in the open field (not his strength), he not only stripped them of the ball but a few times did so with a touch that started a counterattack. And he hit some excellent long passes out of the back.  Aaronson a 2?  Come on; he and Pepe came in and helped change the game.  Aaronson got in position to make two attempts on goal (both of which narrowly missed) in the first five minutes he was on the field.  It seems like Mike is punishing him for missing rather that rewarding him for finding the chances.  I felt bad for Tillman; he couldn't seem to do anything right.  While GB likes to have faith in his players (unlike JK, who used to puill players if they made a single mistake), but I think he should have pulled him at halftime and told him he was a good player, but he was having an off-night.  Paredes showed some potential, but it remained potential. In the back, I thought CCV and the T&T forward he was marking were playing the wrong sport; they needed a mat (but I thought CCV handled that pretty well).  I still don't think he'll be a big component of our best defense, but he can certainly handle a physical opponent.  Not sure what to think about Balogun; he didn't play poorly but didn't have much of an impact.  Seems like a lot of people are convinced he's the striker we're waiting for, but for me, he's still more potential than established fact (and certainly, Pepi's been more effective off the bench).  Some have suggested Balogun is better against non-Concacaf opponents, which may be true.

    Granted, T&T was pretty bad, but the US did well not to get too frustrated and keep working to get a goal.  

    On a side note, I thought the VAR got the no penalty call right (much as it looked like a penalty in real time).  

  17. Santiago 1314 replied, November 20, 2023 at 4:09 p.m.

    Gio is a "Luxury" Player...
    He is a Player of "LEAST RESISTANCE"
    Your Team is going to Play 10 Fixed Players and One Guy who is going to Float...
    Just like Messi does for Argentina.
    What Gio does is Gravitate to the Spot on the Field, that is Least Stressful when Receiving the Ball. The Area of LEAST Resistance,,, That is why you will see him taking balls of the CBs from almost a Left Back or Defensive Midfielder Position.
    This gives him plenty of Time to get his Head up and "Dick Around" with the Ball.
    Just to be Clear... I am FINE with this.. As Long as the Rest of the Team and COACH "Gets IT"
    He can really Dictate and Destablize a Game... Both Positively and Negatively....
    He's the Kind of Player that is going to Float around, without Impact for 95% of the Game,
    and then give that Flick, Pass or Dribble that Breaks down the Opponent.

  18. Emily Button, November 17, 2023 at 12:50 p.m.

    Team needs to follow up on shots like jackals. Garbage goals are worth same as pretty ones. This is a longstanding American deficiency 

  19. Wooden Ships replied, November 18, 2023 at 9:41 a.m.

    Very true Emily. 

  20. John Sabala, November 17, 2023 at 1:04 p.m.

      Same Old Inept Coaching,
    Have to credit T&T with putting a game plan together and excuting to give them a chance to get out with a draw and maybe get a chance at a lone lucky goal on a counter.  How could not know that T&T were going to park the bus from the outset. It is what I would have done knowing the US cannot combine play in tight spaces, especially on the left with A. Robinson. I have said all along he should never be our starting LB. He has brick feet and cannot beat anyone 1v1, nor pass accurately anywhere including the box.  Kudos for the strike from distance and Pepi took his cross near post so did not have far to travel. GB does not know how to break down low block teams and this has been shown over and over again. As so many stated he is outcoached in most matches, it is the superior talent of the players getting the results. We always here, we need to get behind their backline....well dude that is not happening with 5 across the back. You have to create an overload with the overlapping as others stated to break the defense that will allow penetrating passes centrally. A back 5 wants you to try and cross into the box. Odds in their favor to clear it. 

    Highly disappointing that even with 10 men we could not create real dangerous chances, until the flick-deflection passed their keeper. It could have very well ended in a draw. How can USSF not see their hiring mistake once again. At least the woman's side got a first rate coach.  For the record, the first yellow was so soft. The second foul was definately a yellow. I agree overall the Ref did a very good job. Got help from VR on his one big mistake.

  21. Peter Bechtold replied, November 18, 2023 at 1:18 p.m.

    JS, yes the Women got a first rate coach, as you say. I have noticed for some time that the current USSF leadership seems to favor the Women's side in several ways.

  22. Donald Schneider, November 17, 2023 at 1:05 p.m.

    Too harsh on Aaronson. His final touches weren't great, but his energy is a big part of what opened up the game and unlocked the bunker.

  23. Ted Morehouse, November 17, 2023 at 1:19 p.m.

    Player ratings shows US has a team to .....not worry about.  

  24. Kerry Solomon, November 17, 2023 at 1:35 p.m.

    Even though I love watching them, McKennie, Tillman, Aaronson need to be dropped from the USMNT for a while.  They just are not preforming to that level.

  25. Sam Bellin, November 17, 2023 at 1:51 p.m.

    Ratings overall pretty good with these exceptions:  Dest was very active and consistently useful in attack and deserved a 7; McKennie's ruggedness is helpful in these Concacaf slugfests and deserved a 6; Aaronson's intelligent movement and energy were a big part of our improved late offense and deserved a 6.  Tillman was terrible last night but I've seen him play several times in Center Mid for PSV and he's a pretty good player.  Maybe we should try him in midfield?  Paredes is not even close to ready for this level.  Would De la Torre have been helpful with his clever short passing last night, maybe instead of Musah?  Would like to see Zendejas get the start at RW on Monday night.   

  26. James Madison, November 17, 2023 at 2:26 p.m.

    If Dest and McKennie rate 4's, then Aaronson rates a 6.  Deat repeatedlyi received the ball on long cross-field passes and then either lobbed usesless nalls into the goal area or made equally usesless ground crosses from the endline, and he was beaten on the rare foraysw of T&T down his side. In his defense, he made one sizzling left footed shot from ourside the area.  The combination makes one wonder whether GB's game plan played a role in his uselessness. McKennie's sole contribution was to earn the T&T send-off.  Otherwise, he simply wandered aimlessly about the pitch the entire game.  Except for his two missed shots, on the other thand, Aaronon buzzed around in the miz he entire time n the field 

  27. Ric Fonseca, November 17, 2023 at 4:09 p.m.

    Heyas, would you believe that I didn't even notice there was a game going on?!???  Goodness sakes alive, tho' I've a nagging question:  How come Mike W. always seems to give prince reyna a hiher rating that say, Pepu, or Aronson ?  Jeez, for the past several games that el reynito has played, and if memory serves ok, mw has given him an "8" while other players highest scores are a 6 or 7.  Is it just me or do I suspect a bit of favoritism???  Just sayin, and wonderin'   PLAY ON!!!

  28. John Soares, November 17, 2023 at 5:57 p.m.

    Very disappointing, yes, it may not be the A team.  But it's the B+ team. Against this level of competition it should have been not just an easy game but an opportunity for some young or seldom used players to show their stuff 
    Never happened 
    Yes they won... but.

  29. John Soares, November 17, 2023 at 5:57 p.m.

    Very disappointing, yes, it may not be the A team.  But it's the B+ team. Against this level of competition it should have been not just an easy game but an opportunity for some young or seldom used players to show their stuff 
    Never happened 
    Yes they won... but.

  30. humble 1, November 20, 2023 at 12:54 p.m.

    I did not watch this game - for me a practice game - I watched Uruguay vs. Argentina - on about the same time - and then the rest of the CONMEBOL games.  This is essentially a practice match.  Very difficult to conclude anything from this.  Berhalter knows this.  Whatever he says - and we read - about the opponent - is just noise.  He gives very little away to the press - honestly - not that much is going to change in his fairly static setup - unless for a reason - like that plant he set for Gio last year - which was effectively a speed bumb for him - and which they - the Reyna - got hit by their own boomerang - and now guess who's in the drivers seat again.  Say what you like a about GB, but he got the job and held the job, somehow.  Here, we are waiting for games that matter.    

  31. humble 1 replied, November 20, 2023 at 12:56 p.m.

    and CONMEBOL still a sh*t show - not much different from when it was dominated by 10% Chuck Blazer.  

  32. humble 1 replied, November 20, 2023 at 12:59 p.m.

    edit - CONCACAF not CONMEBOL.  CONMEBOL - fits the same definition - but the teams - successful inspite of it - we really should have them take Suriname and Guyana and French Guyana - who are on their freaking continent.  

  33. Bob Ashpole replied, November 20, 2023 at 3:47 p.m.

    Europeans still have a colonial power cultural context for their thinking. It colors most of their world view, past and present, and by proxy much of North America's too.

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