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USMNT Player Ratings: Turner, Robinson and Zardes shine, Dike and Sands struggle


When the halftime whistle blew on the U.S. men’s national team’s Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal against Qatar, there weren’t very many players you could point to as having good games at the time.

Luckily for the Americans, there was another 45 minutes to play, and thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Matt Turner, the USMNT were still tied up rather than trailing by multiple goals. The tide did eventually turn, with Gregg Berhalter’s second-half substitutes providing the perfect impact as Qatar began to tire.

Who were the top performers for the USMNT on Thursday, and who was left struggling? Here are the SBI USMNT Player Ratings for the 1-0 win vs. Qatar:

Matt Turner (8)

Made three saves on the night, including two stunning stops, one of which kept an own-goal out of his net.

Shaq Moore (5.5)

The fifth straight start for Moore may have been the one where he starts to look like he’s wearing down. He contributed little to the attack, and found himself chasing the game far too often rather than being in smart positions to neutralize the Qatar attack.

Berhalter saw the fatigue and subbed him out in the 63rd minute, which will raise the big question of whether Berhalter will stick with him in the final or turn to Reggie Cannon to start in his second straight Gold Cup final?

James Sands (5)

Made more mistakes against Qatar than he had in the entire tournament, and can thank Matt Turner from keeping him from recording an own-goal, as well as for standing his grown to help Qatar miss the penalty kick drawn by a Sands foul.

The good news is that Sands was still very active, finishing with a game-high 100 touches, but his defensive contributions weren’t up to the usual high standard he set earlier in the Gold Cup.

Miles Robinson (7.5)

Yet another match when Miles Robinson was the best and most consistent defender on the USMNT backline. The Atlanta United defender won six of nine duels to go with seven recoveries, five aerials won and three clearances.

Perhaps even more impressive was Robinson’s passing on the night. He finished completing 59 of 62 passes, with 25 of them in the attacking half of the field.

Sam Vines (7)

Another solid shift for Vines, who did his part to help neutralize Qatar’s dangerous right-sided options. The Colorado Rapids fullback completed 91 percent of his passes and contributed four recoveries.

If there is a knock to make, it’s that Vines’ service continues to miss the mark. He put in four crosses, but none found their target. That aside, Vines was a tireless presence on the left flank, and helped limit the threats on that side of the field.

Kellyn Acosta (7)

Though he didn’t quite play up to the level of his standout showing vs. Jamaica, Acosta was still effective, particularly in the second half as Qatar began to tire.

Acosta had his trouble keeping up with Qatar’s playmakers, but when the Americans began to take control in the second half with fresh legs, Acosta was able to settle into a more consistent role.

Gianluca Busio (6)

A largely quiet performance from Busio, who was unable to help provide the needed defensive pressure in midfield to disrupt Qatar’s counterattacks. A total of 39 touches and 21 completed passes in 63 minutes wasn’t exactly the most productive outing, which might explain why he was one of the first players replaced.

The good news for Busio is that he clearly showed an increased willingness to get in on hard challenges, but his positioning wasn’t always the best and he could find it difficult to stay in the starting lineup for the final.

Sebastian Lletget (7)

A solid performance from the LA Galaxy midfielder, who appeared to benefit from a second wind in the second half as he was a key figure in the USMNT’s eventual takeover of the match in the second half.

The insertion of some fresh legs in the second half helped bring Lletget more into the match and he finished with 53 completed passes, six recoveries and five duels won.

Paul Arriola (6)

Though he wasn’t overly involved on the offensive end during his 81 minutes, Arriola did put in some valuable defensive work to cover ground on the right flank.

Arriola did deliver one key pass, but overall it was a second straight quiet match, but an improvement on his showing against Jamaica.

Daryl Dike (4)

A forgettable night for the Orlando City striker, who struggled to get involved in the match and at times he appeared as though he was still feeling the effects of the shoulder injury he suffered against Canada.

The worst knock against Dike in his third straight lackluster performance is the fact that he actually did receive some good service, including a goal-worthy setup from Matthew Hoppe and a promising through-pass from Shaq Moore.

Matthew Hoppe (6.5)

When the USMNT attack was struggling to generate much in the first half it was Hoppe who was most effective at generating anything promising. He delivered a killer pass to Daryl Dike that should have been converted into an assist.

Hoppe’s defensive work continues to be a weak spot, as he won just one of his seven duels and notched two recoveries, but his consistent ability to put pressure on opposing defenses makes him a safe bet to start in the final.

Gyasi Zardes (7)

As much as Zardes’ goal was the deserving headliner moment, Zardes put in some important defensive work throughout his 27-minute appearance, including applying the pressure that led to the turnover the USMNT eventually converted into his game-winning goal.

Cristian Roldan (6)

Though not as effective as he was against Jamaica, Roldan still made an impact off the bench with his energy and defensive work.

Reggie Cannon (6)

Provided some defensive stability upon replacing Shaq Moore in the 63rd minute. Cannon completed 22 of 24 passes and added two recoveries.

Eryk Williamson (6.5)

Made the most of his nine minutes, completing all 10 of his passes and contributing six recoveries, an interception and he played a key role in the build-up on the game-winning goal.

Nicholas Gioacchini (6.5)

Came on late and made an immediate impact, helping set up Gyasi Zardes’ winner.


  1. I have questioned many of GB’s selections and tactics, but in thei tournament using mostly MLS players, nearly everyone thought the USA would be out by now. They aren’t!

    If the USA does not lose badly to Mexico, it will take a real GB hater to not give him some credit.

    Despite losing arguably the best defender after the first match, the US defense has looked composed and more than competent. The team still needs a real goal-scorer which everyone knew at the outset, it is hardly GB’s fault the attackers just aren’t there, even if he had pulled in the big guns from Europe there is still no clear choice for a #9. Similarly without Adams the US is missing a standout DM although Acosta is doing OK, I suspect he will struggle against Mexico.

    If the US were to win, I doubt the GB haters will be quiet, but it would make their arguments a bit more specious.

  2. The “dump on Dike” bandwagon is well on its way. I don’t want to disrupt the fun, but what does it say about the US team (both the players on the field and the coaches on the sideline) that, over sixty minutes, it provided its center forward exactly two serviceable balls?

  3. Honestly, I rarely complimented Berhalter as the USMNT’s manager. After yesterday’s narrow win over Qatar, I actually praised Berhalter for bringing in the 5 subs who made instant impacts to the game…….. until I watched the post game press conference. At 11:00 of the video of the post game press conference, Ives brought up that Eryk Williamson was everywhere after he entered the game at the 81st minute and asked Berhalter what’s the USMNT manager’s take on Eryk Williamson’s performance. Berhalter commented that “Williamson was good. We’re thinking about whether to bring in Williamson, or JOHNATHAN LEWIS” at the time.” What? Did I hear it right? JOHNATHAN LEWIS? Are you freaking kidding me?

      • Yeah that did not feel good to me either.

        I know you don’t like that “Beerholder” stuff, Johnnyrazor, but, that Good Feeling Buzz I was feeling about ya is now Gonezo, there, Gregg, and I’m feeling like you might have just Forest Gump’d your way into it again.

        There’s still a debate between Lewis and Williamson? That makes me feel sorta dizzy and need to go sit down for a second. What team exactly have you been watching these last few weeks?

        Like, wow.

      • I really hope he was just trying to make Lewis feel good about himself since he hasn’t seen the field since game 1 because yes his speed could have gotten behind the lines but without Williams who would have made that pass. Something about Williams scares 3G but hopefully this got him over it.

  4. No way I rate Zardes higher then Gioacchini. You gotta be kidding me. Whats with the love by the US soccer elite on Zardes. Gioacchini is the one that did all the work on that play to get the assist on Zardes. Gioacchini is the only one out of the 3 forwards to make any attack on Qatar in the last 20 mins. Zardes was sloppy as usualy losing the ball. He scored the goal congrats but how could he not when Gioacchini gave him an easy one. Btw I hope Zardes starts so we can remember how bad he is. For example in the last Gold Cup against Mexico, Zardes did nothing

  5. I thought Acosta’s toughness and leadership was also important; I remeber no one protecting Pulisic in the last WCQ cycle. I thought Roldan made a much bigger positive impact than Ives did and I thought this was Llethet’s best game of the tourney by far. I think a 4 might have been a little generous for Dike. I think they should play 4 4 2 with Acosta, Lletget, Williamson, and Roldan. Need someone who van provide a spark as a sub and would be down to just Giochinno with my propoed lineup but it is Mexico.

  6. Turner said he knew the penalty takers tendencies and even mimicked his run up as he was walking back to the goal line. That is next level mind games.

      • Yeah. Acosta TOTALLY got in that Qatar guy’s head. And face. I was entertained. By the time the refs got that sorted out that poor PK shooter was as frizzle-fried as that German chick after Hope Solo messed with her at the Canada World Cup a few years back. Over before it ever started.

        Don’t think they’d seen that before. It’s one thing to dunk on the polite (and very small) Japanese at the Asian Cup. Quite another to CONCACAF, with all our glorious messiness. I think they’re going to discover the World Cup is whole ‘nother level of pressure, even one they’re hosting.

        They have some obvious firepower, for sure, but they’d best hope FIFA gifts them the Mother of All Benevolent Draws if they wanna make it out of Group. Gonna be a rough road for those fellas.

      • Quozzel: they’re basically playing in the UEFA Qualifying Group A (they are playing as the 6th team so whomever has a bye plays Qatar). Now they aren’t getting the best from the 5 Uefa sides because they’re still friendlies but they are tied for 1st in the group with 7 pts. It will be tough to get out of the group at WC but with their experience together they’ll be dangerous especially since their Fed will be hiring the best fitness guys money can buy after the GC so they don’t run out of gas in the 60th minute. As host they’ll be in pot 1 which means they’ll miss the best of the best in group stage, they’re good enough to steal one against the 17-24 ranked teams and beat the 25-32. It will be interesting to see if Akif and Ali go back to Europe for another try after venturing their as teenagers. Playing all domestic gives them cohesion and they’re guaranteed minutes but I think it limits their growth.

      • Johnnyrazor, I have no doubt they’ll also get the very bestus draw Qatar oil money can buy…shucks, I mean, they bought themselves a World Cup straight from the FIFA brass, I seriously doubt they’ll shirk at a little warm-&-cold-ball action, it’s worked for FIFA for years, and Qatar’s literally got billions to grease the palms that draw balls out of pods with. So hey. Get ready for a group of Greece, Tunisia, and the shock surprise qualifiers from the newly-discovered island nation of Southeast Wherethefuck, which popped up on a giant ice floe that split off from Greenland and got a special dispensation from FIFA to join the tourney on account of, you know, Global Warming Awareness. So, you know…they might actually go further than either of us credit at the moment.

  7. I don’t know if hoppe is going to play in the final. I hope I’m wrong. He had a run in with the coach, and it might cost him a start. His replacement provided the assist, so we’ll see.

    • I don’t think Berhalter cares much about that kind of stuff, he understands that players don’t like to come out. Pulisic wasn’t punished for being upset coming out against Canada.

      • Duane Holmes did the same thing to Berkhalter and we haven’t see him called up since. I hope you’re correct cause if Hoppe is benched in the next game thats a sad picture to say about a coach who gets his feelings hurt easily

    • Yeah, I saw that. I wonder what he said to GB. Must have been something that question his authority. The body language of GB was not good.

    • Berhalter was pretty wound at that point in the match too, only few minutes later he was smack talking the 4th official after the goal. He apologized to the official in his press conference so I don’t think he’s going to hold a grudge against Matthew for being fired up in the moment.

    • I hope that for the final Berhalter picks the 11 best players to start. That should include Hoppe. Across the top he should start Hoppe, Zardes, and Gioacchini; Lletget, Roldan, Acosta, and perhaps Williamson in the middle; and Vines, Robinson, Sands, and Cannon in the back.

      • I like that 11, Gary the only change I’d make is move Roldan to RW and start Williamson as CM. I think against Mexico’s pressure you need someone that can drive thru the defense and it allows an explosive energetic force in Giaocchini to come in the last 20-30 minutes when the Mexican backline is tiring. Tata has used very little rotation during the GC and El Tri was struggling late against Canada the extended break for Johnson being kicked in the face gave them enough of a break for the final push to win. Roldan and Cannon played together in 2019 GC and combined well together on the right last night as well.

    • Nothing there. All part of it. Berhalter will likely;y relate with and appreciate his fire. He was running pretty hot himself. I like to see it from both of them.

    • GB is terrible, has been terrible and always will be terrible. Im sure many good players dont like playing for him but are quiet. I’ll be amazed if we qualify under GB


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