There were several standout performances from the U.S. men’s national team’s 2-0 win against Jamaica on Thursday, and while Ricardo Pepi’s two-goal effort was the headliner, he was not alone in helping deliver another precious three points in World Cup qualifying.
Tyler Adams was excellent once again, as he anchored the USMNT midfield wearing the captain’s armband, while Brenden Aaronson continued his run of productive performances. There were also the impressive efforts of veterans Walker Zimmerman and Paul Arriola, who did their best to quiet the complaints about their inclusion in Gregg Berhalter’s starting lineup.
We saw Sergiño Dest rebound from his disappointing September, and Weston McKennie take the first step toward putting his forgettable September behind him. There was also Matt Turner, growing more confident in his solidifying role as starting goalkeeper, and Yunus Musah playing his first World Cup qualifier like it was his 50th.
Overall, what we saw was a more composed 90-minute performance from a team that had clearly grown from the experience gained in September’s qualifying window, a young squad gaining confidence as it becomes familiar with all the different kinds of challenges that Concacaf can present.
With all that in mind, here are the player ratings for the USMNT’s 4-1 win vs. Honduras:
Matt Turner (7)
Made just one official save, but it was an excellent diving stop, and something else that stood out was Turner’s throwing the ball to spark USMNT attacks, as he did on the sequence that led to the first Pepi goal.
Sergino Dest (7.5)
A much better showing from Dest after his lackluster performances in September. The Barcelona fullback completed 93 percent of his passes, including his excellent cross on the first USMNT goal, and defensively he contributed nine duels and five recoveries.
Miles Robinson (6.5)
A notch below the elite level we have seen from Robinson in recent months, though he still stood up to most challenges. He needed Matt Turner to make a save on one sequence he was involved in, and he wasn’t quite as active defensively as we have grown used to him being.
Walker Zimmerman (7.5)
Very strong performance from Zimmerman, who was seen as one of the surprising starting choices when the USMNT lineup was first revealed. The Nashville SC defender finished with a team-high 12 duels won (tied with Tyler Adams) and a team-high 11 recoveries and four clearances.
Antonee Robinson (7)
The match was a tale of two very different halves for the USMNT, and Robinson’s performance was the perfect microcosm of that. He struggled in the first half, both offensively and defensively, but in the second half he was much sharper, and helped set up up the second goal. Robinson finished with four key passes and was one of two American players to finish with at least six duels won and six recoveries (Zimmerman was the other).
Tyler Adams (8)
A true force in the middle of the field, Adams helped keep Jamaica from finding much success working through the middle, with his game-high 12 duels won to go with a team-high three tackles. It was his excellent line-breaking pass that sprang Antonee Robinson on the second USMNT goal, and he was sharp with his long passing as well.
Yunus Musah (7)
Another player who clearly stepped it up another gear in the second half, Musah’s impressive work on the first USMNT goal was one of the more eye-catching moments of the match. His strength on the ball and effortless runs make him a strong candidate to become a regular starter in Berhalter’s midfield.
Weston McKennie (6.5)
There was plenty of attention on McKennie in his first match back from his September suspension and he put together a quiet and composed performance, and though he wasn’t quite the imposing and dominant figure he has been in some past outings, McKennie still turned in a good shift. He won four duels, added five recoveries and completed 92 percent of his 63 passes.
Paul Arriola (7)
Berhalter’s decision to start Arriola over Tim Weah was a surprising one, but the D.C. United winger rewarded his coaches faith with a tireless and fearless shift. He nearly drew a red card in the very first minute, and it was his excellent pass that sprang Brenden Aaronson on a play that could have produced another red card. He could have been more accurate with his crosses, and more clinical at times, but his energy and fight helped set a great tone for the night.
Ricardo Pepi (9)
Another outstanding display for the teenage striker, who made an impact from the start, delivering the dangerous first-minute pass that should have drawn a red card on Jamaica.
Brenden Aaronson (7)
Another strong performance for the Red Bull Salzburg midfielder, who set up Pepi’s second goal, and almost drew a red card on a Damion Lowe challenge. His attacking contributions were important, but it was once again his two-way work, and consistent pressing, that is an underrated part of his game.
Gyasi Zardes (5)
A busy 22-minute shift that included three shots, but it was probably the one shot he didn’t get to take, when he whiffed on a perfect Tim Weah cross, that stood out among the three big chances he missed.
Timothy Weah (6.5)
If Weah is in line to start against Panama, then his cameo against Jamaica was a delicious preview, as the Lille speedster produced a pair of key passes by torching the Jamaican defense.
Luca De La Torre (NR)
A tidy 13-minute shift that featured a perfect eight completed passes and two recoveries.
Shaq Moore (NR)
Replaced the hobbled Sergino Dest for 13 minutes.
Kellyn Acosta (NR)
Played just seven minutes but did deliver one key pass.
What did you think of the USMNT individual performances? Who impressed you? Who disappointed you the most?
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