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SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Walker Zimmerman


Nashville SC defender Walker Zimmerman has been one of the U.S. men’s national team’s most improved and best performing players of 2021. That was on full display once again in the USMNT’s final match of 2021.

A first-half red card left Bosnia and Herzegovina a man down, and set up in a defensive shape for much of the match, but the visitors still created chances and present challenges, and Zimmerman did his best to help stifle those, turning in a dominant display in central defense to earn SBI Man of the Match honors.

Zimmerman led the USMNT in duels won with 11 of 15. He recorded four interceptions and six clearances, took one shot and won eight of nine aerial duels. His defensive stability allowed the USMNT to keep pushing in the second half for 20-year-old Cole Bassett’s game-winning goal in the 89th minute.

The Man of the Match performance was a fitting conclusion to 2021 for Zimmerman, who won his second straight MLS Defender of the Year award while also breaking through and grabbing a prominent role in the heart of the USMNT defense.

Originally slated to be a starter in the Concacaf Gold Cup before an injury cut short his tournament, Zimmerman worked his way back into the USMNT picture in the fall and proved to be a dependable option for Berhalter, who started him in four of five World Cup qualifiers in October and November.

Zimmerman beat out Cole Bassett, Jordan Morris and Johnny Cardoso for SBI USMNT Man of the Match honors on Saturday.

What did you think of Zimmerman’s performance? What USMNT player impressed you the most on Saturday?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Know Walker well personally. INTENSE dude from Atlanta, came to Furman in Greenville SC, where I was a USMNT-licensed D-level coach with Furman United…and helped impart his brand of intensity, belief, and perfection to I don’t know how many of my kids. (When he didn’t have to. How many college kids waste their precious moments of free time coaching youth soccer?)

    Dude is a warrior savage on the field, but he morphs into an elite coach the second he’s called upon to do it, can explain the finer points of positioning or a drill or attitude to any kid, makes him WANT it more than he’s ever wanted it. He’s got one of those infectious personalities, just makes everybody around him better. Truly loves the game, loves to compete, has a belief you can’t knock down with a hammer.

    Hard to overstate the regard I have for this guy. If he doesn’t deserve the armband, I dunno who does. And what he’s doing now…is no surprise to anybody who knows him. Makes it hard to be impartial when Gregg is trying to decide between center-back selections? Does ANY nation on Earth have four guys better than Walker? It’s kind of hard to believe.

  2. I thought Cardosa did very well playing in what looked much of the time as a partner to Acosta. He was solid on defense and he was always in a good spot to receive a pass from a teammate who needed an outlet; he then made the next pass to a teammate; he almost never made a bad play, something that made for some stability in his part of the field. He did not, however, make any really outstanding attacking plays or dribble at the defense, but I don’t think that was his role.
    I would like to see him get more involved in the attack, his ability to make accurate passes when under pressure would help the US unlock defenses more easily.

    • Boy, I’m not sure he was that impressive. Played some just naive long passes that just had no chance. Did he look better because he was out there with Acosta and Roldan? Perhaps as Yunus and Weah learned in Panama being tied to that MF (Roldan for Lleget of course) makes it difficult to shine. I didn’t see much tonight that made think Johnny is ready to be Adams backup.

      • “Did he look better because he was out there with Acosta and Roldan?”

        -Pretty sure sharing the midfield with those 2 serves to make anyone look better.

        “I didn’t see much tonight that made think Johnny is ready to be Adams backup.”

        – Which begs the question- what about Acosta’s performance makes him look any more ready than Cardosa? I suspect if paired with Musah and Mckennie- we’d see a much different version of Johnny. At some point- someone other than Acosta deserves a look.

        Frankly- I think Musah and then Mckennie should be next up at the 6 w/ Aaronson or Reyna into midfield. we’ve got quite a few talented versatile players. We need to take advantage of that rather than bringing in players that are clearly a major step down in quality.

      • RP,

        “Frankly- I think Musah and then Mckennie should be next up at the 6”
        Depending on how you want your 6 to play either one would be wasted there.

        Weston is the only legit box to box ball winning, Arturo Vidal 2.0 type player we have and would be wasted at the 6.

        Musah is another one who I’d hate to waste there though he would be great. He can be used in a few other areas.

        Jonny’s attributes are he seems to hold the ball well and does good things passing the ball, very critical attributes for the position. If you have a guy who passes well out of the back, he’s wasted if the players in front of him don’t make good runs. He’ll either just keep it or make a more conservative pass.

        Jonny should be tested with better forwards and midfielders, guys who can take advantage of what he can do. Until you surround him with better players, guys like Acosta and Lletget just kill his creativity.

        This manager does not value creative, perceptive passers. Look at how little he’s used LDLT.

  3. To be honest, I think Cole Basset who came into the game at the 78th minute and Jonathan Gomez in at the 84th min outdid all the veterans in just 12 & 6 minutes of play, respectively.


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