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USMNT Player Ratings: Adams and Turner solid, attackers struggle again in draw with Saudi Arabia


If you watched the U.S. men’s national team match against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday not knowing it was the team’s final match before the World Cup, you wouldn’t have been able to tell this was the last chance for American players to state their case for a World Cup roster spot.

There were some promising stretches in the first half, but for the most part the USMNT produced another forgettable display, particularly on the attacking side of things. Defensively, the Americans kept Saudi Arabia in check, but there were still enough mistakes made with the ball by USMNT defenders to limit just how positively we could rate the performance.

Tuesday’s 0-0 draw was still an improvement over the woeful display in last week’s 2-0 loss to Japan, but that low bar can’t hide the fact the Saudi Arabia match was a wasted opportunity for several American players still fighting to secure the final spots on the World Cup roster.

Who performed well, and who struggled against Saudi Arabia? Here is a look at how the USMNT players performed on Tuesday, with SBI’s USMNT Player Ratings:

Matt Turner – 7

Made two tough saves and commanded his penalty area well.

DeAndre Yedlin – 5.5

Yedlin was passable defensively, but ineffective in the attack, failing to connect on any crosses or creating chances.

Walker Zimmerman – 5.5

Had some poor passes that put the team in trouble, but put in a solid shift defensively to balance it out.

Aaron Long – 4.5

His passing left plenty to be desired yet again, and it was troubling that he won just one duel during his 45-minute shift.

Sergiño Dest – 6.5

Put in a strong shift at left back, both offensively and with his threats getting forward. His defensive work on the left hasn’t always been reliable, but he showed enough on Tuesday to restore some faith in his ability to slide into the left back spot if Antonee Robinson isn’t available.

Tyler Adams – 6.5

Put in a ton of defensive work, notching 11 recoveries and winning all six of his ground duels. He turned the ball over more than usual, though the turnovers didn’t lead to many direct threats.

Weston McKennie – 5.5

Tightened up his passing after his slopping showing against Japan, but he didn’t deliver his usual two-way effort and his attacking contributions were minimal.

Kellyn Acosta – 4

Contributed little defensively and didn’t generate any good attacking threats. Given all the options available in central midfield to step in for Yunus Musah, Acosta didn’t help his case for being one of the first options.

Gio Reyna – NR

Played just 30 minutes before being subbed out as a precaution, but during that time Reyna showed some promising flashes and completed all nine of his passes, generating more attack in his cameo than some others did in a full match.

Ricardo Pepi – 4

Starved for service throughout his 59 minutes of action, Pepi did try to contribute with his pressing and movement but remained largely invisible.

Christian Pulisic – 5.5

Was active during the USMNT’s promising first half, but ultimately failed to deliver the final pass or play to generate any dangerous chances. The good news is he stayed healthy and put in a 76-minute shift to return to Chelsea ready to fight for more playing time.

Paul Arriola – 5

Contributed little to the attack in his 60 minutes of action, creating one chance while putting in some decent defensive work.

Joe Scally – 6.5

A lively and promising 31-minute shift for Scally, who provided five recoveries and while he lost more duels than he won, was still extremely active and boosted his stock during a window when other right backs were not really impressive.

Jesus Ferreira – 5

Put a shot on goal and created a scoring chance during his 31 minutes of action, which is more than Pepi contributed as a starter.

Mark McKenzie – 5

Didn’t win a duel or register a tackle during his 31 minutes, but had some good moments with some promising forward passes. Where he continues to have issues is committing turnovers in bad spots. He isn’t alone among the centerbacks in that regard, but if he wanted to move up the depth chart he needed to be cleaner on the ball than he was this window.

Malik Tillman – NR

Fourteen minutes wasn’t much time to get involved.

Brenden Aaronson – NR

Didn’t do much during his 14-minute cameo, but Aaronson’s appearance was still good to see given how badly he was beaten up by Japan.

What do you think of these ratings? Who do you feel deserved a higher grade? Who were we too generous with?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The USMNT is regressing and regressing quickly. Some will make the claim that the cause of the decline is injuries to key players. This is crap. We’ve had injuries all the way though this cycle. We’ve rarely had our all of our best players (Pulisic, Reyna, Adams, Weah, West, Dest, Jedi, Robinson, Long, etc….) available for games due to injuries/suspensions. Musah has only recently become a starter for the USMNT so his recent absence should not have been all that jarring. Long was a regular starter before his Achilles injury….was replaced by Miles who was replaced by a recovered Long when he went out with an Achilles injury.
    Some will make the claim that the decline is caused by key players lacking club playing time. Those same key players we’re not seeing much more time at their clubs earlier in the campaign than they are now. Pulisic has been injured/out of favor for Chelsea for over a year. West has been in and out of the Juv lineups for over 6 months. Pepi & Adams were on the outs in Germany and are actually seeing move minutes now in Holland & England respectively. Dest was on the outs at Barca and is starting to make inroads at ACM. Overall our players PT has remained similar on average over the last 1 year.
    The cause for the regression can be, and should be, laid at the feet of 1 person….Gregg Berhaulter. His BS excuses and favoritism seem to have caught up with him. Opponents have enough game tape of the USMNT under Gregg now to know exactly how to stifle Gregg’s “System” and strategies. And since Gregg has shown an unwillingness to have/use a Plan “B” the USMNT is easy to disrupt. It also appears as if Gregg has lost his players. They no longer seem to be engaged or passionate about playing for him.
    When Gregg was originally hired, I was not in favor of his appointment. I felt he was too untested/unproven of a coach. I believed he was too married to his system, to MLS, and players he’d previously coached. But I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. After watching Gregg give regular call-ups & PT to Wil Trapp some of my fears seemed to be coming true. After 2 years of continued call-ups & PT for Lletget & Zardes I started to think maybe Gregg should be fired. After 3 years of watching Gregg continue to pound square pegs into round holes (Roldan’s inclusions, Long called to camps before 1 minute of play after return from a season ending injury, continued freeze out and belittling of players who dared challenge his tactics/player selections (Brooks, Scally, etc…) it’s clear that Gregg was a poor choice as Manager. Ernie should have started questioning his decision after the near loss to El Salvador & poor start to the Honduras matches at the start of WCQ. Earnie should have fired Gregg after the Loss to Panama. Now we’re stuck with him and an under performing group of players who have no confidence and lack any passion. The question now is if Ernie and the USSF will at least be smart enough to fire Gregg after the WC and hire someone who can actually Manage at the international level. Unfortunately I’m not sure they have the backbone to do what’s needed.

    • Lost, I understand that the last window was as bad as any window since 2017, but your narrative is untrue. Your right it’s not form, injuries, over reliance on Musah. But your wrong it’s not Berhalter. Well I should say it’s not just Berhalter. It’s Berhalter and all of those things together. Your reasons are mostly blatantly false as well. “Tied to his system” he’s tied to the word system and uses it more than the infamous “verticality”. However, how the US plays has had at least 3 major changes in the last three years and the current pressing iteration bares little to no connection to the original possession disorganizing of opponents with the ball played in March 2019. It’s not Trapp and Zardes fault either, Zardes A 8g 23 app, that’s a scoring rate near the top of NT history, was largely effective. But also at the time there weren’t a lot of striker options. Trapp and Zardes inclusions also helped establish the tactics and the culture of the group (another of Berhalter’s word salad ingredients). Trapp played 118 min. in the 2019 GC none in the knockouts he wasn’t keeping people off the field and wouldn’t have played at all if Tyler Adams wasnt injured, yet you whines about him for another year and a half. Lleget 7g in 28 matches for Berhalter is 1 less than Weston in 2 fewer matches. There’s an interesting video by Its Called Soccer that connects Sebi’s drop in performance to the death of his sister. Like Trapp, Yeuill, and Zardes, Lleget was dropped when it was clear he could no longer help the team. Could Berhalter have thrown spaghetti at the wall and tried unproven youth players into those caps but it’s unlikely based on their club performances that any would have turned out differently. Part of the reason In addition to injuries, form, roster selection for the general lackluster performance was that we were working on Plan Bs. Yank Report on YouTube has a pretty good explanation of some of that tactical changes from last week and how they allow us to play differently while using the same roster. Here’s the advantage to that, if you take Pefok, Sargent, and Ferreira to Qatar and the latter two get injured your only option is Plan B. If you develop other ways to get people into box to attack crosses like say McKennie you still have two options of play. Maybe that’s unlikely but it happened in 2014. As YR also mentioned in its video the US didn’t press for much of either match likely to save Reyna’s legs (which didn’t work anyway).
      No one can judge the mental state of these guys. It’s impossible to look at Pulisic and say it’s because he hates Gregg’s style. The man has been under it for awhile disagreements with Tuchel, criticism for Chelsea fans for not clapping and not scoring 20 g, the book excerpt release, not being allowed to leave, Potter being chosen as new manager whose system fits his play perhaps less than Tuchel. Wes is constantly being said to be on his way out he’s under constant pressure about his weight, his touch is off right now but he’s a gamer he’ll be ready for Qatar.
      I’ve been on the Berhalter roller coaster for nine years as a Crew fan since the club began so I get why he frustrates people. I also have said throughout he shouldn’t be brought back after Qatar. But if he gets a couple of those missing pieces back and CP finds some joy in life between now and Thanksgiving I wouldn’t count these guys out just yet. For all of his making things harder than they need to be Gregg can get very pragmatic when his back is against the wall; NL group vs Canada, NL final, GC 2021, WCQ needing to beat Panama.

      • JR,

        “Tied to his system” he’s tied to the word system and uses it more than the infamous “verticality”. However, how the US plays has had at least 3 major changes in the last three years and the current pressing iteration bares little to no connection to the original possession disorganizing of opponents with the ball played in March 2019. ”

        You know it’s funny you should say that .

        Because what you are really saying is that no matter what Gregg tries, IT DOES NOT WORK. And apparently he doesn’t know how to make it work.

        But as I have said many times, none of this means Gregg couldn’t luck out and the whole team suddenly all hit their best form together in Qatar and the team get on a run and win the thing. This is all possible but it’s unlikely and while Gregg deserves credit for the good he has done, he probably doesn’t deserve a lot. Being lucky rather than good has its limits.

        We’ll see soon but if there is anything that will get them over the top it’s not likely to have a lot to do with Gregg.

        You may disagree with me but where the USMNT is right now ? Anyone out there think the managers of the World Cup teams are praying that they don’t run into the USMNT?

        I think it is entirely possible that there are any number of managers who could have taken this group this far and done as well with it.

        And I think the preponderance of the evidence is that Gregg is not the guy who is likely to get these guys to the next level.

        I’m not saying he can’t and I think the USSF (a notoriously cheap clowncar) will keep him, but I think the evidence shows looking for a better option either tomorrow or after Qatar might not be a bad idea.

        And yes, if you really think he should be gone after the World Cup then fire him tomorrow because there’s a chance to salvage something from what has been a horrible, humiliating, emasculating 4 years.

        You could set the player’s hair on fire and maybe get a “new manager bounce” in the group stage. Surprise Wales and that could set the whole thing on fire.

        I think it’s worth the gamble.

      • The idea to fire Berhalter today is worse than Lois’s to callup Emmanuel Sabbi. One they’d get Vermes, Tab, or Kreis. Two you’d have like 5 practices before the first game so they’d just try to use Gregg’s game plan but wouldn’t really be fully committed to it. It would be a 1pt group stage with -6 GD.

      • JR,

        “The idea to fire Berhalter today is worse than Lois’s to callup Emmanuel Sabbi. ”

        That’s silly. No way. Sabbi would take up one spot, never play and have little if any effect.

        Firing Gregg NOW would have FAR more impact. It would certainly get everyone’s attention, players and staff. If you do it today, every player would know that since they have no more USMNT games they had better start playing well at their club no matter where they are in the pecking order. It ought to put the fear of God in some of them.

        More to the point, suddenly Wales, Iran and England will be a lot less certain about what to expect.

        ” One they’d get Vermes, Tab, or Kreis.”

        You have no idea if that is what would happen.

        Tab or Vermes I’d be fine with. Kreis is useless but he won’t have a lot of time to screw things up and Gregg has not exactly been hot shit has he? Eventually even a blind squirrel finds a nut.

        Besides whoever this person is, they wouldn’t necessarily be the person to lead the team into 2026. They would hired to get the players amped up and playing well for a minimum of three games.

        Hell, I’d ask TFC if they could let Bob do a consult gig for the Cup. I’d sweeten the point by letting him bring Michael along. As a player in Roldan’s place.

        That is unlikely to happen by the way since Bob and the USSF are not BFF.

        “Two you’d have like 5 practices before the first game so they’d just try to use Gregg’s game plan but wouldn’t really be fully committed to it. ”

        5 practices? That’s enough. And that’s the whole point. Gregg has already done most of the hard work. I don’t expect the new guy to do wholesale changes. I’d expect him to say:

        ” Here’s a rough outline of what we want to do. We have these 5 practices to work out a few wrinkles. Just remember that this may be the highlight of your lives so go out there, give your all and above all enjoy the experience.”

        It can go one of two ways:

        1. Chaos and three and out. Guess what many already expect that with the status quo anyway.

        2. Or the new person and the players rally around each other and put in three games on fire.

        “It would be a 1pt group stage with -6 GD.”

        Maybe but that’s a real strong possibility already.

        I prefer to not stand back and do nothing while the house burns down.

        If you really believe that Gregg is the man to take the USMNT to 2026, then you keep him because he will learn from this. For the Gregg supporters that is what 2022 really is, a professional development opportunity, a fucking training seminar.

        Clearly you think he is the man for 2026. He might be but I think the USMNT can do better.

        The USSF was willing to risk 2022 in order to prep Gregg for 2026 . I wrote that in a post a few years ago. It’s the only thing that explains their staunch support of him.

        If, on the other hand, you don’t think Gregg is the best option for 2026, then letting him manage in Qatar is just throwing good money after bad, pissing the 2022 World Cup down the toilet.

        Firing him right now is a chance to salvage something out of these last four horrible walking dead years.

        Gregg hung on way too long to guys like Yueill, Lletget and now Long and Ariolla. Now we see the same philosophy with Gregg.

        It’s the sort of thing that happens in these old boy club institutions, I was hoping the Couva rebuild would be professional i.e. tidy, ruthless and cold blooded.

        Oh, well.

  2. It’s 2 things (nothing new and USSF won’t change) –
    1. MLS Sponsor influence, that’s why it’s not an all&Euro team

    2. This: “Ok guys, let’s go compete!” What? Compete? This isn’t 1990, go out and pummel people don’t just compete

    The mentality of the management and the entire program has this embedded in the senior level teams not in the younger teams who they should rely on now at this point. Bring up tab Ramos to coach

    • I see you’re infected by imperative voice incoherent syndrome. 8 out of 11 starters v Japan play in Europe. 9 out of 11 starters v Saudi Arabia play in Europe. Close to 85 % of the US players, who played against ES, 3x in 2 years, (2 WCQ’s + NL away match), only scored 1 g in 3 matches. Only one player from ES is in Europe. What’s the excuse for those matches? This non-American MLS BS, you keep pushing, falls flat everytime!!! Yet somehow you threw Tab Ramos name in with your silliness?! He was my pick for USMNT, when Sarachan was coach. His U20 Championship squads were stock full of MLS academy players. Let’s not let facts, or reality get in the way. Hey, Emmanuel Sabbi will save us, right?!

      • That Sabbi will It’s Ok, he’s got …. Hmmm…. Let me just check SofaScore… can this be right 0g….0a…..0mins

  3. If anything, I think these ratings are generous and too high. Although we did not lose this game, while watching it I couldn’t help but think of our infamous game against T&T. This latest game was similar in that the US way underperformed against a clearly lesser opponent. I am worried that we will see an epic fail in the WC and Berhalter seems lost on how to improve the team’s performance. I think His major response seems to be to provide excuses for the poor performance. USSF should start thinking about who they can get as a new coach if the team does poorly in the WC as many of us fear.

  4. Based in GB comments—-it seems he has his team picked. I would be very surprised if we saw much if any—variation in the players that were in this last camp and those that get picked for the WC—–which is really distressing. Injured players aside—I wouldnt expect a lot of change. My hopes of Pefok being called in are unfortunately less now—evwn after the teams recent performances—-based on how coach seems to excuse the performances of the inneffective attackers that he calls. I used to be a person who who thought–“Coach sees these players regularly in training—-he knows whos performing and who is underachieving—and all of us armchair midfielders who are truely in the dark”. But after perpetually hearing excuses for players like Long, et all…… not so sure anymore. Gregg played in Europe most of his career. I had high hopes that he would be about results—and performance based on his experience as a player—–but the more I see the team and sometimes hear the way he props up certain players (is it to make them feel confident about themselves?)—-the more I feel that favoritism is trumping pragmatism which is dissaster for potential success if you ask me.

  5. Not understanding these ratings. Does US Soccer monitor the coverage? … Must be hard to get a press pass.

    If 5 is average, I’d take 1.5 – 2 points away from Wes and Adams. While they improved over the Japan game (low bar), each had a poor game against KSA, with a lot of unforced turnovers and errant passes — more like 4 – 4.5 performances.

    Dest and Yedlin are also a tad overrated here. They weren’t as bad as others, but they didn’t do much to be rated above average.

    In 14 minutes, Tillman and Aaronson certainly had enough time to make an impact. They just didn’t. Tillman whiffed on a cross. Aaronson put a lot of effort with few results. 4s for each.

    I would give Pepi a slightly higher score given that he did press, created one turnover, and did no worse than other forwards in terms of touches (I believe the forwards had 12-15 touches per game, with Ferreira providing the lone shot on goal after receiving the ball at the top of the box… which Pepi never did). The midfield and wingers didn’t/couldn’t get him the ball. What’s he supposed to do other than “fit the system”?

    Agreed on Turner and Scally.


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