Questions about the U.S. men’s national team goalkeeper position were among the most pressing heading into the September friendlies, but by the end of Friday’s 2-0 loss to Japan, there was much more cause for concern about almost every other part of the field than about who was in goal.
Matt Turner’s confidence performance stood out as the glaring exception to the thoroughly underwhelming display by the Americans against Japan, and as much as you could make an excuse out of the absence of several key starters, it was still a shockingly flat showing from a group a players auditioning for World Cup places.
The bad news is nobody but Turner turned in a performance that strengthened their chances of making it to Qatar. The good news for them is there is one more match on Tuesday for them to try and atone for what was a largely forgettable showing.
Here is a closer look at how the USMNT players performed against Japan, with SBI’s Player Ratings for the match:
Matt Turner – 7
The only bright spot. Made several key saves and looked confident with the ball.
Sergiño Dest – 5.5
Deserved an assist on the pass he put on a platter to Jesus Ferreira, and tried repeatedly to force the issue getting forward. Could have scored higher if not for some bad turnovers that led to Japan breakouts.
Walker Zimmerman – 4
Put out a lot of fires defensively, but those were overshadowed by the uncharacteristic breakdowns he was a part of and the errant passing.
Aaron Long – 4
Committed an early turnover that led directly to a Japan counter, which set the tone for a shaky showing. He had plenty of the ball during his 45 minutes, but looked uneasy under pressure.
Sam Vines – 5.5
Largely invisible in the first half, Vines benefited from a move into a wingback role in the second half. Defensively, he was passable, but didn’t do enough overall to be considered a lock as Antonee Robinson’s back-up going forward.
Tyler Adams – 5.5
Uncharacteristically ineffective outing by his lofty standards, Adams won just two of his six duels and was unable to keep Japan from repeatedly penetrating through the middle.
Luca De La Torre 5
His lack of playing time at Celta Vigo showed as he struggled to keep up with the pace of the match, and did little to keep Japan from bossing things in the middle.
Weston McKennie 4
Posted an abysmal 68 percent passing completion percentage, which is bad enough, but he committed some inexcusable turnovers, including one that led to Japan’s opening goal.
Brenden Aaronson 6
The only attacking player who showed any sort of consistent pulse, Aaronson was abused all match by Japanese defenders but still managed to be involved despite the USMNT’s struggles to keep the ball.
Jesus Ferreira – 4
Missed a wide-open header in front of goal in what was his only chance on a day when he was otherwise invisible for 45 minutes.
Gio Reyna – 5.5
Showed some glimpses, but wasn’t involved enough to score hire for his 45-minute shift. The good news is he left the game healthy, which is ultimately the most important thing given his injury track record.
Mark McKenzie – 5
Had a chance to make a real case to move up the centerback depth chart, but this 45-minute shift wasn’t the knockout he needed.
Reggie Cannon – 4
Toasted on Japan’s second goal, Cannon had a 45-minute shift to forget and he didn’t provide much support for the notion he deserves to be in ahead of DeAndre Yedlin and Joe Scally.
Jordan Morris – 4
Managed just 10 touches in 45 minutes in an anonymous performance.
Josh Sargent – 5
Starved for service, Sargent had a quiet 45 minutes, though he moved well and held the ball up well when he was able to get the ball.
Malik Tillman- 5
Showed some life in his 23 minutes, but wasn’t going to have much of an impact given the mess he was placed into.
Johnny Cardoso – 5
Struggled to settle into the match, and while he had a few moments of ingenuity, Cardoso looked a bit overwhelmed.
What do you think of the above grades? Who did we grade too generously? Who were we too harsh on?
Share your thoughts below.