The United States continued on the path to the 2018 World Cup Finals, beating Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 in Commerce City behind a pair of goals from eighteen-year-old wunderkind Christian Pulisic. Here are the player ratings.
Tim Howard, 6: Wasn’t convincing on the early cross that Kenwyne Jones headed off the crossbar, but was steady from there to collect another qualifying clean sheet.
DeAndre Yedlin, 8: Looked confident coming off of a tremendous season with Newcastle – getting forward with aplomb, and getting a terrific game-breaking assist.
John Brooks, 5: Bit of a mixed bag for Brooks, who was solid defensively but unnecessarily adventuresome going forward. He’ll need to be cleaner in the Azteca.
Geoff Cameron, 6: Solid night for Cameron, who did his job well and, crucially, avoided the yellow card that would have seen him suspended for Mexico.
Jorge Villafaña, 8: One of the best things to happen to this team in the Bruce Arena era. Villafaña was excellent once again, almost scoring in the first half, and dominant defensively. A gem.
Michael Bradley, 6: Bradley had a big job to do with Arena opting to play a sort of 4-1-3-2, and he did it well. Common sense suggests that he’ll have a central midfield partner against Mexico, but Arena has been aggressive so far in this campaign.
Darlington Nagbe, 8: Nagbe was very, very good – more or less creating the opening goal – and he looks comfortable in a setup where he can support the likes of Pulisic and Dempsey and play within himself.
Fabian Johnson, 5: Wasn’t one of the team’s most dangerous attackers, but covered plenty of ground and didn’t make any mistakes. It was good enough.
Christian Pulisic, 10: There’s something pretty special going on here. Pulisic was brilliant in this game, and – if he’s not already – he’s about to become the face of the national team and soccer in the United States.
Clint Dempsey, 4: Not Dempsey’s best night, and he cut a frustrated figure when he exited early in the second half. His wait to break Landon Donovan’s goalscoring will go on.
Jozy Altidore, 7: He didn’t score, but Altidore was one of the U.S.’s best players. He worked extremely hard, made a number of intelligent runs, and opened up space for the likes of Pulisic. The goals will come.
Kellyn Acosta, 6: Helped shore up the U.S. midfield when he entered for Dempsey, and could be in line to start in Mexico City.
Alejandro Bedoya, 4: Didn’t win any style contests by wiping out while chasing a breakout pass shortly after coming on. He’s a substitute on this team at best.
Bobby Wood, 6: Very nearly got the third goal after coming on for Altidore, but his effort stung the post. Is he competing with Dempsey for a spot in the lineup?
Up next for the United States? A Sunday night showdown with a Mexico team that pasted Honduras on Thursday night and is sitting comfortably at the top of the Hex.
The U.S. doesn’t need any points – let alone three – to stay on course for Russia, but a result in the Azteca would be a statement of intent for a team that looks reborn. It should be quite an occasion.
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