The term a tale of two halves may at times be overused but with the United States hosting Germany on Saturday, it was just that. Coming out of the gate, the team was strong and went toe to toe with some of the best players in the world but then lost all their intensity in the second half. While a 3-1 loss isn’t what they would’ve wanted, there was a lot to learn from the game so let’s take a look at how each player did.
GK: Matt Turner
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Forced into being aggressive to protect the box, Turner was one of the best performers for the USMNT which is a bad thing in a loss. His distribution sprung a few attacks but he was let down by players in front of him.
LB: Sergino Dest
Hopefully, this will be one of the last times when Dest is needed to provide cover at left back for the national team. While he’s fine going forward on either side, defensively Dest was poor winning none of the tackles that he attempted and only registering one interception during the match.
CB: Tim Ream
Ream’s involvement is becoming worrisome. While he’s the best pure defender among the current crop of center backs and did what he could to keep things in check during the match, Ream also is 36 years old and likely won’t be involved in the next World Cup cycle. Identifying who the next Ream is for this team is critical.
CB: Chris Richards
This match was a great opportunity for Richards and it presented mixed results. The fullback play left much to be desired and he may have scored a goal if Christian Pulisic’s set play delivery was better. It’s hard to be too harsh on the center backs when they didn’t get much help during the match.
RB: Joe Scally
Another player who didn’t take advantage of a big opportunity, Scally’s recovery paces showed at times but he seemed tepid going into challenges. It can be tough feeling like your position is on the line with every mistake but if Scally can’t perform under that pressure, he won’t become a national team regular.
MID: Weston McKennie
McKennie’s defensive workrate in the middle was excellent as it takes a lot to fill the defensive void left by Tyler Adams but he wasn’t able to kick into high gear to change the match in attack when the team needed him to. Expectations are high on McKennie with the national team but that’s because he has shown that he can be a special player at times. Coach Gregg Berhalter just needs to unlock both sides of his game simultaneously.
MID: Gio Reyna
The entire attack left the pitch with Reyna at halftime which is a good thing for showing how Reyna performed but a bad thing for the national team as a whole. While the plays to set up attackers were good, I was impressed with Reyna running to make sure he chased down Germany to win the ball back when needed. As he regains fitness, Berhalter will have tough decisions to make in midfield.
MID: Yunus Musah
Musah is still searching for consistency. His performance was one that mirrored the UMMNT as he was great in the first half but absent in the second half of play. If Musah can put it all together he’ll be unstoppable but as a young midfielder, growing pains are expected.
FWD: Tim Weah
Weah was great at getting the ball but he needs to develop a better understanding with what Balogun needs as there wasn’t much service from the right to central and that also didn’t change much when Luca De La Torre entered. Weah’s dynamic play always keeps teams on their toes but the front three all have to be on the same page week in and week out.
FWD: Folarin Balogun
Facing Mats Hummels, Jonathan Tah and Antonio Rudiger is a tough proposition for a striker and Balogun couldn’t shake them to get into space. It’s something that he needs more experience doing but like Musah, these are growing pains that you work through as the respect that he demands creates space for others in the box.
FWD: Christian Pulisic
Just when it feels like the bar may be set too high for Piulisic, he finds a way to raise his game to a new level. Pulisic could’ve had a brace but his goal was a top class finish. Leading by example, he’s everything that you ask for and more in a top forward.
Sub: Luca De La Torre
De La Torre was fine in the second half, he just wasn’t what the game called for at the time but when Berhalter didn’t have much available to him on the bench, sometimes things like this can happen.
Sub: Cameron Carter-Vickers
It was good to see Carter-Vickers back in a national team shirt but the damage was already done by then. Things were a little more stable at the back when he entered which was good to see.|
Sub: Brenden Aaronson
Struggled to impact the game when he came on. It has been a tough start to the season for Aaronson so far and he could fall down the national team pecking order if he doesn’t pick things up soon due to the logjam of wing/midfield talent available.
Sub: Ricardo Pepi
Direct as always, Pepi almost created a few chances but Germany were aware enough to stop that from happening. But Pepi isn’t able to do it on his own.
Sub: Johnny Cardoso
By the time he entered, this game was just about wrapped up.
Sub: Kevin Paredes
A little wasteful but he was fearless despite coming into the match with the result assured.
Coach: Gregg Berhalter
This match is as much on the team as it is on Berhlater. He got his tactics right out of the gate but the team wasn’t able to take advantage in the first half and finish their chances. The second half was a disaster and I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall for Berhalter’s halftime team talk but he certainly didn’t stay, “Stop playing with aggression and allow Germany back into the game.” That’s on the team at the end of the day.
With the depth available to him, how he responds against Ghana will tell us plenty as that has now become a must win after this poor result in terms of creating positive vibes this window.