Tuesday, July 23, 2024

USMNT player ratings: Christian Pulisic shines, Folarin Balogun gets needed goal and Tyler Adams does OK

The United States kicked off Copa America on the right foot defeating Bolivia 2-0 behind goals from Christian Pulisic and Folarin Balogun. While there was room for improvement in the match, all you can ask for kicking off a tournament is a clean performance and Gregg Berhalter’s men did just that. The time to look for improvement will be against Panama but let’s take a look at how the team performed on Sunday:

Goalkeeper: Matt Turner

Matt Turner could’ve brought a lawn chair to Sunday’s match but it’s not his fault that the defense in front of him was composed and that Bolivia didn’t offer much of a goal threat, not taking a shot from inside the box. Turner still made three saves which at least got him some action but he’ll need to do more as the USMNT move on.
Rating: 6

Right Back: Joe Scally

Joe Scally got forward with ease and created a chance while also taking a shot. Like his defensive partners, Scally didn’t have much to do but it’s clear that he’s growing in confidence at right back which is something that is only a positive moving forward.
Rating: 7

Center back: Tim Ream

Great moving the ball forward while also keeping track of Bolivia’s attack, Ream cleaned up everything that he needed to. There was a moment of worry where he looked to pick up a knock but Ream was able to continue on which is important as this defense would be in shambles without the 36-year-old.
Rating: 7

Center back: Chris Richards

Stepped up when needed, patrolling the air in defense. There was a moment where Chris Richards sent a pass right to a Bolivia attacker that brought on a little danger but other than that, it was a clean night when there wasn’t much to do defensively. 
Rating: 6

Left back: Antonee Robinson

With Bolivia not offering an attacking threat, Antonee Robinson took it as a chance to get forward whenever possible to assist in attack. He was able to help create overloads and created five chances while also taking two shots. It was a confident display from the USMNT’s number-one defender. 
Rating: 7

Midfielder: Tyler Adams

Making his first start for the USMNT since March in the Concacaf Nations League final against Mexico, Tyler Adams wasn’t at his usual sharpness, misplacing some passes, but as he ramps up his injury recovery, that’s expected. Adams was able to get a half of soccer under his belt and now he’ll look to do more and take better care with the ball against Panama as this team is more confident with him on the pitch.
Rating: 6

Midfielder: Weston McKennie

Not the best game for the Juventus midfielder as Weston McKennie was wasteful in the first half, but it’s unfortunate that his best moment of the game won’t show up due to Tim Weah being offside. During the second half, McKennie rode challenges from a few Bolivia defenders to create. The USMNT will need more of the second half McKennie and less of the first half McKennie moving forward.
Rating: 6

Midfielder: Gio Reyna

A more subdued performance from Reyna, he was able to get the hockey assist on Balogun’s goal but also kept possession ticking over in midfield. Given his dynamism, Reyna is becoming one of the first names on the teamsheet as his defensive game has come a long way. Reyna isn’t trying to do too much while on the pitch and it’s a good thing for the balance of the USMNT.
Rating: 7

Forward: Tim Weah

A great performance from the winger. Weah picked up his fifth assist for the USMNT and also created three chances while also taking three shots. It was a complete game for Weah from being involved in defense while also linking up with his attacking partners as the Juventus man grows by the day.
Rating: 8

Forward: Folarin Balogun

Balogun was having a poor first half until his goal but when you’re a striker, having a short memory is important. Over time, he’ll become more decisive with the USMNT but his finish in capping off a good team goal was a fine one. The hope is that by spending more time with Pulisc, Balogun will begin to realize that the team can play him into good areas and all he has to do is either finish or play in a runner in a better position than him.
Rating: 8

Forward: Christian Pulisic

Who else but the captain to open the scoring as Pulisic lived up to his middle name (Mate) by bringing the energy to the Copa America with his curling effort in the third minute? Unlucky to not have multiple goals during the match, Pulisic was everywhere creating chances, cutting inside and making sure to lead the attack. He takes home man of the match honors with a stellar performance. 
Rating: 9

Subsitute: Yunus Musah

Rating: Spelling Adams it was an energetic display from Musah off the bench. With the USMNT already ahead 2-0 when he came on, it was about not making mistakes and Musah didn’t put a foot wrong. 
Rating: 7

Substitute: Ricardo Pepi

Had a chance that should’ve been put on goal when he first entered but Pepi was unlucky to not score putting four of his six shots on target for an xG of 1.5. It was a bright substitute appearance but the finishing boots need to be there or one of Josh Sargent and Haji Wright will get a chance next time.
Rating: 6

Subsitute: Johnny Cardoso

A small cameo but Johnny barely put a foot wrong, only misplacing one pass while playing. He won two of his three tackles, helping bring fresh legs to the match.
Rating: 7

Substitute: Luca De La Torre

While Luca De La Torre didn’t have much of a chance to get involved, he did what he could in midfield.
Rating: N/A

Substitute: Brenden Aaronson

Coming on in the 86th minute, Aaronson didn’t have much of a chance to make an impact.
Rating: N/A

Manager: Gregg Berhalter

A clean match from the USMNT kicking off Copa America means that Gregg Berhalter got it right. He balanced benching Musah to start the match and got to build fitness for Adams while protecting his players. On a different night, the USMNT may have won by five but all that matters is that they won and know where to grow.
Rating: 7

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