So yeah. It’s come to this for Gregg Berhalter and the USMNT: a must-win game in a newly created competition against a team that, until last month, they hadn’t lost to since 1985.
The US plays Canada in the CONCACAF Nations League looking for redemption. Only 11,000 showed up (announced tickets, crowd looks more sparse) for this one. OOOF.
Canada almost seems like they’re trying to lose this one at times. They have their best player, Alphonso Davies, at wing back. Their defending (especially on set pieces) is atrocious. The US is finishing every chance they get. They take a 3-0 lead to the half.
Canada looks the better side though in the second half. They claw one back in the 72nd minute. They’re getting Davies on the ball more. Gyasi Zardes‘ brace though puts this away 4-1.
Obviously, this is a result the US needs. However, Canada out-possessed the US 64-36%. Shots were similar, with the US going 12 / 5 to Canada’s 11 / 3. The US had bigger chances and buried them.
Still, Canada hasn’t qualified for the World Cup though since 1986. Let’s not go popping the Cristal just yet.
Here are the USMNT player ratings vs Canada.
USMNT Starting XI vs Canada
Is Berhalter trying to get fired? Zardes? No in-form Yedlin? No Morales?
It’s our time in O-Town. 💪🇺🇸⚽️
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) November 15, 2019
USMNT Player Ratings
Gregg Berhalter (7) – The collected “WTF!” groan you heard around 6pm ET was that Berhalter had Gyasi Zardes on the team sheet. No Alfredo Morales either. Or an in form DeAndre Yedlin. Twitter isn’t happy.
His call on Zardes at least appears wise. He’s hungry and hunting for goals and gets one. Then another. His squad selection and team performance (though maybe not as good as the scoreline shows) will buy him some breathing room.
Brad Guzan (7) – HE’S BIG. HE’S BALD. HE’S A MOTHERF*CKIN WALL! A little shaky in distribution early. Not *really* challenged until the 72nd minute but did well to finger tip a ball out of danger. Nothing he could do on the goal just a minute later off Canada’s corner.
Sergino Dest (8) – Would’ve been a stunner had he been left out of the starting XI. Let’s hope this is an “Ajax Dest” not “vs Mexico Dest” performance. Looks better going forward than in defense. Blistering run from midfield and almost converted his shot to get on the score sheet. Looks like a Liverpool wingback the way he gets forward. Owned Alphonso Davies on one sequence in the 80th in attack. Came off in the 92nd. Best of the backline tonight.
Aaron Long (7) – Quiet but steady defensively early. Textbook header on a set piece to give the US a 3-0 lead. Solid defending in second half, well positioned in 78th to halt an attack and build from the back.
Tim Ream (7) – Calm and cool under pressure with the ball and in defending. Good block to stifle a shot in the 25th. Ream looks solid. Delivers a great ball on a set piece to Long for the 3rd goal. Misses his mark on Canada’s first goal. Only real knock against him. Very solid tonight.
John Brooks (6) – Welcome back, Brooks! Fortunate not to give a pk with some sloppy defending in the first half, but otherwise has been a menacing, towering backline presence.
Weston McKennie (5) – Not sure what’s up with him lately. He’s clearly talented but he’s invisible early and giving the ball away. Moved into a more attacking center role when Llegtet came off. A little more lively then. Couple of decent runs late. Overall though not too impressive.
Jackson Yueill (5.5) – Filling in for Michael Bradley tonight. Strong early, good disrupting and intercepting. Quiet in second half comparatively. Mixed showing.
Sebastian Llegtet (6) – Like this call here. Can provide a creative spark and does so with a real cheeky ball into the box in the 10th. Solid showing. Taken out in the 69th after suffering an irresponsible tackle. Best of the midfield bunch.
Jordan Morris (8.5) – Great week for Morris. His Seattle Sounders win MLS Cup. And he nets a goal in the 2nd minute to put the US up 1-0 early. Morris delivered a pin point assist to Zardes for the second goal. More quiet in the second half. Muffed an opportunity in the 61st to deliver a meaningful ball in the box. Off in the 86th for Yedlin.
Gyasi Zardes (8) – FFS. And nothing against Zardes. I appreciate his effort. But ffs. Wasted an opportunity in the 15th when Dest made a good run into the box and Zardes just…ran behind two defenders. Can’t pass a ball through 2 people. However, did well to bury his header on the second goal. And his finish was top shelf on his brace. Two goals for the much maligned man. We apologize, Gyasi. You done well tonight.
Jordan Morris ➡️ Gyasi Zardes ➡️ GOAL ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/KIh9qyEJvF
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 16, 2019
Paul Arriola (6) – Great, heady ball in to Morris for the hockey assist on the second goal. Otherwise kind of quiet. Shows sparks but nothing stands out.
Alfredo Morales (5) – Came on for Llegtet in the 69th, immediately making a poor tackle. Then sent a potential big chance into the Magic Kingdom in the 73rd. Team got worse when he came on. Disappointing.
DeAndre Yedlin (7) – Should’ve started given club form. Gets on pitch late. Placed in front of Dest to help contain Davies. Great run forward and delivery that eventually leads to Zardes’ brace. Tracked back well to help shut down a Davies drive. Looked great.
Tyler Boyd (NR) – On late as a time killer for Dest.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Giving this to Jordan Morris. On the whole, he was best overall player in both halves.