United States’ comfortable 3-0 win over Panama was a “try-out.” Check out who shined via players ratings in Gregg Berhalter’s debut.
While for some fans it was just a not-so-important U.S.A. C Team versus Panama B Team match-up on Sunday night, it represented the exact opposite for most of the 23 players on United States under new head coach Gregg Berhalter’s roster. It was somewhat of a “try-out.” They were ready to fight their socks off to prove they should become a regular on the Yanks’ team sheet.
The January campers passed the overall test as they blanked 2018 World Cup participants Panama, 3-0, thanks to Djordje Mihailovic, Walker Zimmerman and Christian Ramirez’s goals. A 3-0 victory over Panama is a win the first team would be content of, hence many players impressed Berhalter. However, as expected in a try-out, other players disproved that they belong in the bossman’s plan to restore the U.S. team.
Let’s examine who got closer to making the cut list and who didn’t in player ratings:
Zack Steffen [GK] (8/10)—The Pennsylvania native showed why power-club Manchester City will bring him in this summer. He was calm and precise in his short passes despite Panama’s pressure.
Steffen wasn’t tested much but one of the rare times he was, the netminder made an unreal reaction save to stop Panama substitute Edson De Sousa Record from leveling the scoring, 1-1. A clean sheet, a world-class save and some crisp passes earn the highest ever paid transferred out MLS keeper an eight out of 10.
Walker Zimmerman [DF] (9/10)— Scoring as a center-back will surely boost up your rating. Zimmerman netted U.S.A.’s second goal as he headed Nick Lima’s cross amid two Panama field players and keeper E. R. Chifundo. On the defensive end, the tall halfback had a couple of intelligent interceptions and De Sousa can blame him for not shooting the ball past Steffen. The 25-year-old sprinted and slid in front of the Panamanian forward, making him rush his strike.
Aaron Long [DF] (6.5/10)—The reigning MLS Defender of the Year didn’t have a bad game, but was a bit far from his best. His overall passing was clinical but in the 69th-minute he gave the ball away without much pressure, which led to a shot. Long was sitting too deep when Los Canaleros hit their first shot in the opening half. He was caught ball watching and was mispositioned again when De Sousa drew a save from Steffen in the 56th minute. A 6.5 is a bit severe for Long in a clean sheet but when you’re a defender in his quality and captain of the night you get grade harsher.
Daniel Lovitz [DF] (8/10)—It was the fullback’s first cap for the U.S., but he played as if he has as many appearances as DaMarcus Beasly. The defender passed the ball at ease—except for a few rookie hiccups—wasn’t afraid to put a body on the Panamanians or to go in for a tackle, whipped a couple of good crosses in the box and hit a shot out of the 18 in the 48th minute.
Michael Bradley [DM] (8/10)—The former Roma midfielder is certainly not the most loved U.S. player however he had a performance that deserved a couple of hugs from United States’ supporters. Bradley never stopped running in front of the defense on Sunday night. As a result, he won the ball several times.
The American displayed two different faces of his passing game, making the simple passes when he had to and found his young teammates down the wings with pinpoint long balls.
Corey Baird [RM] (8/10)—At only 22 years of age, the former Stanford Cardinal player appeared to be the most confident player on the pitch. Baird didn’t hesitate to charge down the wing and to take on players. The youngster had the first assist of the match as he found Mihailovic with an exquisite low-cross after making an ambitious run off the ball down the flank. The only mistakes that brought his grade down are his few silly giveaways and in the 71st minute, his man had an easy header on him on a corner.
Cristian Roldan [CAM] (7.5/10)—The playmaker connected with his teammates well with square passes, one-twos and such, and had the first shot on target of the match. He was everywhere on the pitch. One second you found him in the middle, the other second on the left flank, then on the right. On a bad note, what should not happen from a midfielder, Roldan’s first touch let him down a couple of times.
Nick Lima [CM] (9/10)—The San Jose Earthquakes defender put forth the best performance of the game. He had a second assist on the third goal, spotting Jonathan Lewis down the line and a third assist on the first goal, finding Gyasi Zardes from midfield with a needle pass. But the 24-year-old’s highlight reel play of the match was of course when he sent Zimmerman on goal with a voluptuous in-curling cross after a robust slide tackle.
Jeremy Ebobisse [LM] (4/10)— It wasn’t the 21-year-old’s night. Ebobisse constantly lost the ball down the left wing with misplaced passes and poor ball control. The only thing that really stood out from him was the dangerous cross he delivered to Zardes early in the game. To be fair on the Portland Timbers striker, it was his first cap and he was playing out of position.
Gyasi Zardes [FWD] (6/10)— Perhaps the striker made the starting XI because he’s familiar with Berhalter’s style play, as he played under him in the MLS. Nevertheless, Zardes didn’t put up a good performance. He should’ve scored one of the of two headers he had in the first half. The 27-year-old had a better look at goal in the second period as he drove a low shot on frame, but it was a chance a striker should’ve put away.
Zardes did have a couple layoffs and a second assist but his short passes didn’t connect too many times and wasn’t the strongest on the ball on some occasions.
Djordje Mihailovic [FWD] (8.5/10)—The 2017 Chicago Fire Homegrown Player opened the scoring in the 40th minute on his U.S. debut, one-timing Baird’s cross in the net after making one of his signature late runs. He brought a save out of Chifundo later in the 61st minute.
Sebastian Lletget [MF] (7/10)—The former West Ham United midfielder started his 28 minutes off the bench by charging down Panama’s midfield before pushing a pass to Zardes, but mishit a shot later on and dived in the box.
Jonathan Lewis [LM] (7.5/10)— After subbing in the 66th minute, the NYCFC speedster assisted the third goal as he burned a Panamanian before squaring a pass to Christian Ramirez. However, he dribbled the ball out on another trip down the flank and was beat by a La Marea Roja player.
Sean Johnson [GK] (7/10)—The 29-year-old made an easy save after coming in the 74th minute, but didn’t show good feet as Steffen did when the ball was passed back to him. Although he made up for it with a quick long pass down the left wing.
Paul Arriola [RM] (7/10)—The D.C. United midfielder held the ball well when he didn’t find an open teammate, but did rush a pass and lost the ball.
Christian Ramirez [FWD] (8/10)—The 27-year-old only played about six minutes but managed to do what mattered most in soccer, he scored. It was an easy goal, but aye, he put himself in the right spot and was composed enough to finish.
Wil Trapp [DM] (N/A)—The Columbus Crew beloved midfielder needed more time to be rated. Trapp subbed in the 84th minute.