Thanks to a monster effort from goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, a timid US men's national team kept friendly foe Italy off the scoreboard until the final minute of stoppage time before succumbing, 1-0, in Genk, Belgium on Tuesday night.
For decent stretches, the young USMNT looked more organized than in last week's loss to England, but the sheer volume of defending they had to do caught up to them in the end. With the team unable to keep the ball for any appreciable amount of time, Dave Sarachan's caretaker era ended in disappointment.
Ethan Horvath (9.5) — The Club Brugge 'keeper officially announced his candidacy for the USMNT's No. 1 job moving forward with a sterling display. What kind of stop would you like to see? Smothering rush off the line? Kick save? Fingertip push over the bar? Diving denial of a curler? Horvath offered them all on this night. Were it not for some shabby distribution, he'd have garnered a perfect mark.
Reggie Cannon (3.5) — The FC Dallas right back is still trying to get up to speed at this level, both on the ball and defending it. Cannon rarely even attempted to push up his flank, which contributed to the visitor's inability to possess.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (3) — The young defender made a couple of nice early interventions, but his night was largely characterized by nervy play. Carter-Vickers was especially shaky with the ball, causing stress for the US in a few notable incidents. To top of a subpar night, he neglected to squeeze the space in front of goal on Italy's last-gasp winner.
Walker Zimmerman (3.5) — While he piled up a decent number of helpful clearances, the LAFC center back struggled mightily with the Azzurri’s movement. He was beaten on the ground, over the top and even lost a restart mark. Zimmerman did sneak onto a great chance to open the scoring just past the hour, only to be robbed.
Aaron Long (6.5) — For the second game in a row, Long was the coolest cucumber on the US backline. The Red Bulls center back made some difficult defensive stops look easy, chalking up a dozen in total. It wasn't a perfect outing, but he continues to show promise at this level.
Shaq Moore (5) — A natural right back, Moore was handed a tough Italy assignment on his off wing. He was taken to school a few times, but passed his tests more often than not. He also was the only US wingback to creep forward consistently (most of their possession sequences included his help), and served a dangerous cross after being shifted to his preferred flank.
Tyler Adams (6.5) — The Red Bulls youngster was easily the most successful USMNT pressure valve in the game, and was arguably the team's bright spot in the first half. However, the bad giveaways did start piling up as the game wore on.
Kellyn Acosta (3) — Simply put, the team needs more from him. Aside from the highly troublesome restart service that set up Zimmerman's attempt on goal, Acosta was extremely disappointing with the ball at his feet and you could count his successful run of play touches in the attacking half on one hand.
Marky Delgado (4) — The Toronto FC midfielder shipped a couple of positive passes, made a couple of decent defensive stops and won a couple of final-third free kicks, but he still needs more seasoning at the international level.
Christian Pulisic (5.5) — It's certainly not all his fault, but the young US captain was unable to conjure any magic on this night. Yes, Pulisic fed on scraps, but he failed to complete a single positive pass in, or into, the final third. Only his pressure-breaking bursts pulled this mark up near average.
Josh Sargent (5) — Not to sound like a broken record, but it's hard to blame the striker for not contributing when he is only sparingly utilized. Sargent battled when he could, and pitched in with a couple of set piece clearances, but most of his service was either speculative or received with a defender already in his shirt.
Coach Dave Sarachan (2) — If the interim boss wanted to go out with a bang, as he claimed, it would have been best to field a starting unit with more than two lonely attackers. Sarachan always seemed to offer a poor lineup choice or two, and this contest was no exception. While the high press had its moments, there weren't enough of them when the team registers 26 percent possession and doesn't even attempt a shot during the run of play until the waning moments. If not for Horvath's huge effort, this could have easily gone down as a four or five-goal humbling.
Bobby Wood (4.5) — In his 30 minutes of work, Wood got his wheels turning a couple times, but never linked up well with teammates. He also pulled his lone half-chance wide.
Sebastian Lletget (2.5) — The late sub did very well to break free with a loose ball in the final third, but the LA Galaxy midfielder hesitated away his window to create a chance from it. More disappointingly, Lletget gave up following the mark that broke into the US box to score the winner. That shouldn't happen with a player that's been on the field for 10 minutes
Romain Gall (-) — It was just a cameo, but the debutant did manage to show he was unafraid with the ball at his feet.