The US men’s national team battled friendly visitors Chile to a 1-1 draw in Houston on Tuesday night, in a game that should serve up several important lessons to new manager Gregg Berhalter and his often-sloppy charges.
The hosts got off to a flying start when Christian Pulisic coolly bagged a fine Gyasi Zardes setup in the fourth minute, but quickly ceded the lead and control of the play. Chile's press gave the red, white and blue boys fits throughout the night, but they hung on for a share despite several of Gregg Berhalter's players putting on less than desirable displays.
Ethan Horvath (6) — The Club Brugge man wasn't handed too many standard goalkeeping chores, but he handled the ones he was pressed into with ease. Horvath probably should have received a second assist for the boot that led to Pulisic's opener, but a few of his later distribution choices put the team under some duress.
DeAndre Yedlin (4) — It was another subpar outing from the Newcastle right back, who freed space for Chile's scorer by getting sucked into the middle. Yedlin also struggled in one-v-one situations in his corner and failed to make an impact when pushed up into more of a wingback role over the final 35 minutes.
Matt Miazga (7) — The Reading center back wasn't flawless at the back, but he was usually in fine position to stall Chile's forwards on the numerous occasions they received splitting passes to the top of the US box. Miazga also pitched in with some strong clearances, as well as an important area shot block early in the second half.
Omar Gonzalez (7) — Like his partner, the veteran defender highlighted a solid showing by chalking up a handful of area clearances and a big shot block. Gonzalez also sprang a threatening US break by shrewdly lobbing an outlet pass over Chile's pressure line. But, please, no more catnaps when the opponent has a throw-in in the corner.
Tim Ream (5) — For the second game in a row, the Fulham defender put on a hot-and-cold display at left back. Ream got off to a quick start with incisive passing up the flank, but would eventually make some mistakes on the ball, including a particularly lazy back pass that could have easily ended in disaster. Defensively, he made some smart stops in the US end, but also committed a few troubling errors. One would assume it's been shown that he's not the answer at this position moving forward.
The US celebrate Christian Pulisic's goal | USA Today Sports Images
Michael Bradley (6.5) — The bald eagle was largely excellent in the first half, hoovering up a bushel of balls in the midfield (when no one else was) and shipping a couple of outstanding lead passes into attack. Bradley was not quite as good after the break, when he lost a few Chile dribblers and passed up a couple of opportunities to pick out runners with more long balls.
Cristian Roldan (3) — The Seattle Sounders midfielder started the night by making an outstanding second minute play to turn pressure defense into a final third scamper, but it all went downhill from there. Time and again, Roldan was found lacking in his own end. His passing lane positioning, coverage and decisions with the ball were all repeatedly problematic. He departed in the 84th minute having managed just two positive passes into the attacking third and the same small amount to break pressure out of the back; needless to say, the team requires a lot more of both out from the guy in the No. 8 role.
Christian Pulisic (7.5) — It's a shame the Borussia Dortmund playmaker had to leave with a knock after only 35 minutes, and his departure drastically altered the proceedings. Not only did Pulisic apply a terrific finishing touch on the icebreaker, but his wheels and intent with the ball unnerved Chile every time he got revved up.
Corey Baird (3.5) — Aside from one nice centering feed and a strong pressure-valve maneuver between minutes 15 and 20, the Real Salt Lake winger disappointed quite a bit. Baird went completely AWOL tracking the Chile left back on his equalizer, while both his decisions and his touch killed a number of promising US advances.
Paul Arriola (4.5) — While Baird's opposite performed better in comparison, he was also well below average. Arriola did serve one tempting cross that deserved a finish, but he was too often hesitant when afforded space to run free into attack and wasted one great opportunity with a notably poor touch. Though the D.C. United ace did come up with some helpful defensive stops in the first half, he also missed a golden chance to break up Chile's goal sequence before it became truly dangerous.
Gyasi Zardes (5.5) — Boy, one can't say enough about his tender long-boot takedown and breakaway pass on the turn that set up Pulisic's goal. That was certainly an international caliber play, and one that dragged his grade toward respectable. Early in the second half, Zardes did brilliantly to carve out a chance through sheer doggedness, only to sadly sky it over from a great position. The Columbus striker also dropped far too deep far too often, inviting Chile's defenders to creep forward for added pressure. On one of those occasions, he coughed up a bad turnover to put his defense under stress.
Coach Gregg Berhalter (6) — One can definitely question a couple of his line-up choices, but Berhalter was also wise to at least temporarily abandon the right-back wrinkle used in his first three matches in charge. It would also be fair to gripe a bit about his overt dismantling of the US attack that made it very difficult to gain any forward momentum in the second half. However, that was understandable given how easily Chile was moving up the gut, and even somewhat effective in slowing them down. For this game, his first in charge against a top opponent, we'll call it a wash.
Sebastian Lletget (4) — The LA Galaxy midfielder had over an hour to get up to speed after replacing Pulisic, but it never really happened. Lletget has had and will have far better nights in a USMNT shirt, but this one was mostly characterized by meek challenges and poor decisions with the ball.
Wil Trapp (4.5) — There would be no dandy lock-picking diagonal passes from the Crew SC skipper on this night, and he got away with a couple of late mistakes deep in the US end.
Jordan Morris (-) — With no real support going forward, the Seattle speedster was handed a thankless job during his short shift.