It took a while for their field tilt domination to pay dividends, but the US men’s national team ultimately pulled away from underdogs Guyana to post a comfy 4-0 victory in their opening Concacaf Gold Cup group stage match.
Wingers Paul Arriola and Tyler Boyd keyed the happy result by forcing the visitors onto their heels time after time. The duo combined for three goals and an assist, and could have chalked up more counting stats with a little more final-third cutting edge from teammates.
Zack Steffen (6.5) — The US netminder was reduced to spectating for most of the game, but came up with a solid stop the one time he was called upon.
Nick Lima (7) — Even if his cross accuracy wasn't always optimal, the San Jose right back gave Guyana a torrid time by racing into the final third. Lima also slid inside to test the goalkeeper on one surge forward and did well making defensive challenges.
Walker Zimmerman (6.5) — The main takeaway from this game was Zimmerman's ability to prod the team forward with incisive passes and creeping possession support, especially in the first half. The LAFC defender's grade takes a slight hit for one iffy pass out of the back and a case of wayward positioning, each of which put the team under duress.
Aaron Long (5) — The New York Red Bulls center back was mostly safe with the ball and in positioning, but he twice misjudged potentially dangerous crosses as they sailed past in the area. That can't happen when the opposition gets tougher.
Tim Ream (5) — After making some solid defensive interventions early, the Fulham veteran had a few shaky moments at the back. Ream largely played it safe on the ball, but with tougher tests ahead, it would be nice if his splitting-pass game returned on short order.
Michael Bradley (6.5) — The US skipper was playing his first game in a month, and the rust was plain to see on both sides of the ball in the first half. Bradley was considerably better after the break, both in guarding the gate and passing. In the 51st minute, his trademark diagonal-ball assist for the second earned the team some needed breathing room.
Weston McKennie (6) — The Schalke youngster definitely had his moments playing wingers into the final third, such as when his perfectly-weighted entry pass sent Arriola into the box for the opener. However, he can still be more consistent in winning midfield battles and controlling the flow of play.
Weston McKennie (at right) | USA Today Sports Images
Christian Pulisic (6) — The fresh Chelsea catch will have much better nights finishing plays around the area, but his insistent attacking nature in the middle of the field helped open up space for the wide threats.
Tyler Boyd (9.5) — The new flank terror on the scene was far and away the best US player in the opening frame, and eventually got his just rewards with a pair of well-struck goals. Boyd repeatedly got behind the Guyana defense, picked all the proper crosses, delivered tempting corners and even worked hard to get back on defense. Bravo and welcome aboard, sir.
Paul Arriola (8) — The D.C. United man's constant exploitation of space out wide effectively set the table for the rout. Arriola lashed home a beaut for the opening goal and repeatedly played the team into dangerous positions until he notched a late assist.
Gyasi Zardes (5) — Setting aside his "oopsy daisy" goal, the Columbus striker could have provided a lot more in attack. The effort was always there, but clumsiness in touch and choices kept Zardes from making the required impact up front.
Coach Gregg Berhalter (7) — The boss asked for a methodical win prior to kickoff and that's precisely what he got. Berhalter wisely tinkered with his right back wrinkle, electing to send Lima straight down the flank instead of having him overload central midfield. With Ream acting as a stay-at-home left back, the plan eventually paid off.
Wil Trapp (6) — The Columbus midfielder didn't open up the game with his usual traffic direction passes, but sticking to the safe routes was enough against this opponent.
Cristian Roldan (6.5) — When the US build started to flag, Roldan hopped off the bench to bring some needed juice. He also battled much better in his own end than in recent caps.
Djordje Mihailovic (6) — In a short shift, the Chicago midfielder showed that he's capable of being a late transition weapon during this tournament.