Interim boss Dave Sarachan once again fielded a green team in need of international experience, and several of the youngsters responded with highly positive efforts. Thanks to an opportunistic Julian Green strike, a whole lot of strong back line play and a big game from 'keeper Zack Steffen, the Nats posted a result that should spur plenty of happy growth.
Zack Steffen (8) - The Columbus netminder officially declared his candidacy to take the No. 1 job with this performance. Steffen looked slow to move on Paul Pogba's early distance drive, but managed to nudge it onto the woodwork. Early in the second half, he raced off his line for a restart punch so strong it knocked two players out of the game. And those were just his warm-up acts, as the best of his six saves were still to come in the form of a free kick denial and a quick double stop near the death.
Shaq Moore (4.5) - The young right back received quite the lesson in his first US start. Moore was beaten on the dribble a handful of times in his corner, which forced him to concede both free crosses and a couple of dangerous free kicks. The Levante man was extremely hot and cold with the ball at his own feet, but one of his two bothersome crosses did facilitate the US goal. We'll call it one to grown on.
Tim Parker (7) - It was a roller coaster night for the Red Bulls center back, who was also making his first international start. Parker struggled some with clamping down on marks in the early moments of the contest, but settled nicely to pitch in with numerous help plays. He would end up with a game-high 15 total defensive stops, but also unfortunately overran the cutback on Kylian Mbappe's late equalizer.
Matt Miazga (6.5) - Before he left at the hour with a knock to the noggin, it was an uneven effort from the Chelsea defender. While Miazga organized well, he also let a couple of restart marks get loose and required cover on a few other occasions.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (7.5) - Yes, the Tottenham prospect was hit with a demerit for failing to stick with Mbappe on the France goal. Other than that blip, though, Carter-Vickers was large and in charge at the back. His air-tight positional defending headed off several Les Bleus advances and he threw in a huge area shot block on the hour mark for good measure.
Antonee Robinson (7) - The Everton left back impressed again, despite the jump in level. Robinson's keen awareness in the US end was helpful in shutting down France moves in his corner and in moving the ball out of the back. The one time that sense of play anticipation went missing, he got sucked toward the middle on France's goal play to free the overlapping crosser.
Wil Trapp (4.5) - As was the case against Ireland last week, Trapp was much too lax in patrolling zone 14. Both dribblers and passes simply moved too freely in front of the gate to the US defense. In addition, the skipper only managed four positive passes in or into the attacking half.
Tyler Adams (7.5) - Let's get straight to the point: Adams was everywhere. He repeatedly looked like a sixth defender, making several interventions at key moments. The Red Bulls hotshot easily piled up more destroyer plays than both of his midfield mates combined. He also played a few incisive passes in attack, but we will need him to limit his turnovers in the US end, especially against foes as lethal as France.
Weston McKennie (4.5) - Though the Schalke midfielder picked up his defensive game after the break, he was still quite easy to get past much of the night and far too sloppy with the ball in pressure valve situations.
Julian Green (6) - He was the invisible man for the lion's share of his 70 minutes, but a couple of big plays pulled Green's grade up to passing. While one can surely question Hugo Lloris' goalkeeping, Green eagerly jumped on a defensive miscue to sneak the US goal short side with a solid hit. He also came up with an important steal in front of the US area when France were turning the screw late in his shift.
Bobby Wood (4.5) - The Hamburg forward made a few nice turns to break the visitors into the final third, but his hold-up play was spotty and the usually troublesome timing of his runs was off all night. Wood effectively cost himself a goal by neglecting to ride the offside line properly just after intermission.
Coach Dave Sarachan (7) - The caretaker manager made the risky decision to switch to a 3-5-2, and it at least worked out quite well defensively. Though the pleasant surprise of a result doesn't actually matter in the long run, one can't sneeze at the confidence it will breed in a group of players brought in primarily for seasoning.
Erik Palmer-Brown (7) - The Manchester City back line apprentice jumped right into the fray after Miazga's removal to chalk up a string of defensive stops in 30 minutes. A few of them were rather important, too.
Joe Corona (4) - The 70th minute sub pitched in with a couple of nice track-back stops. However, these incidents were overshadowed by some hurtful mistakes. Most notably, Corona authored a wasteful shot/centering pass (you be the judge) when smartly played in to the area late by Adams and it was his uncouth charge at a ball carrier that set off a fatal chain reaction on France's goal play.
Josh Sargent (6) - The precocious striker barely saw the ball in his quarter-hour of play, but did key one counter rush with a cool link touch.
DeAndre Yedlin (5.5) - Oddly enough, the Newcastle right back looked a step off the pace of the game in his 16 minutes of action.
Jorge Villafana (6.5) - The late left back sub basically shut down France's ability to run into his corner with foreboding positioning.