USMNT Player Ratings: Tyler Adams in hybrid right back role pays dividends

The US national team continued their march into the Gregg Berhalter era with a tidy 1-0 victory over friendly guests Ecuador in Orlando on Thursday night.

The red, white and blue boys almost exclusively controlled the proceedings throughout, but often lacked the cutting edge once they reached the final third. Nevertheless, the new manager's record holding the USMNT reins remained perfect thanks to a deflected Gyasi Zardes winner nine minutes from time. 

Sean Johnson (6) — There's really nothing to critique when your 'keeper can practically put his feet up and watch a movie. 

Tyler Adams (6.5) — Playing in Berhalter's hybrid right back role for the first time, Adams covered a ton of ground. It wasn't always a great idea to roam so much and his teammates were called on to cover a few times when he got caught up. That said, the RB Leipzig youngster generally moved the ball forward and forced a few turnovers across midfield, which is precisely why he drew the quirky assignment.

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Aaron Long (7) — Though Ecuador rarely threatened going forward, Long was most often the guy who turned them away. The Red Bulls man again showed why he's an ace at defending on the run and reading the imbalance when he has to slide over to cover for a caught-up teammate. 

John Anthony Brooks (6.5) — The Wolfsburg center back wasn't pressed into much duty, but did succeed on a few solid physical challenges when Ecuador tried to lob up to their forwards. Brooks also moved the ball efficiently, with no missed passes over the final hour of the game. 

Tim Ream (5.5) — The veteran was largely steady at the back and even picked up an assist on the winner. However, there were a couple of major hiccups in his corner, both on and off the ball, that might have been punished by a better opponent. 

Wil Trapp (7.5) — The Columbus skipper was easily the best US player in the first half, and not just because he was having a ton of fun pinging excellent diagonal balls to the wingers. Trapp also kept Ecuador from advancing through lines up the middle with positioning and pressure against potential passing targets. 

Weston McKennie (7) — The young midfielder started slowly, but quickly grew into the game to display why he's such a handful to play against. His movement and combo touches gave the visitors some final third headaches. 

Christian Pulisic (6) — The Borussia Dortmund playmaker asked some decent questions of the Ecuador defense, even if they generally had the answers on this night. Pulisic's early set piece deliveries were troublesome, but that area of his game fell off from there. 

Jordan Morris (5) — It was a pretty quiet attack night from the Seattle speedster, who seemed hesitant to run at defenders. Morris also got away with napping in his own end on one occasion.

Paul Arriola (6) — The D.C. United winger caused some stress for Ecuador when he found space to receive long diagonals, but was mostly unable to find the right final ball. Arriola's grade is knocked down to average for somehow managing to hit the Ecuador goalkeeper when he ran onto a glorious open chance in the 25th minute. 

Gyasi Zardes (6.5) — Never mind the goal, which required a silly turnover, a fortuitous deflection and some wacky footwork from the flailing away netminder to sneak its way under the bar. Zardes does get credit for some nifty combination play around the area on a night when his touches were few and far between.

Coach Gregg Berhalter (6.5) — Yes, the hosts succeeded at keeping the game in front of them all night (as Berhalter's teams tend to do), and against a somewhat better foe than those faced during his first camp in charge. Now the boss needs to iron out the final third plan to create more good chances. For instance, it might have been better to have Arriola and Morris switch sides to accentuate their best talents. But hey, we're early in the transition phase and this was his first go with most of the top selection available. Baby steps, to be sure, but they remain headed in the right direction.

Subs:

Michael Bradley (6) — Aside from one sloppy giveaway, Bradley generally continued the simple glue work done by Trapp. 

Sebastian Lletget (5.5) — The LA Galaxy man didn't try anything fancy, but maybe could have.

DeAndre Yedlin (6) — See Lletget. The Newcastle right-sider needs to be a bit more aggressive if used up the wing.

Cristian Roldan (5.5) — The Sounders midfielder did try to get some passes through the Ecuador back line, they just didn't connect.

Jonathan Lewis (6) — The youngster only had one touch before Zardes scored and the game moved into the "back it into the garage" phase.


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