US player ratings: Christian Pulisic earns top marks in Gold Cup semifinal

The US men's national team will get to defend their Concacaf Gold Cup title in Sunday's final on the strength of a 3-1 semifinal victory over Jamaica in Nashville.

They came out of the tunnel in destroy mode, chalking up an early goal before a weather delay put their momentum on ice. The play was more even after the resumption, but the USMNT maintained their intensity well enough to close out both the win and their best overall performance on the tournament thus far. 

Starters

Zack Steffen (8) — The netminder made comfy work of five stops, with his best coming on a rejection of a Junior Flemmings stinger. Steffen also came up with a couple of important punches and distributed very well. 

Reggie Cannon (6.5) — The FC Dallas youngster made his fair share of helpful moves up the flank and his volleyed centering feed to set up the opener was, dare I say it, classy. In contrast, Cannon also had some troubles in his own end, especially when Jamaica overlapped.

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Matt Miazga (6) — Though he was largely sturdy at the back, Miazga's lone mistake was a big one as he misjudged the flight of the cross on Jamaica's lone goal. Thanks to safe movement of the ball, the center back manages a passing grade. 

Aaron Long (7) — The New York Red Bulls center back was quietly effective in both aerial duels and defending on the run.

Tim Ream (6.5) — Wearing the captain's armband, Ream was one of the few US players to suffer a poor start. He was caught up on an early Jamaica rush and went missing on a free kick mark. The Fulham veteran rallied well after the weather delay to generally minimize the threat factor of Leon Bailey, no small feat. 

Michael Bradley (7) — The midfield general repeatedly went to his bread and butter, spraying measured balls up the wings. His most notable floated lead pass keyed the first US goal move. There were a couple of lost battles that put Jamaica on the ball, but Bradley was again strong with his passing lane protection around the box. 

Weston McKennie (7.5) — The Schalke handyman scored the opener on a terrific late run and made the pass that unleashed the team on their second. McKennie also authored a great one-time through ball that deserved another assist. His grade is dragged down a little by a couple of bad possession giveaways that caused the team stress and for opting not to look for his own shot on a second-half opportunity.

Christian Pulisic (8.5) — The Chelsea attacker repeatedly got out on the gallop, eliminating defenders to open up the final third. After being robbed on an early free kick, Pulisic kept coming until he'd scored a pair of goals. Unsurprisingly, he was quickest to both rebounds and kept his wits for two smart finishes. 

Jordan Morris (7) — The Seattle Sounders right winger came flying out of the blocks to provide dangerous service into the box. While his game dried up for a while after the delay, Morris had the last laugh drawing a fat rebound to tee up Pulisic's winner. 

Paul Arriola (5) — For 86 minutes, Arriola was easily the least efficient US attacker. After sabotaging plenty of good positions with a variety of slow decisions and bad handles, he then suddenly forced a fatal rebound for the USA's late capper. The D.C. United man also gets credit for helping Ream put the clamps on Bailey for most of the night, but he could have been more proactive in shutting down the one effective cross played in by the Bayer Leverkusen winger.

Jozy Altidore (7) — Most of the US moves during the first and last 15 minutes of the first half went through Altidore, with his hold-up and release work keeping rushes crisp. 

Coach Gregg Berhalter (8) — Had it not been for Miazga's error on the Jamaica goal, one could have said that all four of his lineup switches worked a full charm. As is, the moves still were a tonic for his side, which operated incredibly well considering the players had to deal with a highly disruptive long delay 15 minutes into the game that also gave the visitors a chance to problem solve. All of Berhalter's ideas and adjustments joined together to produce the team's best display in nearly two years. With better finishing (or less heroic goaltending by Jamaica's Andre Blake), this easily could have been a rout.

Subs:

Gyasi Zardes (3) — The Columbus striker's hold-up game was a big drop-off from Altidore's, but most will rightly focus on the golden chance he muffed shortly after coming on. 

Cristian Roldan (6) — Playing slightly out of position, the Seattle midfielder was not overly helpful on the ball. He made up for that with some strong defensive plays. 

Daniel Lovitz (--) — Mere mop-up minutes for the Montreal left back.

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