The youngest US national team line-up ever seen in a January camp friendly played beyond its years in a mildly encouraging but fairly vanilla 1-0 friendly victory over visiting Costa Rica on Saturday afternoon.
While the Ticos entered with a far more seasoned side, the young Nats generally carried play until Ulysses Llanez bagged a 50th minute spot kick and managed the game from there.
United States Player Ratings
Reggie Cannon (7) — Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about Cannon growing into a young USMNT leader. We saw why on the field today. The FC Dallas right back put on a confident two-way showing highlighted by a big block in the area and earning the spot kick that produced the game's lone goal:
Walker Zimmerman (6.5) — There were a couple of iffy mid-range passes up the middle, but Zimmerman handled business well when pressed around the US area.
Jackson Yueill (5.5) — The San Jose Earthquakes midfielder mostly set up camp in central park to cycle US possession around, and did that well enough. Yueill wasn't so sturdy when it came to slowing Costa Rica down through the middle and was one of two players to watch Johan Vanegas waltz past for a free restart header.
Brenden Aaronson (6) — Like Gasper, Aaronson basically gave a faithful reprise showing of his rookie form in Philly. Aaronson came to compete, showed glimpses of play-driving abilities and yet needed to find the ball a lot more.
Sebastian Lletget (7) — The LA Galaxy midfield engine kept the team chugging along with a very balanced performance. He threatened goal, served nice restarts and linked play forward. Lletget also upped his defensive workoad, notching an impressive 15 total stops.
Paul Arriola (4) — The D.C. United man was often on the ball into decent positions, but fumbled nearly all of his chances to cause trouble in the Costa Rica end. Arriola was the other man guilty of watching Venegas float by for a golden chance.
Ulysses Llanez (7.5) — If the Wolfsburg II ace had any nerves coming into his first USMNT match, he hid it well. Llanez was the most menacing attacking player on the pitch during his 73 minutes and cooler than cucumber ice cream in depositing the decisive penalty kick.
Jesus Ferreira (6.5) — The FC Dallas kid enjoyed a promising debut. The teenager ran some nifty hold-up game during the opening half hour, linking play forward, right and left. However, he didn't see the ball much over the rest of his 63 minutes.
Coach Gregg Berhalter (8) — As far as January camps go, this one should be labeled a success. Berhalter evidently eased along several youngsters with promising USMNT futures and hoisted leadership upon some "middle-aged" internationals. Best of all, he dialed back the details in the game plan, which allowed the green squad to calmly go about their business.
Gyasi Zardes (5) — Peel back another step and he's probably got himself a nice late insurance tally. Alas.
Brandon Servania (6.5) — Of all the subs, Servania looked the most ready to motor. The FC Dallas youngster banged bodies in traffic and moved the ball positively through midfield .
Jonathan Lewis (6) — Though it was a quiet 17-minute shift on the ball from Lewis, it was nice to see him up his defensive work rate to force a few turnovers.
Bill Hamid (6.5) — In 15 minutes, the D.C. United netminder came up with a save, a strong punch and distributed cleanly.