USMNT player ratings from win vs Jamaica: Pepi showcases finish (again)

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Ricardo Pepi and the United States men’s national team shook off a goal-shy first half as the FC Dallas teenager bagged two more goals in the USMNT’s 2-0 win over Jamaica in Austin, Texas, on Thursday.

And while the 18-year-old is going to get a lot of praise for leading the way in a home qualifying win — considered sacred and necessary in World Cup qualifying — there were many others who demanded attention.

[ MORE: Three things we learned, recap ]

Yunus Musah, Antonee Robinson, and Walker Zimmerman all impressed on a night without many, if any, passengers for Gregg Berhalter’s men.

The Yanks now have eight points from four qualifiers heading to Panama for a Sunday qualifier, returning home Wednesday to host Costa Rica.

[ MORE: USMNT World Cup qualifying schedule ]

Here’s a look at who stood out (for better or for worse) for Gregg Berhalter’s side, with some special bonus commentary (of the dissenting variety) from PST’s Andy Edwards (italicized)…


USMNT player ratings vs Jamaica

GK – Matt Turner: 7 – There when called upon. And will be there in Panama come Sunday.

LB – Antonee Robinson: 7 – Skinned once in the first half by Shamar Nicholson but carried the ball very well and kept Jamaica’s right side off kilter. Inch-perfect set up for Aaronson to find Pepi on the second goal.

CB – Walker Zimmerman: 8 – The passes aren’t always perfect but the mix of poise and aggression is on point. Reads the game like the veteran he is.

CB – Miles Robinson: 7 – No complaints.

RB – Sergino Dest : 7.5 – No, he’s not a defensive force but he made an incisive pass to find Yunus Musah before going to the right spot of the 18 to get the ball back and spin a pretty pass to Pepi on the first goal.

CM – Tyler Adams: 6.5 – Not one of his best games, but still steady.

Adams – 7.5 – Without being spectacular or truly standing out, Adams was quietly and systematically irreplaceable. Please stay healthy, Tyler.

CM – Weston McKennie: 6 – Just fine. Worked hard and showed a lot of what the U.S. was missing when he got himself sent home for breaking team rules.

CM – Yunus Musah: 7.5 – A little casual early but think about what that says for the teenager’s confidence. So smooth with the ball and fluid in his movement. A possible crown jewel.

Musah – 7 – I absolutely love his energy and the way he looks to get forward in transitional moments. Sometimes it’s misguided (he’s 18 years old with fewer than 2,000 professional minutes), but it’s always exciting and sends the imagination into overdrive every time.

RW– Paul Arriola: 7 – Industrious and his burst behind the Jamaican line within 20 seconds of kickoff led to a foul and yellow card that should’ve had the game 11v10 for over 89 out of 90 minutes (barring another dismissal, of course).

Arriola – 6.5 – For two-thirds of the field, he was probably man of the match for the defensive work and ball progressing he did on the right wing, and that’s why he’ll forever be called into Berhalter’s squads. In the final third, he showed why he’ll only ever be a spot-starter or situational piece.

LW– Brenden Aaronson : 7.5 – This might be controversial because of how many good spaces he got into but his desire to spin a ball into the upper 90 rather than lay off to a teammate for a better shot on 2-3 occasions has me idling just below 8.

Aaronson – 8 – There might not be a player better suited to Berhalter’s dream style of counter-attacking soccer, and it was on full display in this one. You don’t have to have sprinter speed to terrorize in the open field; Aaronson gets by with his brilliant movement and impeccable timing to run in behind, and he delivers the best final ball in the player pool.

CF– Ricardo Pepi (Off 68′): 9 – He is 18 years old and has three goals in two World Cup qualifiers, the two on Thursday coming as he proved a quiet first half didn’t shake him one bit.

Subs

Gyasi Zardes (On 68′): 5.5 — Missed not quite a sitter, but close to it.
Timothy Weah (On 68′): 6.5 — Fast, powerful, and confident.
Shaq Moore (On 77′): 6.5 — One really solid tackle early in his shift.
Luca de la Torre (On 77′): N/A
Kellyn Acosta (On 83′): N/A