For 90 minutes on Friday, the USMNT outplayed England at the 2022 World Cup and looked like the side full of Premier League and global superstars.
For the second straight game, the Yanks came flying out of the starting gate and set the tempo early on. Only this time, they didn’t retreat into their shell. This young team is growing, very quickly, right before our eyes, in their most difficult game of the group stage, at a World Cup.
USMNT player ratings vs England
GK – Matt Turner: 7 – We knew he was the best shot-stopper in the USMNT player pool, but his distribution — both short and long — were fantastic on Friday. With England forced out wide and to cross so much, he had to be strong and confident going up to catch the ball. And he was.
RB – Sergiño Dest: 7.5 – One of his best performances for the USMNT, both attacking and defensively, as he, Tim Weah and Weston McKennie frequently overloaded Luke Shaw. England didn’t have an answer for their combination play down the right wing.
CB – Walker Zimmerman: 6.5 – Harry Kane’s impact on Friday’s game was virtually zero, with two, three and sometimes four blue shirts surrounding him every time he touched the ball, and Zimmerman was typically first on the scene with pressure hot on his heels (literally).
CB – Tim Ream: 7 – It’s been simply incredible to see Ream come into this team, take up a starting spot and thrive in his role as not only the elder statesman of the squad, but also the initiator of possession. And he’s been brilliant. Just brilliant.
LB – Antonee Robinson: 7 – Much like Dest on the right, Robinson was a menace down the left flank and keeping Bukayo Saka on the back foot for 78 minutes. Using possession to defend and control games is what the great teams do, and the USMNT came dangerously close to doing just that on Friday.
DM – Tyler Adams: 8 – Jude Bellingham posed a serious threat as the central midfield pushing forward into attack on the right side of midfield, but Adams did a fantastic job shadowing him anytime he made those runs forward and never letting the full backs become outnumbered. It was the biggest threat that the USMNT defense would face, and Adams effectively nullified it.
CM – Yunus Musah: 7 – No one was more calm or comfortable playing through England’s midfield, pressing or not, time and again on Friday. Every time Ream or Robinson found themselves in trouble, it was a stinging pass into Musah’s feet that got them out of it. He’s 19 years old and already the safety net for a side that has taken two massive steps toward the knockout rounds.
CM – Weston McKennie: 6.5 – The game’s best scoring chance fell to McKennie midway through the first half, a difficult chance on the half-volley from near the penalty spot. He has a reputation as a big-game player, so he’ll be expected to put that one away next time.
RW/CF – Tim Weah: 7 – Weah’s deployment as a more narrow winger/center forward hybrid gave England fits, occupying both center backs and pinning the full backs deeper defensively than they would have liked. After scoring in the manner he did against Wales, England were forced to respect his speed in behind, which created acres of space between the Three Lions’ midfield and defense for McKennie and Dest to exploit on the right and Robinson and Christian Pulisic on the left.
CF – Haji Wright: 6.5 – Hold-up play and the ability to occupy both center backs on his own were the reasons Wright was picked to start against England, and he provided plenty of both, and it was an incredibly important job that opened up space for the rest of the attack.
LW/LM – Christian Pulisic: 6.5 – Not his best game by any stretch, but he hit the crossbar late in the first half and was somewhat sacrificed in the 4-4-2/4-3-3 hybrid setup. He crossed the ball seven times, which will have played into England’s hands in keeping him out of the middle of the field, but it wasn’t a lost cause with Wright and Weah in the middle.