USA vs Germany player ratings: USMNT defensive errors blight positive performance by Pulisic, Weah

RENTSCHLER FIELD, HARTFORD — The United States appeared well positioned to fight with a European power through 45 minutes, but the house of cards came crashing down after the break as the U.S. men’s national team succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to Germany in Hartford.

Presented with a chance to test themselves against a world-class opponent on home soil, the U.S. entered the break level as a Christian Pulisic stunner was cancelled out by Ilkay Gundogan’s poaching.

Yet after halftime, as Gio Reyna was withdrawn from his first start back under Gregg Berhalter to build his fitness, the U.S. midfield was overrun and the defense committed a multitude of errors to allow the Germans to gain full control of proceedings.

“It’s frustrating because its just little moments,” said U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner after the match. “Little moments made a big difference at the World Cup, and it’s kinda the same story here.”

The Sporting News reviews how each USMNT player performed across the 90 minutes.

MORE: Recap the 3-1 defeat for the USMNT against Germany in Hartford

USA player ratings vs Germany

USA starting lineup (4-3-3, right to left): 1. Turner (GK) — 19. Scally, 4. Richards (Carter-Vickers, 66′), 13. Ream, 2. Dest — 7. Reyna (de la Torre, 46′), 6. Musah, 8. McKennie (Cardoso, 75′) — 21. Weah (Aaronson, 66′), 20. Balogun (Pepi, 66′), 10. Pulisic (Paredes, 75′).

GK: Matt Turner — 8

The only goal Matt Turner conceded in the first half came on a play Turner initially saved, before being slammed home by Ilkay Gundogan as the rest of the U.S. defense just stood there and watched.

Turner made a host of excellent saves, and while Germany certainly didn’t dazzle in the finishing department, he was a critical part of the U.S. performance as the defense melted in front of him. The second half was overwhelming for the U.S. back line, and Turner had little answer for the waves of pressure, but he still made a number of good stops, particularly just after the break with the game still level.

A quality performance from the U.S. goalkeeper, although he could have done better to help marshal a totally scattered defensive line.

RB: Joe Scally — 6

Joe Scally was tidy in possession, and while he offered very little in the attack, that was largely by design as they didn’t need him on that right side with Tim Weah cooking.

Scally defended ok, and wasn’t guilty of any big mistakes, which is more than most of the other U.S. defenders can say. It wasn’t a standout performance by any means, and the whole back line has some soul searching to do, but others were far more culpable than the Borussia Monchengladbach man.

CB: Chris Richards — 4

Statistically, Chris Richards had a pretty good match, missing with just one pass of his 42 attempted and not being beaten at any point by any German attackers. Yet his lack of volume speaks… well, volumes.

Richards was off the pace for much of his 65 minutes, and failed to get involved as his teammates were beaten repeatedly on the dribble. It was Richards’ positioning that let him down, and he should have been more involved with the U.S. under siege in such an open match.

CB: Tim Ream — 5

Chris Richards often left Tim Ream on an island, and the 36-year-old just could not cope with the waves of German attackers.

The third German goal was emblematic of this lack of chemistry between the two U.S. center-backs: Richards stepped up to guard a free Niklas Fullkrug who got by Sergino Dest, and Ream was unaware as that left Leroy Sane free on goal himself. These two just didn’t have it, and Ream was powerless to pick up the slack.

LB: Sergino Dest — 4

If it were possible to give Sergino Dest two different scores, one for the attacking half and one for the defensive half, we’d do it, but that’s not how this works. Dest was lively up front as he combined with Christian Pulisic and worked very well on the ball. He got Mats Hummels booked on a counter-attack and delivered a few very quality crosses.

Dest was also guilty of some of the game’s worst defensive errors. He was completely non-existent as Leroy Sane blazed by him on the first Germany goal, and he nearly got his team in trouble again right before halftime by holding onto the ball too long after making an interception rather than just clearing it out of danger. Filling in for Antonee Robinson at left-back rather than his natural right, Germany targeted him on multiple occasions, to great profit.

He had a few good moments guarding Leroy Sane in the second half, but he was a top culprit for Germany’s second goal by playing Niklas Fullkrug onside. If the U.S. had profited more from his attacking presence the narrative around his performance might be different, but with the story of the match focused on the defensive errors, Dest is a guilty party.

CM: Yunus Musah — 6

Another player who did well in possession but struggled defensively, Yunus Musah dazzled at times on the ball but was beaten on the first Germany goal by whiffing with his slide.

Musah’s nutmeg of Florian Wirtz was a highlight moment of the match, and he was active on both ends of the pitch. Yet a few bad giveaways or defensive moments betrayed his usual stoutness in the middle of the pitch. Overall, the mistakes didn’t take away from his performance quite as much as Dest’s, but they were still concerning.

CM: Weston McKennie — 4

Other than a pair of critical blocks right before halftime, Weston McKennie was a mess through the first 45 minutes. He was constantly unsure of where he should be as Germany built forward with incisive pace, and he was one of many U.S. players caught unaware on the first-half Ilkay Gundogan goal.

McKennie didn’t put a first-half pass wrong, going 18/18 before the break and 28/30 overall, but his positioning was all wrong out of possession. McKennie was a sieve as the U.S. midfield was invisible defensively, leaving their defenders completely unshielded, particularly at the top of the penalty area.

It was only a matter of time before the floodgates opened, and that they did after halftime. McKennie was eventually withdrawn in what felt like one of Gregg Berhalter’s only tactical substitutions of the match.

CM: Gio Reyna — 7

In his first 45 minutes of international football under Gregg Berhalter since the World Cup fallout, Gio Reyna was his usual self, drawing the attention of German defenders and proving visionary with his passing. He combined with Folarin Balogun on a number of occasions on the counter, which is a link-up that U.S. fans have been begging for more of.

Reyna was only fit for 45 minutes of play here as he returns from a leg injury, but it’s no coincidence that Germany truly secured midfield dominance when he came off the field. A promising performance for the young playmaker who should head back to Borussia Dortmund after this international break with plenty of confidence moving forward.

RW: Tim Weah — 8

Though Germany carved the U.S. defense to pieces, their attacking threat remained strong, and almost all the danger came from the wings. While Christian Pulisic starred on the left, Tim Weah was equally devastating down the right, dazzling with electric pace and good link-up.

Weah’s biggest moment came when he scorched Robin Gosens on the wing in the first half, knocking it past the German defender and then beating him with blistering speed to get back on the ball. Weah’s statistical haul don’t quite do him justice, but he was a threat throughout his 66 minutes of action.

ST: Folarin Balogun — 7

U.S. fans are salivating for Folarin Balogun to get more touches up front, and as Gregg Berhalter foreshadowed pre-match, they made a clear attempt to do that. Gio Reyna and Tim Weah did the most of the work in that regard, 

LW: Christian Pulisic — 9

There’s no doubting who remains the most electric and incisive U.S. player is, as Christian Pulisic once again backed up his nickname of ‘Captain America’. The first half stunner was emblematic of his performance, but beyond that he constantly proved a threat to German’s out-of-position right-back Jonathan Tah.

Pulisic completed 27 of 29 passes, a tidy haul for a player of his attacking intent, and created two chances in addition to getting the goal. His corners remain awful, and it’s a wonder why he is still on duty for that role, but otherwise Pulisic was a menace.

Player ratings for USMNT substitutes vs Germany

45th min: Luca de la Torre — 5

Brought on to replace Gio Reyna at halftime, Luca de la Torre was unable to stem the German tide, despite being a more defensive-minded option than Reyna in what should have been a swap to shore up the midfield.

65th min: Cameron Carter-Vickers — 7

With Tim Ream and even Chris Richards struggling at various stages in this match, Cameron Carter-Vickers remains a top-tier center-back in this U.S. player pool and a clear starter when healthy. He came off the bench due to his recent hamstring troubles, but was stout in his 25 minutes of action.

The Celtic defender had 22 touches and gave away possession just two times, completing two dribbles and making two clearances. Carter-Vickers was not a target for Germany to attack nearly as much as the other three defenders on the pitch, a strong nod to his abilities.

65th min: Brenden Aaronson — 7

Probably the the U.S. substitute to make the biggest impact, Brenden Aaronson was bright in the attack, dazzling with his dribbling skills and helping usher the U.S. forward amidst a second-half onslaught from Germany. A good showing from the Union Berlin winger who needs confidence at the moment.

65th min: Ricardo Pepi — 5

It wasn’t an ideal situation for Ricardo Pepi to enter in, coming on with the U.S. shell-shocked from the quickfire Germany double. Still, he provided very little up front, with just eight touches in 24 minutes of action. He featured his usual pressing, and came close to scoring once on a messy chance that Germany just barely managed to clear, but otherwise he didn’t quite cause the opposing back line problems to open spaces up for teammates.

75th min: Johnny Cardoso — 6

Johnny Cardoso only had 15 minutes at the end to showcase his abilities, but it begged the question why he or Lennard Maloney weren’t the ones introduced at halftime instead of Luca de la Torre. Cardoso lost possession just once in his 10 touches and completed a tackle, although he was also dribbled past a few times as well.

75th min: Kevin Paredes — 5

With 10 touches in his 15 minutes of action towards the end of a mucked up game of numerous substitutions, Kevin Paredes didn’t stand out, losing possession four times and completing four passes. Tough to evaluate his time on the field, but he didn’t stand out.

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