Thursday, June 1, 2017

US U-20 v New Zealand Player Ratings

It was another happy day for the US Under-20 national team, who patiently took apart the Kiwis to book a quarterfinal date with NYCFC's Yangel Herrera and Venezuela.


Jonathan Klinsmann (6.5) - Again, the US goalie faced little in the way of shots, but he displayed good area awareness on a couple of tricky crosses.

Justen Glad (7.5) - While Josh Sargent got official credit for the opening goal, it really was the handiwork of Glad, who corralled a loose high ball and put it on goal through a crowd. The Real Salt Lake man eventually got his deserved tally with a fine header. On top of all that, he kept things very quiet in his area while being played out of position at right back.

Erik Palmer-Brown (7) - The Sporting KC man was notably loose on one second half mark, but other than that, it was business as usual at the back for the skipper.

Tommy Redding (6.5) - While he didn't have as much mop-up work as his partner, Redding was strong on clearances when needed.

Danny Acosta (6) - The RSL left back spent much of the first half menacingly forcing play down his side on the dribble. Of course, he also was caught up a few times after the break, putting his teammates under some stress.

Eryk Williamson (7.5) - It doesn't always come off the great effect, but once again Williamson's direct play forced the opposing defense to answer questions. His lob assist on Brooks Lennon's goal was delicious.

Tyler Adams (7.5) - The team's Energizer Bunny covers so much ground and sticks his nose into so many plays, you can't help but love him.

Brooks Lennon (7.5) - As in a couple of previous outings at this tourney, Lennon often left us wanting more when he got into dangerous positions. And then... he broke loose to score a strong US third before adding a solid restart assist on Glad's goal.

Luca De La Torre (7) - It was not a showy display from the Fulham attacker, but he did all the little things very well. De La Torre also added a corner kick assist in the late going.

Josh Sargent (8.5) - For a moment, let's look past the "oopsie" goal that earned him a share of the U U-20 record for World Cup goals and his easily overlooked assist on Jeremy Ebobisse's cracker. And I've already talked about his fantastic finishing, his beguiling runs and his impressive hold-up work. Now, let's tip our caps to the kid's terrific situational/spacial awareness and his body positioning. He always knows where the opponents are, where his teammates are, when to turn, when to pass, when to eat space on the dribble, when to slow things down and how to shield off defenders while doing all of it. It's easy to close your eyes and imagine him running game with Pulisic, Altidore and Johnson before too terribly long.

Jeremy Ebobisse (7.5) - With a couple of notable exceptions, the Portland striker provided some strong hold-up play. And then he got the U-20 monkey off his back with a nasty turn-and-fire goal to start building the US cushion.

Coach Tab Ramos (8.5) - Now on his third go-around in charge at a U-20 World Cup, Ramos has taken a fair amount (in both senses of the adjective) of heat for his selections. On this day, however, he probably did his best job ever at catering the line-up and game plan to the opponent. His team kept New Zealand's crosses to a minimum, defended set pieces well and wasted little time pushing the attack forward, all of which resulted in a lopsided win one could have seen coming from his choices. I did dock his grade a half-point for waiting a little to long for my liking to make rest-giving subs, and for failing to get Sargent a breather after the US went up by three.

Auston Trusty (7) - After making a terrific move into the box to win a corner, he dabbed the resulting serve right into the net. Trusty sure was excited to get on the field.

Sebastian Saucedo (6) - A solid cameo.

Lagos Kunga (7) - Score a very well-worked capper, get a nice mark. That's how I roll when we stroll.

- Greg Seltzer


Unknown said...

Any possibility that Sargent might see a Gold Cup invite?

dwc414141 said...

There has to be a chance. However, there are so many forwards that are deserving a call-up (for non WCQ match) he may have to wait a bit.

Greg Seltzer said...

You took the words right out of my brain, dwc. Was just about to type something quite similar.

DaMa said...

Any chance Glad sticks at right back for Venezuela? I know he doesn't have the speed you would want to do it and Venezuela isn't NZ, but I feel like the defensive gulf between he and Herrera might be so wide it would be worth it.

I totally agree on Sargent. His hold up play is so much better than I expected simply because of how well he reads the game. I continue to be blown away by him within 18 yards. He forces keepers to make saves on half chances makes me keep wanting to check if he is Argentinian. Does Argentina make hair that color?

WRT the gold cup... doesn't he need to be an option for 2018? If you ask me who is better right now, him or Jordan Morris it would be no question for me. I probably would have the same answer if it was Bobby Wood. That may not make him an automatic starter in a year cause Jozy is a beast, but if we are playing the 4-4-2 would he be your choice at withdrawn if Clint was hurt? I think if my life was on the line he would be.

If the question is "can he play" not "is he old enough." then I kind of feel like he has to be at the Gold Cup. Pulisic is our best midfield attacker and has graded himself out of the U-20s by the age of 18. Is Sargent any different?

Patrick said...

Pulisic is the same age but has shown he can play, and dominate, against adult professionals. Sargent looks great, but this is still U-20. Let's let the kid turn pro (he isn't even a pro yet!), get some time against full adult professionals, and then call him in. He will still only be 19 ;-)

I didn't see the hold up play against Ecuador that Greg saw; but certainly in all the games since, Sargent has been great in that regard. It is going to be important as Venezuela has an excellent midfield press. I apologize to Greg for doubting him.

The only quibble I have with the rankings is that I can't see FabJo and Altidore in the set up post 2018. I see Sargent running with Wood, Pulisic, and Perez/Nagbe/Gooch/Arriola; maybe even Lennon.

Lennon doesn't seem to impress people and many think him slow. I actually think his acceleration is not world class which is why he is called slow. So it takes him longer to get to top speed; but I do think that top speed is fast enough. He is rarely caught when he gets the ball in space and can run on to it (like today's 3rd). Trying to beat a defender with a dribble from a stand still is just something he can't do and he try to do it less as he gets experience and rely more on his great runs and superior crossing.

Glad might not be fast enough, but he is generally correct positionally. Herrera might be faster (but no Yedlin), but is usually so far out of position as to make it impossible to recover. I'd much rather see Glad against Venezuela.

Patrick said...

'97-'01 looks like a tremendous pool of talent; probably the best ever. This is following '89-'94, which is probably the worst since Pele played for the Cosmos. It is no mistake that the USMNT roster for the upcoming WCQs is filled with 28-38 year olds and quite a few under-23s, there was nobody to push them out. You can see this with the failure to qualify for the Olympics the last two cycles at the same time the U-20s have been excelling. Of course, excelling with possibly their 2-3 of their best players not with them (probably 3-6 players that are not in Korea would start against Venezuela if they were).


Another coach might have selected and started:


Unknown said...

I know there is next to zero chance of him getting a look. I just would like to see him against non youth players. Its one thing to score against other youth players. Goalies and defenders normally take time to learn their craft. I hope he flourishes in Germany and makes his way into the next WC cycle.

Unknown said...

Yeah he looks great but u20 wc is not the highest level of play. Plenty of guys more deserving for the full team right now