Home Sports USMNT’s Turner 8/10 as Pulisic and Balogun battle to 3-0 win

USMNT’s Turner 8/10 as Pulisic and Balogun battle to 3-0 win

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USMNT’s Turner 8/10 as Pulisic and Balogun battle to 3-0 win

ST. LOUIS — The United States men’s national team recorded a 3-0 victory over Uzbekistan in an international friendly match Saturday.

Tim Weah got the United States off to a dream start, scoring in the fourth minute after good work from Weston McKennie. Folarin Balogun almost doubled the United States’ advantage in the 16th minute, but could only get his header against the post.

The United States was unable to build on their early dominance as sloppy play in midfield and defense created good opportunities for the visitors. Eldor Shomurodov took advantage of two errors late in the first half – one from Tanner Tessmann and one from Tim Ream – but was denied each time by Matt Turner.

The second half saw more of the same from the United States, with plenty of possession but few clear-cut chances. Until substitute Ricardo Pepi finished off a series of hectic plays from Sergiño Dest and compatriot Brenden Aaronson to secure the match. Uzbekistan, without any more substitutes, lost a player after Khojakbar Alijonov was injured in the last 10 minutes. Christian Pulisic then converted a penalty in stoppage time for the third American goal.

Uzbekistan had a few chances through outside back Alijonov, but failed to get the vital touch to really threaten Turner in goal.

The United States will face Oman in St. Paul, Minn., in three days.

Manager’s rating (scale of 1 to 10)

Gregg Berhalter5 — In Berhalter’s first game back, his team played much of the game in a familiar style. There was plenty of possession and some clever approach work, but few quality chances, especially after Balogun hit the post.

Berhalter had some good results coming off his bench, notably through Aaronson and Pepi, and with Uzbekistan advancing, the match opened up to give the Americans vital extra space. That said, this score flattered the home side to an extent, and with better finishing Uzbekistan could have made the most of this match.

Granted, it’s only been five days of practice since Berhalter’s return, and on some of those days the team was far from complete, but the main takeaway will be that the U.S. didn’t was able to assert itself further after quickly taking the lead. Berhalter’s meeting to repair the relationship with Gio Reyna can’t happen soon enough.

Player Ratings (0-10; 10 = best; 5 = average)

GK Matt Turner, 8 — Spent long periods without having to touch the ball, but saved the U.S. twice thanks to saves from Shomurodov.

DF Antonée Robinson, 6 years old – Did what he could to connect with Pulisic and later Weah, but had to do better on those occasions when Khojiakbar Alijonov cut inside to strike at goal.

DF Tim Ream, 4 years old — The St. Louis native captained his hometown team, but reverted to his old-time All-American performances, with long stretches of solid play only to get some shocking freebies.

DF Chris Richards, 7 years old – Solid at the back, and used his speed to good effect in some transition opportunities for Uzbekistan.

DF Sergiño Dest, 7 – Was lively on the ball, although he conceded an unnecessary free kick in the first half. His crazy run in the 73rd minute almost resulted in a goal.

MF Weston McKennie 7 – McKennie remains an absolute force in the box and did well to attract four defenders then find Weah for the American goal.

Mr. F. Luca de la Torre, 6 years old — Unlucky to have to go out after a collision that left him with a bloody nose. Was neat with the ball, but lost a few midfield duels, including a sequence that led to Alijonov hitting the bar in the 23rd minute.

Mr. F. Yunus Musah, 6 years old – Made some of his trademark runs with the ball, but faded a bit in the second half.

FW Christian Pulisic, 5 – Was very aggressive in the attacking third, but struggled to beat opponents one-on-one. But not much final product that day, and his set deliveries were poor. Nothing to say about his penalty though.

FW Folarin Balogun 5 — Almost got on the scoreboard, only to hit the post with his head in the 16th minute. Yet he cut a frustrated figure, as his teammates struggled to win the ball back from him, although he showed some nifty footwork around the box. Took off after 45 minutes, which was the pre-match plan.

FW Tim Weah, 7 years old — Took his goal well and broke away several times on the wing. He just lacked a little precision in his center.

Substitutes (players introduced after 70 minutes receive no rating)

MF Tanneur Tessmann, 3 – He really struggled to get up to speed after replacing de la Torre, and his play didn’t improve after halftime.

FW Ricardo Pepi, 7 years old — Saw about the same amount of ball as Balogun, but when he had the chance, he finished with authority.

Master Brenden Aaronson, 6 years old – He brought his characteristic energy and his dismissal allowed Pepi to score the second American goal.

DF Mark McKenzie, 6 years old – Approached the ball with confidence and was efficient in his passing.

MF Malik Tillman, NR – He threaded the needle to find Pulisic late and won a penalty in second-half injury time.

DF Kristoffer Lund, NR — Originally from Denmark, he made his debut in the United States.

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