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Keeping up with young Americans in Europe: USMNT

Keeping up with young Americans in Europe: USMNT November Camp player ratings and more

November 16, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
If you have been following the keeping up with young Americans in Europe, you know this is going to be a fun edition. Let’s look back at what Gregg Berhalter’s European-based USMNT roster produced during November Camp against Wales and Panama.

U.S. Soccer announced the U.S. Men's National Team roster for November Camp on Election Day (Nov. 3) ahead of its two friendlies against Wales and Panama. 

Head coach Gregg Berhalter's complied with Major League Soccer franchises by not picking players from the league, simultaneously allowing him to experiment with young American talent predominantly from European top leagues. As a result, the initial roster was made up of 23 players who compete in European leagues and one from Brasileirao Serie A club Internacional, averaging 21 years and 300 days of age. 

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The only change from the initial roster was LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lleget for Werder Bremen's Josh Sargent, who was withdrawn due to quarantine regulations. The 28-year-old is the only player from an MLS team, given that the Galaxy did not make the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

Of the 24 players called up, nine play for teams that are competing in the UEFA Champions League. and it is something Berhalter holds valuable. 

"I'm a firm believer in the measure of talent in any given country is based on how many players they have playing in the Champions League, so I think it's really important that we get those numbers up," Berhalter told U.S. Soccer.

Internacional's Johnny Cardoso was the first player to land in Cardiff on Nov. 7 followed by Lleget later that day. By Nov. 10, all 22 Europe-based players joined the other two on the practice grounds to prepare for their game against Wales on Thursday, Nov. 12, at Liberty Stadium in Swansea.

Thursday's game against Wales saw Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna and Valencia's Yunus Musah make their USMNT debut. Also, Berhalter appointed goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

The U.S. faced Wales, a team that came into the match in a run of good form since the start of the UEFA Nations League in September. Wales manager Ryan Giggs' led the team to three wins, one loss and one draw in his past five games.

Like the Berhalter, Giggs summoned a young starting lineup that proved to be a challenge against the U.S. The Americans looked good in possession and frustrated the Welch with a dominant performance. However, their accuracy in front of goal was poor, shooting seven times and hitting the target once. The players manifested their skill and potential as a unit, showing glimmers of hope for the future of the USMNT.

Things changed for the better today, Monday, Nov. 16, when the U.S. defeated CONCACAF rivals Panama 6-2. The same team that robbed the USMNT of a ticket to Russia in 2018 struck in the opening 10 minutes, but the Americans were quick to respond with three goals in an eight-minute window. The U.S. missed a penalty and then conceded a goal, leaving a one-goal difference with 10 minutes to play. However, the substitutes were clutch and scored three more goals in the last eight minutes of the game to seal it.

USMNT player ratings:

Zack Steffen – 8.4

Despite not facing too much action in both games, Steffen denied Wales from opening the scoring in the second half. The save proved to be the most pivotal play of the game.

The 25-year-old proved to be an effective leader and important when needed. It was a shame that two of the three shots on target he faced against Panama ended up in the back of the net.

Sergiño Dest – 8.4

Barcelona's Sergiño Dest put up a good show up the right wing on Thursday, overlapping Reyna whenever he had the chance. And on many occasions, the 20-year-old launched probing crosses into the box. Also, he played a full 90 minutes and helped keep a clean sheet.

On Monday, Berhalter switched Dest to his natural left-back position when he again got involved going forward whenever he had the chance. By playing on the left, he got to link up with forward Ulysses Llanez and midfielder Yunus Musah.

Matt Miazga – 8.2

Center back Matt Miazga's good form with his new club Anderlecht carried on to camp. Being the fourth oldest player in the roster, Miazga arrived at Cardiff with the task to defend and lead during games and he did so beside veteran teammates John Brooks and Steffen. On Thursday, the 25-year-old helped the U.S. kept a clean sheet and on Monday, he dished out an assist to forward Nicholas Gioacchini. However, he could have done better in Panama's second goal., which was a reason why he was subbed-off along with fatigue. 

Tyler Adams – 8.3

Center midfielder Tyler Adams played a key role for Belharter's side in both games. Adams suffered a slight injury during training weeks back with RB Leipzig and did not make his return until Wednesday, Nov. 4, during a UEFA Champions League meeting against PSG as a substitute. Despite starting both games on Thursday and Monday, the 21-year-old did not play the entirety of the two matches. The reasons for him coming off on both games could be to keep him healthy or to give other players a chance. Anyway, he was important in both matches, and he will continue to be a key part of Berhalter's project.

Gio Reyna – 8.6

Reyna made his long-awaited debut with the USMNT on Thursday when he started on the left wing against Wales. He displayed an energetic and technical performance against Wales. However, he did not score until Monday, when he tied the game against Panama in the 18th minute from a free-kick.

If you have been following Reyna's trajectory through Borussia Dortmund, then you know that he is capable of doing even more for the U.S. Keep an eye out for the 18-year-old in the future and make sure to keep up with his progress at the club level.

Antonee Robinson – 7.5

Left-back Antonee Robinson helped the U.S. keep a clean sheet against Wales, but his performance was fairly average. He was caught out of position a couple of times, including Wales' biggest chance in the second half. Berhalter chose to keep him on the bench for the entirety of the second game.

Weston McKennie – 9.2

Midfielder Weston McKennie proved to be the USMNT's engine, playing the entirety of the two games. The 22-year-old was sound defensively and offensively, getting involved in some big plays at both ends of the pitch. His leadership is felt more than anyone else's, and it will not be long until he is wearing the captain's armband again.

Nicholas Gioacchini – 8.7

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a Jamaican mother and an Italian father, Gioacchini is eligible to play for three international teams. However, the 20-year-old decided to take his talents to November Camp when he received the call.

The forward arrived at Wales after scoring a game-winning goal for Ligue 2 side SM Caen on Nov. 7 as a substitute in the last 10 minutes of the game. Unfortunately, Gioacchini failed to replicate his heroic performance when he was subbed-on to play the last 10 minutes of the game against Wales. Nonetheless, he earned his first start for the game against Panama where he scored his first and second goals in his international career. He could have reached a 9.0 rating if he would not have missed the penalty for the hattrick.

Konrad de la Fuente – 7.3

The Miami native had a quiet USMNT debut against Wales. Berhalter started him on the left-wing, but he did not play a single minute against Panama.

Richy Ledezma – 9.0

PSV Eindhoven's Richy Ledezma had a dream-like debut against Panama on Monday afternoon. The midfielder was brought onto the field at minute 68 for Reyna and gave had an outrageous 20 minutes of playing time. The 20-year-old provided two assists from perfect crosses to forward Sebastian Soto in the last ten minutes of the game to secure the win. Ledezma had a magical touch and looked like a master of his craft.

Owen Otasowie – 7.0

Wolverhampton's Under-21 prospect Owen Otasowie played the last three minutes of the match against Wales. He was an unused substitute in the second match.

Chris Richards – 7.2

Twenty-year-old Bayern Munich center-back Chris Richards played the last 10 minutes of the game against Panama. He came in for Miazga, who looked exhausted and seemed to be at fault for Panama's second goal. As relief pitchers do in baseball, Richards coped with the pressure and high intensity of the game to keep Panama at two goals by the end of the game.

Johnny Cardozo – 7.9

Cardoso appeared in both games as a substitute for Adams. The 19-year-old came into the game against Wales in the 71st minute and put up a solid performance that helped the U.S. to a 0-0 draw. And against Panama, he came on during a difficult period where the Panamanians held control of the game. Anyhow, Cardoso endured a tricky game in the middle of the park and his performance was solid.

Yunus Musah – 8.6

You can tell Musah is a top player just by the way he moves with the ball at his feet. He covers a lot of ground like McKennie and Adams and fits in that line of three like bread and butter. Berhalter made sure to give the 17-year-old a lot of time in the field with hopes to secure him in the future, starting him on both occasions. Grant Wahl could not have put it in better words.

Sebastian Soto – 9.0

Ledezma and Soto were the golden boys that relieved the USMNT from a rocky second half. Like mentioned before, the 20-year-old scored two of Ledezma's crosses to close-out the game on a positive note. Standing at six feet tall, Soto showed that he can become an aerial threat if needed.

Reggie Cannon – 8.4

Right-back Reggie Cannon only played three minutes against Wales, but he displayed a memorable performance on Monday in Austria. The 22-year-old played a full-90, where he balanced his offensive and defensive actions in a productive way. Besides, the FC Dallas Academy graduate dished-out an assist to Sebastian Lleget against Panama. He made himself useful on both sides of the pitch and left a better impression than Robinson.

Uly Llanez – 7.6

Forward Uly Llanez played a total of 80 minutes across both games, starting against Panama and being subbed on against Wales. The 19-year-old had a solid shot on target against Wales and was a part of the USMNT's lovely performance in the first half against Panama.

Tim Weah – 7.3

Forward Tim Weah did not get a start during November Camp, but he did feature in both matches. On Thursday, the 20-year-old played the last 10 minutes of the game, and On Monday, he played approximately 30 minutes. He seemed to be on par with his teammates and looked dangerous in a couple of instances. 

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