In the first match under Gregg Berhalter with the full squad available for selection, the United States found an unlikely goal against Ecuador in an encouraging, but somewhat frustrating, 1-0 victory Thursday in Orlando, Florida.
With a plan clearly in place through Berhalter's direction, the U.S. looked cohesive and prepared. The Americans dominated possession, controlling the ball and the pace of the game for the bulk of play. They were proactive and aggressive, pushing up against Ecuador's low block in a bid to break through.
With the South Americans unwilling (or unable) to venture forward, the United States largely lacked the final product necessary to create clear-cut chances. The lone goal of the evening can only be termed a fluke, but it did come from a player's willingness to take a shot -- something the U.S. lacked otherwise.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- The good of the night can mostly be chalked up to Berhalter installing a system and sending out his charges with a clear idea of how to execute that system. While the match was important as a measure of progress, it was still a friendly; that makes it difficult to judge Berhalter fairly with the limits of a noncompetitive environment and an opponent who refused to engaged.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Sean Johnson, 6 -- Asked to do very little but serve as a passing outlet at the back. Made zero saves on the night, passed the ball smartly as the Americans looked to build out of the back.
DF Tyler Adams, 8 -- Adapted seamlessly to the "flex" role created by Berhalter. Played a conservative first 15 minutes before proceeding to roam across the field. Excellent with the ball at his feet, excellent defending, absolutely tireless.
DF Aaron Long, 8 -- Among the best players on the field for the Americans. Strong in one-on-one defending when called upon, used speed to cover for space left by Adams roaming out of the right-back position.
DF John Brooks, 7 -- Made key passes from the back, aided in cutting out lines and advancing the Americans up the field in attack. Smart and clean with defending. Missed three passes all night.
DF Tim Ream, 6 -- Minus a late bobble that nearly gifted Ecuador a goal, played as a smart and effective stay-at-home left-back. Understood the role in a shifting line, with the caveat that a better team might have exploited a lack of foot speed.
MF Wil Trapp, 7 -- Pulled all the strings from a deep-lying position, playing smart passes over the course of 59 minutes. Dropped the ball over a packed-in defense when needed, benefited from defensive help in midfield.
MF Weston McKennie, 5 -- Forced off due to a silly challenge that ended with an injured ankle. Good in the air but otherwise too loose with the ball. Mobile and committed on the defensive side of the ball.
MF Christian Pulisic, 5 -- Playing with a high bar based on his importance to the attack, he was moderately effective, with a few moments of good play mixed with wastefulness and a tendency to give the ball away.
FW Paul Arriola, 5 -- Industrious up and down the left flank. Lacked the final ball to make that work count.
FW Jordan Morris, 4 -- His night was marked mostly by poor moments and indecisiveness. Lost his mark in abetting Ecuador's best chance, passed up numerous opportunities to take defenders on one-on-one from the right wing.
FW Gyasi Zardes, 5 -- Benefited from a deflection on the goal but made the moment happen. Limited as part of the attack. Had a few good touches.
MF Michael Bradley, 5 -- Benefited from the game slowing down and Ecuador being content to sit back. Not perfect with the ball, but clean enough.
MF Sebastian Lletget, N/R -- Added energy and aggression after entering. Was willing to check to the ball and add to the defensive pressure.
FW DeAndre Yedlin, N/R -- Stayed pinned to the touchline in a limited appearance higher up the field than usually deployed.
MF Cristian Roldan, N/R -- Missed several passes, largely because of a desire to play aggressively.
FW Jonathan Lewis, N/R -- Provided a few good moments going forward but wasn't much of a factor as a late substitute.