United States fail to perform on the Copa America big stage
The United States fell 4-0 to the top ranked team in the world on Tuesday night in Houston, and it wasn't much of a surprise.
The Americans were outclassed by their Argentine opponents all over the field, nearly from the opening whistle.
Lacking a clear plan on how to slow down Lionel Messi & Co., and with a number of players making simple mistakes, there was no way around a rout.
The player ratings reflect that difficult reality.
Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Brad Guzan, 4 -- At fault for the opening Argentina goal, when he failed to come off his line to challenge for a looping ball into the box. The saves he made were cancelled out by too many slow reactions. Can't be faulted on Messi's goal.
DF DeAndre Yedlin, 6 -- Provided some of the only danger the U.S. was able to create by combining up the flank.
DF Geoff Cameron, 6 -- As guilty as his teammates for giving Argentina an easy path to goal. Spent much of the night backpedaling with Argentina attackers running at him. Part of the failure on the opening goal.
DF John Brooks, 5.5 -- Forced to make errors for the first time in the tournament, giving the ball away in bad areas and stepping late on an offside trap. Slipped by Gonzalo Higuain for the third goal. Made important tackles and was otherwise competent.
DF Fabian Johnson, 5 -- Spent most of the evening uninvolved, but did make a few goal-saving defensive runs.
MF Gyasi Zardes, 7 -- Did more to give the U.S. a chance at a goal than anyone else on the field. Played a few promising passes that led to nothing at the feet of teammates. Tracked back to good effect.
MF Kyle Beckerman, 4 -- Simply unable to handle the pace of the game, struggling to keep up with Argentina. Misplayed several passes and turned the ball over. Subbed off at the 60-minute mark.
DF Michael Bradley, 3.5 -- Sloppy with the ball, turning over possession quite a bit across 90 minutes. Set piece service was poor.
DF Graham Zusi, 4.5 -- Provided industry, but little more. Failed to provide any meaningful service and conspired with the rest of the midfield to struggle with simple passes.
FW Clint Dempsey, 5 -- Limited in his influence by the lack of possession available to the Americans. Did little more than drop deep and attempt to connect a few passes.
FW Chris Wondolowski, 3 -- Isolated entirely because of Argentina's dominance of the ball. Turned the ball over and then committed the foul that set up Messi's free kick goal. A nonfactor in the attacking half.
MF Christian Pulisic, 4.5 -- Entered a game already lost and never got settled. Missed a chance to put a shot on target, something the U.S. failed to accomplish.
DF Steve Birnbaum, 3 -- Comported himself fairly well until a late turnover that led directly to Argentina's fourth goal.
MF Darlington Nagbe, NR -- Energetic, had a few decent touches in his 15 minutes on the field.
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.