Christian Pulisic returns, Bobby Wood struggles as U.S. beaten handily by England
In the penultimate game of 2018 -- and the penultimate game for interim head coach Dave Sarachan -- the United States fell to England 3-0 at Wembley Stadium in London. The game was marked by a decided gap in quality between the two teams and another disjointed performance by a USMNT still in the middle of a transition.
Beyond the simple fact that the United States were able to get a significant number of their young players on the field against England, a second-half improvement in a comprehensive defeat stands out as the biggest positive for the Americans. Among the individual performances, few performances can be called encouraging.
For all the improvement in the second stanza, the Americans were flatly abysmal in the first 45 minutes. England exploited large gaps between the American lines and rarely looked pressured when on the ball. When the U.S. were able to grab a bit of possession in the second half, the final pass was lacking or crosses missed their mark.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- Sarachan decided against starting Tyler Adams because of the young midfielder's recent workload, alleviating the blame he should get for that choice. But the American approach in the first half, sitting deep and inviting pressure from England's speedy attack, put the US down two goals before half-time and ensured there would be no way back for his team.
Pushing Weston McKennie higher up the field and allowing the Americans to apply more pressure on the ball helped in the second half, though some of that was down to England pulling back with a two-goal lead.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Brad Guzan, 4 -- Hung out to dry on all three of England's goals. Struggled with distribution, giving away one pass that ended up as a chance in the first half.
DF Jorge Villafana, 3 -- Pinned back for most of the day, but still struggled to keep up with England runners in the space behind him. Made little mark on the attacking end of the field.
DF John Brooks, 4 -- Part of a central defense that lost track of England runners throughout the match. Passed competently when on the ball. The better of the two center-backs.
DF Matt Miazga, 3 -- Guilty of several poor turnovers that led to England attacks. Suckered into playing several poor passes from the back that gifted England possession. A step slow for most of the evening.
DF DeAndre Yedlin, 4 -- Exploited space in behind England's defense in the second half to good effect. Unable to find his teammates with crosses, missing on all three attempts.
MF Wil Trapp, 3 -- Unable to slow down England's passing in the midfield. He managed a smaller number of passes than needed from a player in his position. Showed good bite with a tackle that led to a U.S. attack.
MF Weston McKennie, 6 -- Left in England's dust as the home side played easily through the midfield, especially in the first half. Improved in the second half as the Americans pressed higher up the field.
MF Tim Weah, 4 -- Isolated, especially in the first half. Caught in possession on the touchline more than once and failed to arrive in attacking areas at the right times to aid in forays forward.
MF Julian Green, 4 -- Provided the best of the American attackers in the poor first half. Limited in ability to influence the game with the U.S. on the back foot for most of his time on the field.
MF Christian Pulisic, 5 -- His game brightened in the second half with the Americans pushing higher. Lacked a final touch and failed to find teammates making runs into the box. Struggled defending.
FW Bobby Wood, 3 -- Duffed the few opportunities to shoot that he had in a game in which those opportunities were extremely limited. Slow with his decision-making when trying to bring teammates into the play.
MF Tyler Adams, N/R -- Added legs and life to the midfield in just less than half an hour.
MF Kellyn Acosta, N/R -- Didn't miss a pass during a run out that coincided with England scoring a third goal.
MF Kenny Saief, N/R -- Had a handful of touches in 15 minutes or so, connected one key pass during his appearance.
MF Sebastian Lletget, N/R -- Popped up in the box with an opportunity to create a chance for the U.S. that ultimately went wanting.
DF Shaquell Moore, N/R -- Made a single defensive intervention during a short substitute appearance.