Sandy, Utah – The USMNT backed up their CONCACAF Nations League title with a confident victory over Costa Rica on Wednesday night. Four different goal scorers got on the sheet, all of them under the age of 23. Daryl Dike scored his first-ever goal for the USMNT, Brenden Aaronson got on the sheet, as did Reggie Cannon and Gio Reyna.
The USMNT was on the front foot from the get-go holding 64% possession on the night. They put five shots on target against a pretty strong Costa Rica side. They won their duels nearly 2:1 as well helping with that ball retention. All in all, it was a complete performance from the USMNT B-side with a sprinkle of starters.
Three Standout Performances from the USMNT
Musah’s exclusion from Nations League play and the opportunity to be capped was befuddling at times. But the teenager showed why the USMNT really want to keep him around with his performance in Sandy. He completed nearly 90% of his passes, won 15 duels, and even had a few key passes. He was an all-around good engine that works in that midfield three. Hopefully, we see him in a cap-tie situation at some point this year, because he really fits into what the USMNT wants to do in the middle of the park.
The Philly kid has just grown leaps and bounds since leaving MLS. When he left MLS for Salzburg he was a kid with a lot of potentials but often not influential enough at a consistent level. The talent was there, but at times he got lost. Not anymore. Aaronson bossed the final third tonight, taking on defenders at will and nearly creating goal-scoring chances for everyone else. He also has a great “late run” instinct to clean up “junk” inside the box, as was the case in point for the goal he scored tonight. All in all, Berhalter may need to figure out a way to get Aaronson into the group on a regular basis. He might be the USMNT’s best true no. 10.
Hopefully Reggie Cannon’s performance tonight gives him some confidence. It has to be hard to play in a relegation level team in Portugal and get off to such a poor start in your European career, to also see that Berhalter would rather go with DeAndre Yedlin than you at Right Back. Not that DeAndre Yedlin starting is a bad thing, but given the moves Cannon made and the type of trajectory he seemed to be on, it could be argued that 2020/2021 was a bit of a lateral step for Cannon. He played extremely well on the night though and may have just kept his name near the top of the Right-Back list. I was hoping for one of the fullbacks to play well enough tonight for me to have confidence in the Sergiño Dest left wing-back experiment. They either need Dest to be Right back or have someone competent enough at right-back so they can play him on the left. Cannon’s goal and assist tonight helped that case…it’s ok that Dest plays out on the left for a while.
What’s next for the USMNT?
The USMNT will open Group Play of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 11th against the winner of one of the Gold Cup play in rounds. All three group matches will be at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.
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