US Player Ratings: Christian Pulisic Leads Charge & Gregg Berhalter Receives Big Calls Right At World Cup

The United States men’s national team on Tuesday managed to beat Iran 1-0 in their last game of the group stage to advance to the last 16 of the World Cup. Christian Pulisic was the hero, and although he escaped injuredhe scored the only goal of the game as the Red-White-Blues now take on the Netherlands on Saturday and have a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

It was another positive performance for the USA, building on the draw with England to trump the talented Iranians. The Americans have come out of their group at their last three World Cups and four of the last five.

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Gregg Berhalter’s starting XI included all the players who play for European clubs. It was the first time in a World Cup game that no MLS player was selected since the league’s inception in 1996. Shaq Moore (for Timothy Weah), Walker Zimmerman (for Sergino Dest) and Kellyn Acosta (for Weston McKennie) were introduced in the second half and prevented a complete MLS shutout from that game.

But how did they all play? Here are our player reviews – and while you’re at it, sign up for our new newsletter covering the beautiful game in all its glory, including daily updates on the World Cup.

goalkeeper

Didn’t have to make a single save. Was a spectator mostly but did all the smart things like eating up the clock when he could. He was always ready for anything that came his way, but mostly it was nothing.

defender

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Sergino goal

USA • D

EVALUATION7.5

MINUTES PLAYED82

A heavy burden as is often the case in defence, but he must be credited for his fine header over the face of the goal to assist Pulisic’s winner. He continues to offer more going forward and this was his moment to take a big step forward with a great run.

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Cameron Carter-Vickers

USA•D•#20

The surprise starter at centre-back probably deserved more minutes with that performance. He didn’t commit a single foul, he played smart and although there were concerns about a late penalty he didn’t come close to actually committing one. A confident performance.

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He held his own well against Iran’s talented attackers, conceding a crucial ball after 20 minutes. He also looked strong in the air. Didn’t even have to make a tackle that night.

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Antonia Robinson

USA • D

EVALUATION7.5

MINUTES PLAYED90

He’s really developing into a young star on this team. The effort is always there, but he also played some good crosses that nobody could get at the other end. He won the ball nine times and always stayed calm when it mattered.

midfield player

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He’ll never impress you with his stats, despite winning all three tackles he attempted, but he’s exactly the kind of leader every team needs. He’s the captain this team needs, from asking Ream to slow down early on to wasting time in a small late-night confrontation.

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Pretty solid, but there was always a concern that he would give up the game with a bad pass. He failed to split the lines with his dribbles but the rush and heart were there to set the tone with those tackles and pressure.

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Weston McKennie

United States • M

EVALUATION6.5

MINUTES PLAYED65

Set up the first goal with a sensational pass to the back post and find a streaky Sergino Dest. It was the perfect pass. Got out early in the second half but it’s unclear if it was due to injury. It’s worth keeping an eye on.

Forward

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Josh Sargent

US • F • #24

Some decent hold-up games but little else. Was substituted off in the second half with an injury after stepping on the ball and looking like he had injured his ankle. Status for Saturday unclear.

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Christian Pulisic

United States • M

A nice early run on goal where he should have gone past but ended up losing it. Made it big late in the half with a strong touch in front of goal to give them the opener. Hospitalized with an abdominal injury that could jeopardize his status against the Dutch on Saturday. We will see.

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Timothy Weah

US • F • #21

EVALUATION5.5

MINUTES PLAYED82

A what-if night? Had a golden chance on a loose ball in the box in the first half and headed it straight at the keeper in a shocking miss. Then, minutes later, he wasted another good look inside the box. Had a goal recalled for offside. However, his runs were solid.

substitute

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Brenden Aaronson

United States • M

Kept the ball well in the second half but never had a chance to look dangerous in attack.

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Came in for McKennie and did just enough. Nothing flashy, but it was effective.

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Haji Wright

US • F • #19

Nothing offered. On a counterattack, he should have cornered the ball to lose time.

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Mistake after mistake after mistake, from not listening to his goalkeeper to let the ball go to returning straight to Iran with a sloppy pass.

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Walker Zimmerman

USA • D

Came in as a third central defender and headed the ball wide a couple of times.

Coach Gregg Berhalter

He deserves credit for scoring their second goal. The first was qualifying for the World Cup, the second was dropping out of the group. Everything that follows is just the icing on the cake. His substitutions didn’t go too well and injuries are a major concern, but they finished the group stage unbeaten and conceding just one goal. This is impressive. RATING: 7.5

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