Player rankings from U23 2-0 win over Mexico
Olympic qualification is three weeks away, and the U.S. U23 team wrapped up its latest camp with a 2-0 win against its Mexican counterparts on Wednesday night.
Goals came from Mix Diskerud and Juan Agudelo for the U.S., who begin the CONCACAF qualifying tournament on March 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.
It was a confident performance from Caleb Porter’s side, with the team appearing to have fully bought into his high tempo, attractive style of play. The U23 national team controlled the possession battle for long stretches of the match, before tiring a bit late in the second half but managed to keep a clean sheet.
Here are the player ratings for the U.S. U23s against Mexico (scale of 1-10):
GK Bill Hamid, 6.5 -- Only had one save to make, and did well to punch the volley clear. Wasn’t really tested aside from that, and commanded his back line well. Replaced at the half for Sean Johnson.
D Kofi Sarkodie, 5 -- Got caught out of position on a few occasions and was erratic going forward. Porter demands a lot from his outside backs, and tonight’s performance from Sarkodie was not up to snuff especially in the attacking third.
D Ike Opara, 6 -- It was a strong start for Opara, and his second half header nearly set up a Gyau goal. However, towards the end of the second half his positioning wasn’t as solid as he started to tire and Mexico began to boss the game.
D Perry Kitchen, 7 -- A limited player pool will likely force Kitchen into central defense, but he looked game for it, hardly putting a foot wrong all game, the clear standout along the back line.
D Zarek Valentin, 5.5 -- Mexico probably deserved a penalty when Valentin bounced a clearance off his own teammates, allowing Fabian to gain possession and run into the penalty area. The left back then put his hands up on his man in the box, but the referee bailed Valentin out by showing the Mexican attacker a yellow card for simulation.
MF Alfred Morales, 6 -- Morales was a star in the first half with a commanding presence in the center field - strong on the tackle, sharp on the pass. Then he fell off the cliff in the second half, and Mexico's midfield took control of the game.
MF Mix Diskerud, 8.5 -- A man of the match performance from Diskerud who finished the night with a goal and an assist. He was at the heart of almost everything positive the USA did all evening, and harried Mexico’s midfield.
MF Joe Corona, 5.5 -- Corona showed his class whenever he received the ball, but for a player of his stature and quality, he needed to be more assertive in the middle of the field.
F Freddy Adu, 7 -- Deployed on the right wing, Adu was dangerous whenever he touched the ball. His audacious shot was deflected in by Diskerud, and most importantly, he worked his tail off defensively.
F Juan Agudelo, 6 -- Put himself in good positions and combined pretty decently with the attack. Took his goal well, but did seem like he isn’t a good fit to play as the No. 9.
F Joe Gyau, 8.5 -- A couple of touches got away from him, but overall it was a stellar night for Gyau. His speed was too much for the Mexico defense, and they simply could not slow him down in the first half. Should have had an assist or two if the finishing had been better.
GK Sean Johnson, 5.5 -- Made a couple of nice reaction saves in his second half shift, but Johnson needed to hold onto the ball a bit better, as he bobbled a few easy catches.
F Teal Bunbury, 5 -- In need of a strong performance to help solidify his spot on the final qualifying roster, Bunbury was shaky at best, looking as though he was forcing the issue and unable to emulate Agudelo’s success earlier in the match.
F Tony Taylor, 4.5 -- It was not a night that Taylor will want to remember. His two shots were well off target, and he did not even bother to link up with Bunbury when they were both on the field. Perhaps his role did not highlight his skills, but Taylor has a massive hill to climb to make this squad.
F Dilly Duka, NA -- Duka had some decent touches in limited minutes, but it was a quiet cameo for the Columbus Crew attacker.
MF Amobi Okugo, NA -- Came on with only a few minutes remaining and didn’t do much of anything notable.