Considering how their final game of 2021 was shaping up, the best the U.S. national team could have hoped for was likely a one-goal win. It finally materialized in the last minute.
It took a slew of second-half changes by manager Gregg Berhalter, who picked the right substitutes to help deliver a landmark result: USA’s 17th win in 2021 – the most ever civilians.
It was fitting that these late additions combined for the decisive goal against a Bosnia-Herzegovina side reduced to 10 men and defending for a 0-0 result. New right-back Bryan Reynolds delivered the cross, Gyasi Zardes chased the ball into the box, Jonathan Gomez sent the shot on goal and Cole Bassett cleaned up the rebound (highlights below).
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âThey sparked a spark, they brought energy and we were around the ball a lot more and were able to call,â USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner said of the players coming off the bench. âGreat goal. You can take them any way you can get them.
Berhalter predicted it would be a tough game against Bosnia and Herzegovina’s third team, and the chances weren’t many. They fell further after a 40th minute red card sent the Bosnians into a shell. But the match still offered plenty of takeaways when it comes to the performance of individual players, many of whom hope they’ve done enough to earn another call-up in January (and preferably a second for World Cup qualifiers after the training camp).
USMNT player ratings against Bosnia and Herzegovina
Matt Turner (6.5): He was tested more often than expected in this game, mainly when the teams were 11v11. But he made every save easy even when they weren’t. His ninth shutout in 2021 (in 13 appearances) set the record for a calendar year previously held by Kasey Keller.
George Bello (5.5): The teenage left-back defended on the back foot for most of the night, but was effective in recovering. He was also not aggressive on offense and was rarely a threat.
Henri Kessler (6): The left center-back was busy and he offered a few key plays. He mostly played it safe and several of his defensive interventions were clearances and pokeaways, although he also had a few assists from behind.
Walker Zimmerman (6.5): A standard performance for the USMNT captain with timely defensive play, duel domination (only four of 15 losses by FotMob), aerial prowess (8 of 9 aerial wins), but only one offensive danger from a free kick.
Brooks Lennon (6): Made decent attacking contributions in the first half, attacking the right inner channel when he pushed up. He also returned to defense. But the same energy was not there to start the second half and he was substituted on the hour mark.
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Jonny Cardoso (5): He can float passes forward, but Cardoso (below) was never really able to help set the pace for the USMNT midfielder. Everything was slow, passes were rolled, balls were thrown and he was dispossessed on a few plays. There was no advantage to his game during his time on the pitch.
Cristian Roldan (5.5): Nothing to write home about for the Sounder, which didn’t make its typical performance energetic and ubiquitous. He didn’t really have an impact on the game, and his best moments came in the first half on combinations with club-mate Jordan Morris as they played on the same side of the pitch.
Kellyn Acosta (6): He was the most influential midfielder of the evening. Acosta grabbed the ball often and went out of his way to join the attack in the first half. He passed out in the second half, as did the rest of the squad despite the comeback of a man after Acosta’s red card.
Jordan Morris (6.5): With the midfielder struggling to create himself, Morris (below) was often the catalyst or target for American attacks in the first half. He was clear headed, his runs were strong, his crosses were dangerous and he was up against defenders. All that was missing was the goal, which almost fell on a diving header in the first half.
Jesus Ferreira (5): He was anonymous for long periods of time, his decision making and execution was not the best (73% on his passes) and several of his passes were irrelevant. He couldn’t find the match and he never found it. Outside of a dangerous run over the baseline, the wide attacking position didn’t seem to suit him.
Ricardo Pepi (5.5): The FC Dallas forward really didn’t leave a mark in his 62 minutes, but he was also hungry for service. The consensus is that he should have done better with his one big chance in the 15th minute, but it was harder to redirect than it looked.
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Bryan Reynolds (6): He had a few flashes during his half hour on the pitch and showed urgency at those times. The USMNT needed his straightforward approach as he sent a few crosses into the box, including the one that ultimately resulted in the goal.
Jackson Yueill (5): The game didn’t really go through him after he arrived. He did not have the opportunity to exercise much influence over the proceedings.
Gyasi ZardÃ¨s (5.5): He experienced the same general problems as Pepi. Thank you to him for never having given up the ball and for having won it in the box on the American goal.
Cade Cowell (5.5): It sounded like his international debut. He was caught off guard at one point and was too impatient from pass to pass. Against an opponent reduced to 10 men, we have never seen his speed in open space. Definitely needs more reps.
Cole Bassett (6): It was a quiet start for the promising young Rapids until the goal in the 89th minute, but he was notable for being aggressive and crushing the surface whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Jonathan Gomez (6): He certainly didn’t look wide-eyed when he first started out. Entered the game as a left-back, but was around the box to shoot on goal that Bassett put at home.