The United States men's national team kicked off their summer with a convincing 3-0 victory over Morocco on Wednesday in an international friendly. Two goals in the first half put the Americans in full control before Gregg Berhalter's side added a third in the second half of what was an efficient attacking performance in Cincinnati.
New Leeds United man Brenden Aaronson scored the winner 26 minutes in thanks to an absolutely ridiculous first touch, turn and assist from Christian Pulisic. Take a look at this:
Timothy Weah added the second in the 32nd minute before Haji Wright scored from a penalty kick on his USMNT debut in the second half. The penalty looked like it would go to Pulisic before he handed the ball to Wright in a surprise move, with the well-traveled striker finishing calmly into the lower-left of the goal.
Facing a talented team that has also qualified for the 2022 World Cup, the U.S. managed to keep Morocco out of goal despite the African side producing a ton of chances and taking 22 shots. Matt Turner was sharp in goal with some key stops, while Morocco also missed a penalty in the second half.
Morocco had double the amount of shots that the U.S. had, but the Americans managed to put 10 of their 11 shots on frame. The U.S. finished with an expected goal total of 2.10, while Morocco finished at 2.07.
The U.S. now look ahead to Sunday's friendly against Uruguay before Nations League matches against Grenada and El Salvador.
USMNT player ratings
How did each player perform in this one? Here are our player ratings for the match for every starter, substitute and manager.
All ratings are out of 10, and the higher the number the better. A zero would be a first-minute red card. A 10 would be like a dominant hat trick.
(GK) Matt Turner
Confident when called upon, Turner ended up making eight saves. While most were easy ones for him, he shined under pressure. Turner also completed 40 percent of his long balls and was solid at retaining possession when he had the ball.
(DEF) Reggie Cannon
Didn't venture forward much but Cannon registered an assist the one time that he did. Cannon was asked to do something new for the national team by slotting into a back three and while he was shaky at times, it was a good performance that likely ups his chances at going to the World Cup at a deep position.
(DEF) Walker Zimmerman
It won't register as an assist but Zimmerman's ball over the top to setup Aaronson's goal was beautiful. He wasn't asked to be the aggressive center back in the middle of a back three and it helped him be better in possession than normal.
(DEF) Aaron Long
Right into the fire, Long was asked to essentially defend Achraf Hakimi due to how far up the pitch Robinson was and he got the job done. Long had a team high six clearances to add to an interception and a blocked shot.
(DEF) Antonee Robinson
Had a hard time getting on the ball and only attempted one cross in the first half. He was up against the tougher flank of Morocco's defense but not a performance that we've come to expect from Robinson.
(MID) Tyler Adams
Critical to the United States plan of pressuring the ball high and turning Morocco over. Adams was tidy as always with his passing and along with Long, shined the brightest on the defensive end.
(MID) Brenden Aaronson
⚽ 26' Wind him up and watch him go. Aaronson had another strong appearance. Came from deep to score a goal and almost assisted another with great interplay with Haji Wright in what is only their first camp together. Aaronson's soccer mind is next level and he has the energy to keep up with his thought process.
(MID) Yunus Musah
An okay performance where Musah was fine pressing but didn't look as comfortable on the left side of midfield as he usually is on the right. If Aaronson keeps up these performances in deeper positions, Musah could find himself on the bench.
(MID) Christian Pulisic
What awareness in the box from Pulisic to take an excellent first touch before waiting for the run from Aaronson for the opener. He also had a nice moment to give Wright the penalty he won. Pulisic became the fastest player to double digit goals and assists in only 49 caps.
(FWD) Tim Weah
⚽ 32' Shooters shoot. It's funny that Weah's least likely shot was the one that went in, but every time he got the ball, he knew that he was going to test the keeper. Putting all three shots on frame, Weah is becoming a winger who keepers fear in their box for the national team.
(FWD) Jesus Ferreira
In a big moment, it wasn't Ferreria's finest match. He was okay, ensuring that the attack kept ticking but wasn't able to get a shot on target.
| Robinson, '45|
His best moment involved losing the ball to Hakimi then tracking back to win it back without fouling, but that's exactly what you want to see from a defender. Everyone will make mistakes but Scally was able to recover and ensure it didn't end in a goal. Conceded a phantom penalty but not going to hold that against him.
| Zimmerman, '45|
Cool, calm, and collected. Carter-Vickers was caught out early for a lack of communication with Long but he made three clearances and two interceptions in his limited time. It was a good performance from him.
Luca de la Torre
| Adams, '66|
Playing in a deeper role than normal, de la Torre was fun in his limited minutes pinging the ball around the pitch. It's something that could prove to be useful to change the match if the United States are behind in the World Cup.
|Weston McKennie|| Aaronson, '75|| Great to see McKennie back to fitness and getting a good runout.|| N/A|
|Haji Wright|| Ferreira, '45|| ⚽ 64' A true nine, Wright was confident pointing to Aaronson for where he wanted the ball and testing the keeper when it was delivered. His penalty wasn't the best but that's alright. Pulisic won't be handing them off at the World Cup. || 7 |
|Malik Tillman||Pulisic, '65||Came in on the left wing and took some set plays for the team. It will be interesting to judge Tillman when he has more minutes under his belt but a promising start from him.||6|
| 6 |
Are we seeing a new Berhalter? He was conservative to get through qualifying but seemed like he loosened the reigns on Wednesday. It's a friendly so don't read too much into things but the initial game plan was spot on and it's clear that his methods on the training ground are working.