It may have been a meteoric rise, but now there's no doubt Christian Pulisic is a go-to player for the U.S. national team when it matters most. But Darlington Nagbe? For the Portland Timbers midfielder, Thursday was a breakout performance on the international stage.
Behind Pulisic's two-goal outing and Nagbe's playmaking prowess, the U.S. recorded a 2-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in Commerce City, Colorado. While those players stepped up to make the difference in the final third, the U.S. also can credit fine performances from the likes of DeAndre Yedlin, Geoff Cameron and Michael Bradley for the crucial three points in World Cup qualifying.
Here are Goal's player ratings from the Americans' win against Trinidad & Tobago:
GK TIM HOWARD, 6: Was caught in no man's land when Kenwyne Jones struck the crossbar but also stepped up with some solid reaction saves and ultimately kept the shutout.
D DEANDRE YEDLIN, 7: Offered an attacking presence down the right flank throughout the match. Won the ball in the buildup to Pulisic's strike, then followed through on the play and provided the final ball.
D GEOFF CAMERON, 6: Brought his usual defensive class to the table, making interventions thanks to savvy positioning and timing.
D JOHN BROOKS, 4: Made a couple key tackles but fell asleep and let Jones slip away on T&T's best opportunity of the night.
D JORGE VILLAFANA, 5: Consistently got forward and whipped in some dangerous crosses, including one Altidore nearly steered home. Did have a few questionable defensive moments, though.
M MICHAEL BRADLEY, 6: Could have moved the ball a bit quicker in the first half but still picked out some useful passes, including a brilliant switch to Villafana. Offered admirable work rate on the defensive side, growing stronger as the game wore on.
M DARLINGTON NAGBE, 7: Won a game-high eight duels and was the driving force behind Pulisic's strike, carving out danger on the dribble and combining well with Dempsey. Kept T&T scrambling with his ability to change speeds in possession.
M FABIAN JOHNSON, 5: Found a bit of success creating danger when tucked inside and was solid enough defensively.
M CHRISTIAN PULISIC, 8: Came alive in the second half after drifting in and out of the game before the break. Put his finishing instincts on display on the opener before completing his brace with an incisive run.
F CLINT DEMPSEY, 5: Just missed from distance early but looked sluggish for long stretches. That said, his quick combination with Nagbe did lead to the opening tally.
F JOZY ALTIDORE, 6: Did well to provide an option in the box, though the final product wasn't there. Picked out Pulisic with a brilliant one-time through ball for the second goal.
M KELLYN ACOSTA, 6: Added stability in central midfield, nearly scoring off a well-struck free kick.
M ALEJANDRO BEDOYA, 4: Came on to help close out the game, picking up a yellow card for a rough tackle.
F BOBBY WOOD, 6: Made a late cameo and threatened immediately, striking the post.