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Winners & Losers

It's called soccer tonight! USMNT winners, losers & ratings as England tamed but World Cup hopes remain in the balance

01:25 GMT+4 26/11/2022
Christian Pulisic 2 USMNT England World Cup 2022
The U.S. men's national team impressed for large stretches as it earned a draw against England, but there could be a cost attached.

The Soccer vs Football derby was a lot closer than many expected. In fact, it was too close to separate either side.

The USMNT put in a much-improved performance compared to the 1-1 draw against Wales, often keeping England on the back foot via counter-attacks, but it wasn't quite enough to defeat the Three Lions in a scoreless draw on Friday.

Gregg Berhalter's men can feel proud about much of their performance, having created plenty of chances against a sluggish Three Lions team. England looked like a shell of itself after hammering Iran 6-2 in its opener.

It wasn't enough, though, and now there are more questions than answers. After Iran's win over Wales earlier in the day, the draw does little to help the U.S., which will still need to win its final game to advance to the knockout round.

Did the Stars and Stripes expend too much energy trying to make a statement against England? We'll see. World Cups are grueling, and the U.S. will now face what is essentially a round of 32 game against Iran with it all to play for.

Thankfully, there were no injuries or suspensions earned, but recovery will be key in the coming days. The optimist will say that the USMNT built momentum and confidence against the group favorites, but the pessimist will say that it may have done so at the expense of its own energy levels.

The Soccer vs Football debate wasn't decided on Friday night, even as Soccer earned respect from the Three Lions, but neither was Group B as it'll all go down to the wire for the USMNT.

  • Tyler Adams USMNT England World Cup 2022

    The Winners

    Tyler Adams

    You'll be able to put him here just about every game, but it bears repeating just how good he is.

    Adams looked nothing short of world class once again, routinely hounding England players all over the field. Crunching tackles, timely interceptions, second balls, you name it, Adams did it.

    Don't ever doubt his importance to this team. The captain sets the tone. As he goes the U.S. certainly follows.

    The McKennie-Dest connection

    We'll cheat and group these two together because so much of their game was intertwined on the right-hand side.

    The two Serie A stars, both playing on yellows, gave England's defense fits all game despite many calls to drop them ahead of the Iran clash.

    All night, the two of them pushed and pushed, with Dest not having any of the defensive lapses that defined his early USMNT days. And McKennie seemed fully fit as well, creating several big chances including one he should have scored early on.

    Most importantly of all, though, they avoided yellow cards, leaving them available for the next game should they be called upon. After this performance, how couldn't they be?

    Christian Pulisic

    Better, much better.

    This was Pulisic at his best. This wasn't the Chelsea supersub or the USMNT superstar that thinks he needs to do it all. No, this was a calm, measured Pulisic that picked his spots and picked them well.

    With Haji Wright and Tim Weah stretching England's defense, Pulisic ran in from a bit deeper, finding pockets of space to operate. He moved the ball well, took on defenders when he needed to and, overall, helped vary the U.S. attack. His set pieces, too, were much improved even if none ended up as goals.

    If the U.S. gets that Pulisic against Iran, it will be in a good spot.

  • Gio Reyna USMNT World Cup warm-up

    The Losers

    Fans of the other football

    It may have been the most-watched game in American soccer history as even the most casual observers tuned in to see their U.S. team take on an international giant on the biggest stage.

    And they'll have seen a 0-0 draw.

    The cultured fans will know what went into this. They'll know the performance, the tactics, the energy this took. Fans of the game elsewhere in the world will have been left impressed by the USMNT's game, having played right up there with the mighty England.

    It's not the USMNT's responsibility to go all out to entertain the public or score loads of goals against a team that doesn't give up many. But the non-soccer fan likely won't understand what just happened. What they'll see is a scoreless draw.

    Gio Reyna

    Two games, seven minutes. What's going on with Gio Reyna?

    He was left on the bench in the opener for what Berhalter called a "coach's decision". Reyna, meanwhile, says he's fit and 100 percent ready to play. So why isn't he playing?

    Weah and Pulisic are likely undroppable, sure, but this was a game that could have used a bit more Reyna. It could have used a dose of creativity and guile in the attack to chase that one goal the U.S. so desperately needed to make this all worth it.

    We'll get more answers about him in the coming days, but Reyna's absence is the story of the USMNT's World Cup run so far.

    England's World Cup record against the USMNT

    Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend. Why can't England beat the USMNT at a World Cup?

    The Three Lions entered this game with a 0-1-1 record and, once again, they failed to put the USMNT away. It's all purely coincidence, of course. Three teams in three entirely different generations with no similarity between them all.

    But it is a bit odd that England can't quite put away a team that has generally been inferior, especially on the big stage.

  • Sergino Dest USMNT England World Cup

    USMNT Ratings: Defense

    Matt Turner (7/10):

    Big save just before the half. Distribution, usually a negative held against him, was fantastic.

    Antonee Robinson (6/10):

    A solid performance on the left side. Got caught too high a few times, but nothing too bad.

    Walker Zimmerman (7/10):

    Recovered well enough from his mistake against Wales. One key block very early on.

    Tim Ream (7/10):

    Once again, rock solid. Imagine if the U.S. had him in the team this whole time!

    Sergino Dest (8/10):

    A menace down the right-hand side, combining with Weah and McKennie to terrorize that side of the field.

  • Yunus Musah USMNT England World Cup 2022

    Midfield

    Weston McKennie (8/10):

    A monster performance on the right. The USMNT's most dynamic player, but should have scored a goal or two.

    Tyler Adams (9/10):

    Crucial tackle on Bukayo Saka early in the second half was one of many highlights. A world-class performance in central midfield

    Yunus Musah (7/10):

    Started slow but settled into it once he got his nerves in order.

  • Christian Pulisic USMNT England World Cup 2022

    Attack

    Christian Pulisic (8/10):

    Was much better than against Wales. Picked his spots well and proved some doubters wrong.

    Haji Wright (6/10):

    Plenty of energy and effort, but not much quality. Had a good chance early on, though, that went wide.

    Tim Weah (6/10):

    Definitely held England's defenders accountable, but not quite as strong as he was in the opener.

  • Gregg Berhalter USMNT England World Cup 2022

    Subs & Manager

    Brenden Aaronson (6/10):

    Replaced McKennie to provide some energy and prevent the Juventus star from getting a yellow.

    Shaq Moore (N/A):

    One decent sequence on the right, but wasn't on long.

    Gio Reyna (N/A):

    Could he have played more? We'll see against Iran.

    Josh Sargent (N/A)

    Came on to replace Wright, who was totally spent.

    Gregg Berhalter (8/10):

    Got the tactics spot on, switching the system to more of a 4-4-2. USMNT had its chances to win it, but just couldn't find the goal it maybe deserved.