In a summer that will be a proving ground for players who want to put themselves in the conversation for the United States' World Cup roster in 2018, a few seized their first opportunity in a friendly against rival Ghana.
Dom Dwyer, in his USA debut, Joe Corona, in his first cap in almost two years and MLS stars Dax McCarty and Kellyn Acosta stood out for the Stars and Stripes. Dwyer netted a goal in his debut, and could have had two more, in addition to delivering a key pass which set up the USA’s second goal. That second goal came on a free kick, taken well by Acosta, who buried a low shot just inside the far post.
Corona was active in helping to create chances and was involved in the build up to the first goal. McCarty was steady in possession.
It wasn’t all rosy for the USA. Jorge Villafana had an up and down game and limped off late and Bruce Arena’s substitutes largely struggled to make an impact similar to that of his starters.
But overall, it was a good start for many of these players as they look to stake a claim for larger roles this fall.
Here are Goal's player ratings from the Americans' win over Ghana
Brad Guzan (7) - While Gyan’s penalty wasn’t great, he still saved it. Beaten on by the forward's expertly-taken free kick in the second half. Overall a solid performance.
Jorge Villafana (5) - Got an accidental assist on Dwyer’s goal, though created it with an aggressive run. However, most of Ghana’s attacks came down his side. Conceded a penalty and should have been sent off and gave up the free kick which resulted in Asamoah Gyan’s opener for Ghana.
Matt Hedges (6) - Was solid for the most part in denying Ghana much in the way of opportunities despite a few chances on the flanks. Was effective in his short passing but his long balls left a bit to be desired.
Matt Besler (6.5) - Good outing for the center back and, like his partner, was solid and a little better with his passing.
Graham Zusi (6.5) - Had solid moments as and attacking right back, getting involved in the build up. Had a nice moment defensively, managing to deal with the dangerous David Accam while isolated.
Dax McCarty (8) - Confident on the ball, resetting possession and linking well with both Acosta and Corona. Incredibly, completed all but three passes on the evening and had seven recoveries.
Kellyn Acosta (7.5) - Sprayed quite a few good long passes into threatening positions. Wasn’t always the soundest defensively, but hit a solid free kick for the USA’s second goal. On the whole, much more good than bad.
Kelyn Rowe (6.5) - Not a bad debut for the Revolution man. His highlight will be winning the free kick just outside the area that Acosta buried for the USA’s second goal.
Paul Arriola (5.5) - Quiet outing for the Tijuana man. Did deliver a dangerous cross in the second half, but it was well dealt with.
Joe Corona (8) - Was active in his return after nearly two years away from the USA. Played a few key passes and his shot from distance was redirected by Villafana into the path of Dwyer for the USA’s first goal. Nearly had a goal of his own that was broken up by an excellent last minute tackle.
Dom Dwyer (8.5) - Was lively and was rewarded with a goal in his USA debut. Won a free kick and what should have been a red card on opposing keeper Richard Ofori. Also played Rowe in resulting in the free kick which got the side the second goal. Big night.
Gyasi Zardes (5) - Though he was not bad in possession, he did not stand out much after coming on the second half.
Alejandro Bedoya (5) - Had an excellent chance to score denied on a great stop by Ofori. Had a few successful short passes but otherwise did not do much.
Kenny Saief (5.5) - One of three USA debutantes. Completed 10 of 12 passes, including a pair of long balls to switch the point of attack.
Jordan Morris (5.5) - Was largely invisible after coming on but had one nice turn, leading to a run and cross, that should have resulted in an assist if not for a great stop by Ofori on Alejandro Bedoya.
Omar Gonzalez (NR) - Came on for a cameo after Villafana limped off late.