Kelyn Rowe did not have a United States senior cap to his name a month ago, but he may well have played himself into Bruce Arena’s plans for this fall.
In his second start of the Gold Cup, Rowe was among the better performers for the U.S. in a 3-0 victory over Nicaragua that saw the host nation take first place in Group B and avoid a quarterfinal date with Costa Rica. Rowe's outing was his second strong one in a Gold Cup that has been lacking them for the U.S as he managed his first-ever senior goal for the national team.
While Rowe’s play today was very good, his teammate Alejandro Bedoya made a statement as to why he deserves to remain in the national team conversation. The midfielder put in a hard-working effort and was rewarded with a pair of assists in the victory.
And with the U.S. needing a goal late, Matt Miazga, in his first senior start, was the one to step up. For a player who was on the fringe of the player pool a month ago, that goal could be instrumental to his chances this fall.
Here are Goal’s full player ratings from the American’s victory over Nicaragua in Cleveland:
GK Bill Hamid, 6.5: In his first game in two and a half years, Hamid was calm and collected between the sticks. Was tested a few times, and may have saved his back line by scrambling to get on top of a rebound off a hard shot in the second half.
D Jorge Villafana, 5: A few nervy moments on the ball, and not as many good moments going forward as normal. Wasn’t put under too much pressure in an okay performance.
D Matt Belser, 6: With Nicaragua rarely threatening, Besler did not have much to do. Was solid the few times he was called upon.
D Matt Miazga, 7: In his first senior start, was largely steady at the back, though not put under a lot of pressure. His big moment came on his expertly-timed run and excellent headed finish off a set piece to get the U.S. third goal and send the side top of the group.
D Graham Zusi, 6: Again very shaky defensively, with some giveaways that would have been punished by a better side. But contributed well offensively with a good run in the first half and then delivering the set piece which Miazga finished to give the U.S. the group.
M Dax McCarty, 5: McCarty's passing was solid as usual, but he struggled at times on the ball. One first half turnover could have resulted in a goal and he lost possession a few other times. A decent outing but likely would have been punished against a better team.
M Alejandro Bedoya, 7.5: Was active in pressing and on the ball, popping up in the right places. He delivered a good low cross to set up Corona in the first half. Bedoya later created a turnover and found Rowe for the U.S. second. Man of the match for his side.
M Joe Corona, 6.5: One the hardest workers on the night and deserves credit for the composure shown on his goal, even if it took a fortunate deflection. Could have had an excellent game, but put his second-half penalty right at the keeper.
M Chris Pontius, 6: Workman like shift, challenging in the air and trying to create from out wide. While he did set up Dwyer’s penalty, he did not contribute a great deal on the offensive end.
M Kelyn Rowe, 7: Was active and involved and one of the few U.S. players willing to try things. Was rewarded for his efforts with a goal on an excellent first touch and cheeky finish with the outside of his boot.
F Dom Dwyer, 5.5: Hard to fault his effort tonight as he ran hard and got into the right channels, but the final touch was lacking. Perhaps summed up best by his second-half sequence of winning a penalty and hitting it decently enough, but having it saved anyway.
M Paul Arriola, 5: Came on as a second half substitute and had a few decent moments on the ball. Overall did not make too much of an impact.
F Jordan Morris, 4: Showed hustle upon entering, but did not do much else after his two-goal outing against Martinique.
F Juan Agudelo, 5.5: Was largely anonymous after coming on until winning a key free kick and red card to put the U.S. a man up. The free kick was turned into a goal by Zusi and Miazga.