USMNT 1-0 El Salvador: Player ratings as Antonee Robinson delivers vital WCQ win

Chris Smith
The United States took another step closer to Qatar 2022.
The United States took another step closer to Qatar 2022. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Men's National Team took another huge step toward World Cup qualification with a 1-0 win over El Salvador on Thursday night.

Gregg Berhalter's side took control of the game from the first whistle and created the vast majority of meaningful openings.

However, an inspired performance from El Salvador goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez kept the USMNT at bay in the first half - the home side's cause was not helped by some wasteful finishing from FC Dallas striker Jesus Ferreira.

But the USMNT quickly turned frustration to joy in the seventh minute of the second half, with Antonee Robinson scoring his second goal of this qualification campaign to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Timothy Weah and Ferreira deserve huge credit, with the former making a driving run to disrupt the El Salvador defense before seeing his shot saved, and the latter heading the rebound to Robinson to finish.

From there, the United States kept on pushing but couldn't find a second goal, with Gonzalez continuing to pull off some heroic saves to keep El Salvador alive. Even so, Berhalter's side were too strong defensively and delivered a vital win that sees the USMNT move one step closer to World Cup qualification.

Here is how every USMNT player rated on Thursday night in Columbus.

USMNT player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Matt Turner (GK) - 5/10 - Didn't need to make a save and effectively acted as an extra outfield player.

Sergiño Dest (RB) - 7/10 -
Tidy with his passing and made some driving runs with the ball. Helped pin El Salvador back with his aggressively high positioning.

Walker Zimmerman (CB) - 6/10 -
A little sloppy with the ball at times but got through his defensive work well enough.

Chris Richards (CB) - 6/10 -
Like Zimmerman, did fine defensively. Nothing overly ambitious in his passing.

Antonee Robinson (LB) - 8/10 -
Had a strange night. Scored the winning goal and caused havoc as he pushed high into the El Salvador half. But also got caught way out of position for Alex Roldan's chance in the first half and hit the first man with his crosses far too many times. In the end, the positives far outweighed the negatives and Robinson enjoyed a strong second half.

2. Midfielders

McKennie was lively in Columbus.
McKennie was lively in Columbus. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Adams (CM) - 6/10 - Clean and tidy with the ball and made some important defensive interventions. Didn't offer too much in terms of attacking impetus.

Weston McKennie (CM) - 8/10 -
Dragged the USMNT through a lackluster first half with some powerful runs and big switches of play. Quieter in the second half, but his teammates helped him out. McKennie is in the form of his life right now.

Yunus Musah (CM) - 6/10 -
A slow first half was made up for by a more lively second half. Not vintage from Musah, but plenty of positive signs.

3. Forwards

Pulisic has enjoyed better nights for the USMNT.
Pulisic has enjoyed better nights for the USMNT. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Pulisic (LW) - 3/10 - Tried his best to make things happen and almost won a penalty in the first half. But looked rusty and short of confidence, running down too many dead ends to lose possession. Was the obvious choice to bring off just over an hour in.

Jesus Ferreira (ST) - 7/10 -
Should have helped himself to a couple of goals but was wasteful with his shooting. Still, did a good job of stretching El Salvador with his movement and provided the assist for Robinson's winner.

Timothy Weah (RW) - 8/10 -
Caused problems for El Salvador all night, running down defenders every time he got one-on-one. It was his devastating burst into the box that was the catalyst for Robinson's goal.

4. Substitutes

Brenden Aaronson (for Pulisic, 65 mins) - 5/10 - Didn't change the game too much but made a few driving runs and was energetic.

Gyasi Zardes (for Ferreira, 72 mins) - 4/10 -
His main involvement was putting a free header over the bar in the final five minutes. Got a good reception from the home crowd, though.

Jordan Morris (for Weah, 72 mins) - 5/10 -
Great to see Morris back in a USMNT shirt after so long out. Had a couple of decent touches.

Kellyn Acosta (for Musah, 88 mins
) - N/A - Didn't have the chance to get into the game.