The US men’s national team made a celebration out of their final match of 2020 with a 6-0 rout of friendly guests El Salvador at Inter Miami CF Stadium on Wednesday night.
The red, white and blue came out of the gates with intent, ringing up five goals before the half-hour. Boosted by the team’s positive passing in the El Salvador end, Chris Mueller marked his first cap with a well-taken double. The fun dried up a bit over the final half-hour, but the Nats were rarely bothered by their opponents on this night.
Julian Araujo (7.5) — Until a wretched mistake of a back pass gifted El Salvador’s best chance of the night, Araujo looked a lot like someone who could push Reggie Cannon in the years to come. The LA Galaxy right back won possession high, released several runners down the flank and served a delicious cross for Mueller’s second.
Aaron Long (6) — The Red Bulls defender had next to nothing to do around the US area until the waning moments, but still managed a couple of important stops. However, he misfired a few passes out of the back, mistakes that might have cost the team against a better foe.
Mark McKenzie (7) — Though not severely tested, the hot Philly Union center back was suitably officious with his defensive tasks. To boot, McKenzie‘s fine splitting pass kicked off the US move for the second goal.
Jackson Yueill (7) — The San Jose midfielder offered a healthy dose of diagonal pings to the wings, as you’d expect, and his assist on Mueller’s first was aces. Still, I can’t help but wish he’d be more of a presence when the opponent is trying to build through the middle.
Sebastian Lletget (8) — Yeah, he missed an easy one along the way, but a case could be made that Lletget was the best player on the field. The “old man” (in this group anyway) was a live wire in the final third for his entire shift. His shimmy shake helper was but one of a handful of dangerous deliveries, and he simply left El Salvador chasing dust on his slightly deflected goal.
Brenden Aaronson (7.5) — It’s a bit odd to say this about a guy who notched a goal and an assist, but Aaronson‘s best contributions were actually in facilitating attack postures for others.
Paul Arriola (7.5) — The D.C. United winger looked as lively as he was before the knee injury, which is always a great sign. In addition to his usual yeoman’s defense-into-transition work, Arriola also chalked up a goal and an assist.
Ayo Akinola (7.5) — While some observers openly worry over the state of the US strike stable, I have a hard time fretting much while watching Akinola rumble around and through a catalog of defenders for 74 minutes. The impressive debutant linked well as the No. 9, grabbed himself a goal and then kept the attack chugging practically by himself when shifted to a wide position. More, please!
Chris Mueller (8) — The Orlando City ace was extremely quiet after the US bagged its sixth, but who cares? Mueller helped shred the visitors from a variety of angles in the first half. After setting up Arriola’s opener (wake up, official scorer!), the winger scored a coolly netted debut goal before diving to head home his brace. He then generously passed up a chance at a hat trick to tee up Akinola. Not bad for his first 27 minutes in a USMNT shirt.
Coach Gregg Berhalter (7.5) — I mean, what can you say? The lineup was well-constructed and his MLS boys ran away with the game early to register an appropriate blowout.
Marco Farfan (6) — The young left back played decently on his debut, but fell well short of Vines’ impact in the build.
Sebastian Soto (5) — It didn’t help that the team let up on the gas right about the time Soto entered, but he was pretty much invisible during his half-hour and change.
Kellyn Acosta (6.5) — The Colorado Rapids man was the only one able to move the team forward over the final quarter-hour.
Djordje Mihailovic (5.5) — The late midfield sub was unable to get traffic moving in the right direction in his 16 minutes.
Kyle Duncan (6) — The Red Bulls right back acquitted himself fairly well in a short debut.
Walker Zimmerman (-) — Just a cameo for the MLS Defender of the Year.