Player ratings as Bale rescues point on Dragons’ World Cup return

8 Min Read

Wales left it late to earn a point against the United States in their first World Cup finals match since 1958.

The Stars and Stripes dominated the Dragons in the first half, but the second-half introduction of Kieffer Moore changed the complexion of the evening and his contributions were vital towards clawing back a draw.

After a cagey opening, the USA twice came close to going in front after nine minutes. First, Joe Rodon’s powerful header towards his own net cannoned off goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, before Josh Sargent headed wide from a delicious Tim Weah cross seconds later.

36 minutes into a drab affair, the USA deservedly went in front through. A Wales goal kick came back the other way when Yunus Musah beat Ethan Ampadu to a loose ball and Christian Pulisic raced into the space vacated by an advancing Joe Rodon, slipping in Weah to poke past Hennessey.

Wales’ only real first-half foray saw Ben Davies head quite a fair way wide from a Harry Wilson corner as Rob Page’s side went into the break behind.

Moore replaced Dan James for the start of the second half and the Dragons immediately showed more aggression, with Matt Turner nearly dropping a corner onto Chris Mepham’s head from another corner.

Another header from Davies, this time following a Wilson free-kick foced Turner into his first save, while Moore’s effort from the following corner went just over the top as Wales up the ante.

With ten minutes remaining, Wales were awarded a penalty when Walker Zimmerman went through the back of Gareth Bale, and the LAFC forward smashed his spot kick into the top corner.

Substitute Brennan Johnson, whose quick thinking from a throw led to the penalty, brought a smart save out of Turner after lashing at shot him on the counter in the final minutes of normal time.

The match came to an end after over ten minutes of stoppage time, with the two sides now sitting in second and third heading into the second matchday. USA next face England, while Wales take on Iran.

Timothy Weah.

Weah opened the scoring / Richard Sellers/GettyImages

GK: Matt Turner – 6/10 – Didn’t have too much to do but still nearly made a meal of a corner. Made a couple of decent saves late on.

RB: Sergino Dest – 5/10 – Failed to contribute much at either end.

CB: Walker Zimmerman – 3/10 – Imperious for the most part until he slid right through Bale for no reason.

CB: Tim Ream – 6/10 – Excellent for the most part, though was booked for a rather cynical foul.

LB: Antonee Robinson – 6/10 – Galloped up and down the left flank with freedom.

DM: Tyler Adams – 6/10 – Dictated superbly in the first half but was a bit swamped in the second when Wales finally decided to start playing.

CM: Yunus Musah – 7/10 – His winger skillset came in handy, wriggling out of tight areas and progressing up the pitch.

CM: Weston McKennie – 7/10 – More often than not was the one to join Weah down the right flank as opposed to Dest. Brought great energy on and off the ball.

RW: Tim Weah – 7/10 – The source of the USA’s early creativity was rewarded with a goal. His Ballon d’Or winning father will have been proud with the finish.

CF: Josh Sargent – 6/10 – Dropped deep to drag Rodon out of position to great effect.

LW: Christian Pulisic – 7/10 – It wasn’t the best game he’ll ever play but Pulisic was the USA’s star player anyways, driving right at Wales time and time again.

SUB: Brenden Aaronson (66′ for McKennie) – 5/10

SUB: DeAndre Yedlin (74′ for Dest) – 5/10

SUB: Haji Wright (74′ for Sargent) – 4/10

SUB: Kellyn Acosta (74′ for Musah) – 4/10

Manager: Gregg Berhalter – 5/10 – The USMNT were great in the first half but Berhalter’s changes did little to help cope with Wales’ fightback.

Kieffer Moore

Moore was excellent / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

GK: Wayne Hennessey – 5/10 – Got the nod over Danny Ward and didn’t do a lot wrong.

CB: Chris Mepham – 7/10 – Wales’ best defender, notably keeping out Pulisic with an excellent slide tackle on the hour mark.

CB: Joe Rodon – 5/10 –
Punished for pushing up and trying to win possession for USA’s opener. Improved like most of his teammates after the break.

CB: Ben Davies – 6/10 – A bit sloppy in possession and looked leggy against the Americans’ pacy forwards.

RM: Connor Roberts – 5/10 – Gained confidence after Moore was brought on but still found it hard to be effective.

CM: Ethan Ampadu – 6/10 – Made some poor choices at the base of midfield, but tried extremely hard and defended well.

CM: Aaron Ramsey – 6/10 – Took no responsibility in the first 45, but stepped up a bit more when he had a focal point in Moore to play off of when moving forward.

CM: Harry Wilson – 6/10 – Drifted out to the wing at times to create overloads. His set piece delivery was exquisite.

LM: Neco Williams – 5/10 – Showed great endeavour to continually run at the USA, but his technical qualities didn’t match his physical ones.

CF: Gareth Bale – 7/10 – Anonymous in the first half but looked a lot more dangerous with Moore alongside him.

CF: Dan James – 3/10 – Bullied off the ball with ease in his 45 minutes on the pitch.

SUB: Kieffer Moore (46′ for James) – 8/10 – Wales’ best player and the catalyst by their improved second half. Caused the USA all sorts of problems.

SUB: Brennan Johnson (79′ for Williams) – 7/10

SUB: Sorba Thomas (90′ for Wilson) – N/A

SUB: Joe Morrell (90′ for Ampadu) – N/A
Manager: Rob Page – 6/10 – The decision not to play Moore from the start was called into question and Wales’ dreadful first half proved Page’s critics right. At least he actually got on the pitch.

Player of the Match – Kieffer Moore

Source link

Find Us on Socials

Share this Article
Leave a comment