USMNT vs. Honduras player grades: Kellyn Acosta, Weston McKennie star as USA takes big step toward World Cup qualification

The United States took a big step toward qualifying for the World Cup on Wednesday with a dominant 3-0 win over Honduras.

The opposition was poor, but the USMNT finally showed the ability to seize their chances and be clinical in the final third. Honduras was overwhelmed and had no answer at either end of the field.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter was criticized for some roster decisions before the game, including leaving Christian Pulisic on the bench and starting Luca de la Torre, but the decisions were vindicated by performance on the field.

PLUS: Minute-by-minute summary of the USMNT vs. Honduras

Sporting News rated the United States starters and alternates in victory.

Player ratings for USMNT starters vs. Honduras

GK Matt Turner: cold

This poor, poor man. Turner was not required at all in this game, and all he got for his efforts was a possible freeze.

DWalker Zimmerman (c): 8

Wearing the bracelet with Christian Pulisic on the bench, Zimmerman took a big step forward. He and Miles Robinson have a great understanding together, and the captain stood out between the two. He had a bad play with 19 minutes to go, getting outflanked to prompt a break from Honduras, but that was the only negative moment.

He passed in a 61 of 69 clip as the central figure in the build from behind, winning 3 of 5 aerial duels and 3 of 5 ground duels. As icing on the cake, Zimmerman found a goal and an assist to add to his solid defensive performance.

D Miles Robinson: 6

Robinson didn’t stand out as much as his partner in central defense, but he did deliver a consistent performance. Losing possession nine times is less than ideal for a centre-back in a possession-oriented team, but he wasn’t penalized for any real moments of danger.

D Antonee Robinson: 7

Robinson was the most involved fullback with 70-plus touches in the game, and he made it count. He made 2 of 4 crosses and made a couple of tackles as he fell back. A really solid two-way performance, given their work in attack and defense throughout the 90 minutes.

Cannon D Reggie: 7

Playing extremely high when the United States bunkered Honduras, Cannon meshed extremely well with Tim Weah, providing more of a supporting role than a pure attacking contribution. He didn’t hit any of his six crosses, but he was eventually there to back Weah up, and he did pretty well, as his right winger shone brightly.

CM Weston McKennie: 8

Especially given Kellyn Acosta’s performance behind Tyler Adams, it could be argued that McKennie is the most important and valuable player on Team USA right now. His link game between midfield and attack has become top-level material. He won 6 of 7 duels on the ground, including 4 of 5 dribbles.

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Also, McKennie’s stage presence is truly a weapon; his club, Juventus, will be the first to agree. Overall, McKennie has had a really solid international window, and his level of play will be absolutely critical not only to finishing qualification, but also to the team’s final 2022 World Cup result.

CM Kellyn Acosta: 9 (Man of the Match)

Forced out due to a hamstring injury to Adams, Acosta produced the best individual performance by a United States player in this international window.

His two-way game was spectacular. The step was cutting edge; he moved possession forward dangerously, changed courts when necessary and never hit a bad ball. He, too, was a defensive presence when called upon, although Honduras offered little in that regard.

More importantly, Acosta’s set pieces were impressive. Every ball was in a plate, and it worked with a full assist on McKennie’s first goal, as well as a close assist on Zimmerman’s second that bounced a bit before the end. He completed 6 of 13 crosses, a fantastic number, and many of them came from set pieces. Even those set pieces that didn’t result in a goal were beautiful. Christian Pulisic struggled a lot in this regard against Canada, but if Acosta is on the field, there is a clear leader in that department.

CM Luca de la Torre: 7

A really solid performance from the former Fulham youth squad in his first start in an American jersey. He completed 41 of 46 passes, and a couple of them were really groundbreaking, including a very late one that Pulisic missed completely.

His inclusion was one of the most questioned before the game, but de la Torre made his head coach proud.

Forward Tim Weah: 8

Weah was the most dangerous American attacker all night and a constant presence down the right flank in the final third. He only connected in 1 of 7 crosses and only won 2 of 9 duels from the field, but those numbers are deceiving because he appeared countless times in good attacking zones.

Along with McKennie, Weah had the best performance of three games in this international window, so it was fitting that the two combined well to nearly produce a goal.

F. W. Jordan Morris: 6

It wasn’t a pretty or brilliant performance for Morris in his first start back from his ACL injury, but in typical Morris fashion, he worked extremely hard and had a couple of good times combining with his teammates for the left. Morris is likely to be a Paul Arriola-style super backup for the rest of his USMNT career, but when needed, he can, and does, make a change.

ST Ricardo Pepi: 6

It was clear that Pepi wanted to get involved, and he was part of the attack more than Jesús Ferreira or Gyasi Zardes before him. Still, it wasn’t a clean performance from the youngster from Augsburg, and he missed a couple of half-chances. Although he is now on an 18-match scoreless streak for club and country, he is incredibly young and shows obvious talent. I wouldn’t be worried.

Player ratings for USMNT alternates vs. Honduras

FW Christian Pulisic: 7

Pulisic’s best performance in the international window came in a substitute appearance as the first man to come off the bench. He wasn’t exactly a focal point in his 26 minutes after entering the pitch (just 11 touches), but he did score a goal and almost got the second. Losing possession five times in that short amount of time is not a good representation of what he is capable of, but the goal will be a positive influence on his confidence.

ST Jesus Ferreira: 5

Nothing to see here. Literally. In 14 minutes, Ferreira did not have a single touch.

FW Brenden Aaronson: N/A

Seven touches in 14 minutes, Aaronson came in with the game dusted off, so he didn’t have much of a chance to make a difference.

FM Christian Roldan: N/A

He was able to run quite a bit in his six minutes spelling McKennie.

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