Pulisic earns 7/10 rating as defense struggles in 3-1 Germany loss

Oct 14, 2023, 02:58 PM ET

The U.S. men’s national team stumbled to a 3-1 friendly loss against Germany at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday.

Initially up 1-0 after a perfectly struck shot from Christian Pulisic in the 27th minute, the USMNT were at first threatening in the match that later swung in the favor of the visitors. Building off an equalizer from Ilkay Gündogan in the 39th minute, Germany began to take charge in the 2nd half with a rapid set of goals from Niclas Füllkrug (58th minute) and Jamal Musiala (61st minute).

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Comfortable with the lead, Germany maintained a majority of possession in the late stages of the friendly, eventually solidifying their resurgent 3-1 win by the final whistle.

Following the weekend’s result, the USMNT will close out the international break with a friendly against Ghana on Tuesday, while Germany will face Mexico on the same day.


The silver lining: The USMNT forced Germany to answer a number of questions in the first half. Playing with a higher block, and resilient when dealing with a press from the opposition, the U.S. were unafraid and proactive while they were chasing their first goal.

Fluid going forward with their possession, it was — at first — a promising start for the USMNT.

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Once they took the lead, the USMNT looked cautious and gave Germany too much space and time to create clear-cut opportunities. Coupled with occasionally losing possession in dangerous areas, Gregg Berhalter’s side became overwhelmed while failing to shut down an increasing number of shots against them.

Christian Pulisic was one of the few positive performances as the United States fell 3-1 to Germany in East Hartford. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Manager rating (1-10; 10 = best)

Gregg Berhalter, 4 — Credit should be given to Berhalter for his side’s energetic start to the game, but when protecting the lead, there appeared to be too much pragmatism from the team that didn’t step up through much-needed interventions. Lost between a desire to sit deep or go forward, Berhalter’s gameplan wasn’t much of a threat in the last 45 minutes.

Player ratings

GK Matt Turner, 6 — Were it not for a handful of crucial saves from Turner, Germany could have easily found more goals during the first half.

DF Joe Scally, 5 — Scally was inconsistent with his defensive interventions and also lost the ball far too many times.

DF Chris Richards, 5 — Could have done a better job with halting Germany’s efforts that led to their first two goals.

DF Tim Ream, 6 — Did well to win his duels, and also provided a highlight-worthy long pass, but was also partially at fault for not stopping two of Germany’s goals.

DF Sergiño Dest, 4 — The fullback was dangerous with his runs going forward, but was also defensively questionable and a liability by the second half.


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MF Gio Reyna, 7 — Back from injury, Reyna looked active with his distribution and did well to connect with the frontline. Still looking to gain match fitness, the 20-year-old was given just 45 minutes in the loss.

MF Yunus Musah, 5 — Decent going forward, and nearly had an assist, but didn’t provide the defensive coverage that was needed in the center of the pitch.

MF Weston McKennie, 6 — A vital distributor who did a little bit of everything in the USMNT’s promising start to the game. That said, he couldn’t build the best defensive partnership with Musah alongside him.

FW Tim Weah, 6 — Showcased his speed and was an occasional threat with his runs on the right flank.

FW Folarin Balogun, 6 — A few bright moments from the winger that set Pulisic up for the lone goal, but later became reserved as the game progressed.

FW Christian Pulisic, 7 — The lone goalscorer for the USMNT was a constant headache in the first half for Germany. The captain also did well to create key final third opportunities.

Substitutes (players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

MF Luca de la Torre, 5 — A quiet day at the office for the player who didn’t have the same impact as Reyna after subbing on for him at the half.

DF Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5 — Came in to replace Richards following Germany’s third goal but was not able to do much following that.

MF Brenden Aaronson, 5 — Was a bit of a spark in the midfield and yet couldn’t provide any creativity to create further chances.

FW Ricardo Pepi, 5 — Came in to replace Balogun up top but was unable to provide any danger to score any more for the USMNT.

MF Johnny Cardoso, — N/A

MF Kevin Paredes, — N/A


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