USMNT vs Morocco final score: Three-star Yanks get another show from Turner
Christian Pulisic had an assist and won a penalty in the United States men’s national team’s impressive return to the pitch, a 3-0 defeat of Morocco in Cincinnati that showed glimpses of strength in all thirds of the pitch.
Brenden Aaronson, Timothy Weah, and Haji Wright scored the goals for Gregg Berhalter’s men, whose World Cup-bound opponent definitely tested the Yanks, especially early.
But Arsenal-bound keeper Matt Turner was better than his Sevilla-starting opposition in Yacine Bounou, making yet another claim toward the No. 1 spot currently occupied by Man City’s Zack Steffen.
The Yanks next host Uruguay on Sunday at 5pm ET, another sincere step up in competition, before beginning CONCACAF Nations League play on June 10 against Grenada.
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USMNT vs Morocco final score, stats
USMNT 3, Morocco 0
Scorers: Aaronson (26'), Weah (32'), Wright (pen 64')
Shot attempts: USMNT 11, Morocco 22
Shots on goal: USMNT 10, Morocco 8
Possession: USMNT 53, Morocco 47
Three things we learned from USMNT, Morocco
1. Attack, defending show differing results post-CONCACAF: There is a theory that the USMNT’s technically-advanced wingers and midfielders would fare better against better competition than they did in the foul-happy world of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying and there was also a question of whether the Yanks fullbacks and center backs would adapt to a rise in class from opposing attackers.
Well, the attack was very, very good, putting 10 of their first 11 shot attempts on target and twice beating a very good goalkeeper in Yacine Bounou. There was a clinical nature to the chances, as well, as Morocco actually manufactured double the attempts but without as much danger as the U.S.
The American defense held firm in keeping the clean sheet but goalkeeper Matt Turner deserves a lot of that credit and both Antonee Robinson and Reggie Cannon had shaky moments at fullback. Aaron Long had a brave early block to deny one Morocco goal -- or at least a dangerous chance -- but also had a few dicey moments.
2. Matt Turner keeps making his case: Regardless of whether you believe Zack Steffen is a better goalkeeper due to his superior foot skills or that Ethan Horvath is the most tested at a high level, there is not doubt that Matt Turner is a tremendous shot-stopper and an absolute gamer. Morocco might’ve had one or two first-half goals by the time the Yanks opened the scoring through Aaronson were it not for Arsenal-bound Turner.
3. Pulisic power: Surely there are some Christian Pulisic cynics who doubt that he can carry a top attack, either pointing to his uneven playing time at Chelsea or claiming that the way Pulisic exploits CONCACAF defenses isn’t going to carry the day at a World Cup. Well Morocco is definitely a World Cup team and Pulisic was going up against a good Wolves defender in Romain Saiss and a top keeper in Bounou. This was a good sign, and his coming off before full time makes it appear we’ll now get to measure the Chelsea man quite a bit against Uruguay.
Man of the Match: Christian Pulisic