Ricardo Pepi and the United States men’s national team shook off a goal-shy first half as the FC Dallas teenager bagged two more goals in the USMNT’s 2-0 win over Jamaica in Austin, Texas, on Thursday.
And while the 18-year-old is going to get a lot of praise for leading the way in a home qualifying win — considered sacred and necessary in World Cup qualifying — there were many others who demanded attention.
[ MORE: Three things we learned, recap ]
Yunus Musah, Antonee Robinson, and Walker Zimmerman all impressed on a night without many, if any, passengers for Gregg Berhalter’s men.
The Yanks now have eight points from four qualifiers heading to Panama for a Sunday qualifier, returning home Wednesday to host Costa Rica.
[ MORE: USMNT World Cup qualifying schedule ]
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USMNT player ratings vs Jamaica
GK – Matt Turner: 7 – There when called upon. And will be there in Panama come Sunday.
LB – Antonee Robinson: 7 – Skinned once in the first half by Shamar Nicholson but carried the ball very well and kept Jamaica’s right side off kilter. Inch-perfect set up for Aaronson to find Pepi on the second goal.
CB – Walker Zimmerman: 8 – The passes aren’t always perfect but the mix of poise and aggression is on point. Reads the game like the veteran he is.
CB – Miles Robinson: 7 – No complaints.
RB – Sergino Dest : 7.5 – No, he’s not a defensive force but he made an incisive pass to find Yunus Musah before going to the right spot of the 18 to get the ball back and spin a pretty pass to Pepi on the first goal.
CM – Tyler Adams: 6.5 – Not one of his best games, but still steady.
CM – Weston McKennie: 6 – Just fine. Worked hard and showed a lot of what the U.S. was missing when he got himself sent home for breaking team rules.
LWB – Yunus Musah: 7.5 – A little casual early but think about what that says for the teenager’s confidence. So smooth with the ball and fluid in his movement. A possible crown jewel.
RW– Paul Arriola: 7 – Industrious and his burst behind the Jamaican line within 20 seconds of kickoff led to a foul and yellow card that should’ve had the game 11v10 for over 89 out of 90 minutes (barring another dismissal, of course).
LW– Brenden Aaronson : 7.5 – This might be controversial because of how many good spaces he got into but his desire to spin a ball into the upper 90 rather than lay off to a teammate for a better shot on 2-3 occasions has me idling just below 8.
CF– Ricardo Pepi (Off 68′): 9 – He is 18 years old and has three goals in two World Cup qualifiers, the two on Thursday coming as he proved a quiet first half didn’t shake him one bit.
Gyasi Zardes (On 68′): 5.5 — Missed not quite a sitter, but close to it.
Timothy Weah (On 68′): 6.5 — Fast, powerful, and confident.
Shaq Moore (On 77′): 6.5 — One really solid tackle early in his shift.
Luca de la Torre (On 77′): N/A
Kellyn Acosta (On 83′): N/A
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USMNT player ratings from win vs Jamaica: Pepi showcases finish (again) originally appeared on NBCSports.com