Iran vs. United States 0-1: Player ratings after Pulisic’s goal puts the USMNT in the round of 16

Gareth Bale

Iran vs. United States: Christian Pulisic’s goal in the first half was the difference between Iran and the U.S., and Gregg Berhalter sealed a famous win to ensure that the U.S. will play in the knockout rounds at the 2022 World Cup.

In the first 15 minutes, the USMNT played much better than Iran. Yunus Musah’s quick runs from midfield caused some problems for the Iranian defense. During this time of pressure, the Valencia teenager’s volley from just outside the box over the crossbar was the best shot on goal.

In the 28th minute, Timothy Weah would get the game’s first real chance. Fortunately, the ball was deflected into the air and directly into Weah’s path inside the penalty area, but instead of waiting until the ball fell, he tried a goal-bound header. The next header was, to say the very least, not very exciting.

After a few minutes, Weah missed another chance to make it 1-0. Josh Sargent passed the ball to the LOSC Lille player on the right side of the penalty area, but he could only send his shot over the crossbar.

Christian Pulisic finally scored the goal in the 38th minute. Weston McKennie sent a great ball over the top, and Sergino Dest headed it back across the goal, letting Pulisic score with a cool volley.

USMNT thought they had made it 2-0 when Weah took advantage of a great through ball from McKennie to tap the ball past Alireza Beiranvand and into the back of the net as time expired in the first half. Replays showed, though, that Weah just went too soon.

At the start of the second half, Iran looked like a much better football team. Substitute Saman Ghoddos gave the USMNT defense much more trouble than Sardar Azmoun did in the first half. In the 52nd minute, the Brentford player almost tied the game when he dove to get his head on a dangerous cross from the right by Ramin Rezaeian. His headshot, on the other hand, went over the bar.

They kept pushing forward to score an equalizer, and in the 64th minute, they almost did. Once again, the chance fell to Ghoddos, but when a low cross found him alone in the penalty area, he couldn’t curl his shot between the posts.

After those two chances, the Americans defended well and only gave up one more chance before the end of the game. Morteza Pouraliganji got that chance, but he headed just wide after a good set piece from the left side.

Player grades for Iran (4-3-3)

GK: Alireza Beiranvand – 5/10 – Couldn’t change the goal in any way.

RB: Ramin Rezaeian (6/10): He didn’t do those in the first half, but in the second, he moved forward and caused trouble.

CB: Majid Hosseini – 6/10 – Made a few good challenges.

CB: Morteza Pouraliganji – 4/10 – Didn’t watch the runners coming from behind as well as he should have.

LB: Milad Mohammadi – 2/10 – I found it hard to deal with Dest’s runs that overlapped. Hooked before half-time.

CM: Ahmad Nourollahi – 4/10 – Couldn’t touch the ball in the middle of the field.

Saeid Ezatolahi: 3/10. He missed the game.

CM: Ehsan Haji Safi – 4/10 – The first half wasn’t great, but the second half was better.

RW: Ali Gholizadeh got a 6/10 because he made the US defense work hard in the second half.

ST: Sardar Azmoun – N/A – I forgot he was playing until he was taken off.

Medhi Taremi is Iran’s most willing runner-up for the top spot.

Substitutes: Iran’s top player, Saman Ghoddos, was a bit more exciting, but he also missed a few chances. His score was 6/10.

SUB: Ali Karimi – 5/10.

SUB: Mehdi Torabi – N/A.

SUB: Abolfazl Jalali – N/A.

SUB: Karim Ansarifard – N/A.

Player ratings in the United States (4-3-3)

Matt Turner got a 5/10 because he didn’t have much to do.

RB: Sergino Dest – 8/10 – Most skilled player on the field. Got a well-earned assist on the first goal.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, CB: 7/10 – The Celtic man did an excellent job on defense. Walker Zimmerman may have trouble getting back on this team.

CB: Tim Ream (7/10): He is solid, just like his partner at center-back.

Antonee Robinson, LB, got a 5/10 for being bad at defense in the second half.

CM: Weston McKennie – 7/10 – So much calmer than he usually is with the ball at Juventus. Some nice passes fooled Iran’s defense.

Tyler Adams is great both when he has the ball and when he doesn’t.

Yunus Musah gets a 7/10 for being a real livewire in the first few exchanges. He told the USMNT how to play.

Timothy Weah – 5/10 – Active, but missed a lot of chances and had a goal disallowed. He didn’t have a good night.

ST: Josh Sargent, 6 out of 10 – Do your best at the top.

Christian Pulisic, the star of the USMNT, scored the all-important first goal. He got a score of 7/10. But he hurt himself getting it.

Substitutes: SUB: Brenden Aaronson (4/10), who came on for Pulisic, didn’t play the ball nearly as well as Pulisic.

SUB: Kellyn Acosta – N/A.

Haji Wright – Not Applicable.

SUB: Shaq Moore – N/A.

SUB: Walker Zimmerman – N/A.

Sergino Dest was the best player in the game.