Red, white and blue came out of the gates with intention, scoring five goals before the half hour mark. Stimulated by the team’s positive passes in the Salvadoran volley, Chris Mueller scored his first selection with a well-taken brace. The fun dried up a bit in the past half hour, but the Nats were rarely bothered by their opponents that night.
Bill Hamid (6,5) – The DC United keeper might as well have put his feet up and watched some fun pet videos for the first hour, but he did a light job of a few late saves.
Julian Araujo (7.5) – Until a miserable mistake from a back pass delivered the best chance of the night in El Salvador, Araujo looked a lot like someone who could push Reggie Cannon for years to come. The LA Galaxy right-back won top possession, released several runners down the flank and served up a delicious cross for Mueller’s second.
Aaron Long (6) – The Red Bulls defender had little to do in the American zone until the moments of decline, but still made a few important saves. However, he missed a few passes in the back, mistakes that could have cost the team against a better foe.
Mark McKenzie (7) – Although he was not severely tested, the Philly Union center-back was suitably unofficial in his defensive duties. To start, McKenzie’s beautiful breakout pass started the American move for the second goal.
Sam Vines (7,5) – Much like Araujo, Colorado’s left-back effectively steered their flank both ways. Vines’ clever pass sparked the first scramble for goal.
Jackson Yueill (7) – The San Jose midfielder offered a healthy dose of diagonal wing pings, as you would expect, and his assist on Mueller’s first was aces. Still, I can’t help but wish he was more present when the opponent tries to build from the middle.
Sébastien Lletget (8) – Yeah, he missed an easy task along the way, but it could be argued that Lletget was the best player on the pitch. The “old man” (in this group anyway) was a live thread in the bottom third for his entire shift. His shimmy shake assistant was just one of the few dangerous deliveries, and he just left El Salvador chasing the dust off his slightly deflected goal.
Brenden Aaronson (7,5) – It’s a little weird to say this about a guy who scored a goal and an assist, but Aaronson’s best contributions have actually been making attacking stances easier for others.
Paul Arriola (7,5) – The DC United winger looked as alive as he did before the knee injury, which is always a good sign. In addition to his usual work defending towards the transition, Arriola also registered a goal and an assist.
Come on Akinola (7.5) – While some observers openly worry about the state of the US striking team, I find it hard to worry much watching Akinola scold a catalog of defenders for 74 minutes. The impressive debutant bonded well at No.9, grabbed a goal and then maintained the attack virtually on his own when he was moved to a wide position. More please!
Chris Mueller (8) – The Orlando City ace was extremely quiet after the United States won their sixth, but who cares? Mueller helped shred visitors from different angles during the first half. After preparing for Arriola’s opener (awakening, official scorer!), The winger scored a coldly scored first goal before diving for home. He then generously missed a chance at a hat trick to play Akinola. Not bad for his first 27 minutes in a USMNT jersey.
Coach Gregg Berhalter (7.5) – I mean, what can you say? The roster was well built and his MLS boys got away with the game early to register a proper blowout.
Marco Farfan (6) – The young left-back played decently on his debut, but fell far short of Vines’ impact in construction.
Sébastien Soto (5) – It didn’t help that the team released the throttle just as Soto entered, but he was pretty much invisible during his half hour and change.
Kellyn Acosta (6.5) – The Colorado Rapids man was the only one who could move the team forward in the final quarter of an hour.
Djordje Mihailovic (5.5) – The midfield submarine was unable to move traffic in the right direction during its 16 minutes.
Kyle Duncan (6) – The Red Bulls right-back has acquitted himself fairly well in a short start.
Walker Zimmerman (-) – Just a cameo for the MLS Defender of the Year.