Player Ratings: U.S. 3, Nicaragua 0

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By JACK HAZZARD

US logoWith a 3-0 win over Nicaragua on Saturday night, the United States topped the CONCACAF Gold Cup’s Group B and will play a third-place team in the quarterfinals. Coach Bruce Arena will still not be overjoyed after Dom Dwyer and Joe Corona each missed penalty kicks, which could have made for a much easier night for the Americans.

Here are our player ratings:

Goalkeeper

Bill Hamid was challenged only once. Apart from a few corners and long shots, it was an easy night. Grade: B

Defenders

Graham Zusi had an up-and-down match. Poor decisions on defense led to unearned chances for the opposition but Zusi’s offense was stellar. The Sporting Kansas City player provided the pivotal assist on the third and final goal. Grade: B-

Matt Besler had a quiet night. With the U.S. dominating most of the match, Besler had few chances to shine. Good communication with Hamid and the rest of the defense helped insure a shutout. Grade: B

Matt Miazga was in the same boat as Besler. Nicaragua’s attack rarely was a threat. The Chelsea defender scored the third to give the U.S. first place in the group. Grade: B+

Jorge Villafaña was a ghost. Defensively, he floated into the middle and missed his mark wide. Apart from that, silence. Grade: C+

Midfielders

Alejandro Bedoya played like a captain . He brought life to the offense and helped direct his inexperienced teammate. Bedoya was active on both sides of the field and had two assists. Grade: A+

Dax McCarty was the anchor in the middle. He did nothing flashy but got the job done. Grade: B+

Kelyn Rowe was in full force Saturday night. The New England Revolution winger was a threat all night before being substituted, making strong runs and taking accurate the shots. Rowe was rewarded with his first international goal. Grade: A-

Chris Pontius had a quiet game. Proper defense and smart passing led to an adequate performance. The Philadelphia Union winger tried his luck with a bicycle kick in the first half ,but it went wide. Grade: B

Joe Corona scored the  first goal after dancing around the box and slotting the ball home with the help of a deflection. Corona was also given the chance to take the United States’ second penalty kick, but missed. Grade: B

Forward

Dom Dwyer spent most of the first half pressuring the opposition’s defense — nothing more. In the second half, he was dragged down and awarded a penalty, which he missed. Grade: B-

Substitutes

Paul Arriola subbed on early in the second half and offered a spark off the bench. His energy kept pressure on Nicaragua’s back line. Grade: C+

Jordan Morris provided another attacking option off the bench but was unable to do much besides taking a few knocks. Grade: C

Juan Agudelo came on to add more attack late in the game and nearly had a chance with his first touch, but didn’t have enough time to put a stamp on the game. Grade: C

Coach

Bruce Arena fielded yet another experimental side, making 11 changes. The U.S. dominated and should have won 5-0. Arena certainly will not be happy about the missed penalties. He is likely to add his A team veterans for the knockout stages, where each team is allowed to add six to their rosters. Grade: A-