A unknown name to even his club’s fans, Antonee Robinson has seemed to cement his name as the first choice left-back during this rebuilding period for US Soccer.
Robinson started out oddly shaky on the left, not showing the confidence he has in recent friendlies. He had a mishit clearance in before the 10th minute that was quickly mopped up by his elder statesman Jon Brooks. According to Fox Sports, Douglas Costa was instructed by manager Tite to run at Robinson; the instructions worked as Costa blazed by the defender and crossed a splendid ball into Firmino’s path, who steered it past Zach Steffan. The Everton man picked up the Costa too tight, allowing for the Juve winger to create enough space with his impeccable speed.
Had little to do with the US getting a good spell of possession. Made a run on the attack where he was stuffed, but worked hard to win the ball back for his team. Had a one-on-one battle with Costa again where the Wigan Athletic loanee was nutmegged and outmuscled by the Brazilian. Not his best day at the office so far.
Started to shut down Costa by getting tight on him every time the Brazilian dropped back. Made a crucial 38th minute saved that was destined for the back of the net, but then cleared the ball poorly into Fabinho’s path for a Brazilian chance. Robinson seared down the left as Brooks broke through Brazil’s midfield right before the half. He showed a bit of skill to fake out two defenders and draw the foul which almost turned into a goal for the US.
Didn’t have too much to do early in the second half. Continued to body up on Douglas Costa in order to prevent his exploits. Showed more positional awareness as well, not overextending himself in attack to not get caught out by Brazil’s counter.
Robinson was called into action again with a couple of Brazil counters. The left-back had one particularly impressive stop when he matched Neymar’s speed to stop a one-on-one chance the Brazilian had with Steffan. Definitely grew into the game in the second half.
The full-back had very little to do as the game wore on. The result was already a foregone conclusion.
There was a certain calmness in confidence in Antonee Robinson in his last couple of starts that just seemed to evade him tonight against Brazil. The Everton man had a very poor start where his inexperience was ravaged by Costa and co. but there is credit to be given as he quickly got his head on straight and eventually grew into the game really well, gaining back some of that confidence he showed against France and Ireland before the World Cup.
Robinson certainly didn’t help his plea for that starting left-back spot as Dave Sarachan was reportedly already skeptical about the defender because of his youth and inexperience. On the other hand though, Robinson has the raw talent to become an excellent full-back for the US for years to come.
Sarachan will most likely continue to start Robinson, but he will need to learn at the pace of his own feet if he wants to stay in the interim coach’s good graces.