Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Gold Cup: US v Canada Player Ratings
The first team has finally won a game since last summer's timeless match vs Algeria. It was also only the 2nd time in the last 7 tries (games vs South Africa and Chile discounted because we didn't send our A team) that we secured a shut out. Seeing as we've been outscored 10 goals to 3 in our previous 6 games (discounting SA and Chile again) since the World Cup, a 2-0 win, even if against a weak Concacaf side, was long-awaited and extremely satisfying. It will be interesting to see how we score vs knockout round opponents who will be much tougher defensively.
The US midfield in particular dominated the game and continues to be our strength. Though the back four had never played together before, they seem to be our most solid combination now. And of course, whenever a forward scores, he's had a good game.
Howard 9 - kept a clean sheet, kept the new look defense well organized, had a few stunning saves in the last 20 min.
Cherundolo 6.5 - fleeced by Simpson's speed a few times early but shut him down later. Also provided width on right side attack.
Goodson 7 - surprisingly started over Gooch, he was effective in the air and solid defensively.
Ream 6.5 - still learning, but looks to be on track to be our CB starter for the next 6-8 years. We've got one 2014 defender spot down, 3 to go.
Bocanegra 7 - shut down left side, brought stability to the defense. He offered little offensively even when he got forward, but we expected that.
Donovan 7.5 - interesting that he was on the right and Clint on the left. but he was in his element operating in space, great ball to Jozy to setup goal. I still wish he took more shots.
Bradley 7.5 - commanded the center of the pitch, actually played ahead of Jones, was more effective in attack than normal. Unnecessary yellow card - he better reign in his emotions this tourney.
Jones 6.5 - finally looks to be a good complement to Bradley - but gave away possession in bad spots a few times. Our midfield should be set for the next few years. I wonder what will happen when Holden comes back. Will Bradley start Holden in Jones' place or try the 4-5-1 again (essentially dropping Agudelo)?
Dempsey 8.5 - Looked sharp all game, memorable "squirrel kick" goal attempt as he called it, and great left footed goal. His celebration needs some work though, haha.
Agudelo 6 - I liked that he took shots to try the keeper and did enough to earn more starts.
Altidore 8 - Great movement, held the ball up well, scored a strong goal and assisted on another. Even though the keeper was also at fault, a goal's a goal. It was only his 2nd score since last June for the US. Hopefully, this one really gets him going.
Wondolowksi 4 - never really got involved, can't remember shots taken.
Kljestan 5 - actually can't remember anything he did in the game.
Edu 6 - came in at the end and shored up our D. He now looks to be Michael and Jermaine's first backup for this cycle.
Onyewu - This situation is starting to remind me a little of Beasley, who after some leg injuries, never fully recovered his innate physical skills, and is now sadly on the outside of the national team looking in. I'm not sure if Gooch's issues are physical or if he's just lacking confidence right now, but his defending has been very shaky since his injury. He still has a chance to be our starter in 2014 alongside Ream if he can regain his mojo. I hope so, otherwise we'll be relying on 2 youngsters in the middle - Bocanegra, Goodson and DeMerit will probably all be too old.
Lichaj - Well, Bradley's decision to leave Spector and Bornstein off the game day 18 tells us that Lichaj is now the first choice backup at RB and LB. Good news to any US fan.
Bedoya - His inclusion in the 18 means that he's performed better in camp than Adu and Rogers, both of whom were called up before he was. Then again, Feilhaber would've probably been here instead if he were healthy so I guess its a moot point in the future.
Spector - I feel really bad for this guy. He's been a loyal and hardworking soldier for us for years but he just doesn't seem to fit into Bradley's plan. No minutes in the World Cup and not on the gameday roster now. I'm in agreement with Bradley though - I'm just not sure where he would play. I don't like him on the flank because of his lack of speed and our midfield is packed. How about CB? I wonder if he'd be better suited there?
Adu - Not in the 18, but perhaps he'll see some time in our last group game if we've wrapped up the group by then. Seems like Bradley called him in just to see where he is now.