Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gold Cup: US v Guadeloupe Player Ratings

Soccer is a funny game - the US won a must win game to advance to the knockout rounds while dominating possession and shots on goal (21 shots to 5).  It was an onslaught that could have turned out to be a 4 or 5 goal win.  However, because of the numerous missed scoring opportunities, the game was deemed only a mild improvement from the previous loss to Panama.  Personally, I'd rather save the goals for Jamaica and be content that all facets of our game looked better than vs Panama.  We were in all the right positions, but on this night, we just didn't finish.  Also, we avoided any yellow cards that would have suspended any of 5 starters, and we should be physically recuperated in time on 4 days rest for Sunday.

Tim Howard 6.5 - would've been probably been beaten on the early deflected (thanks Lichaj) shot attempt which hit the crossbeam.  Otherwise, he was again solid with little to do.

Steve Cherundolo 7.5 - very well could be our best player over the first 3 games, neutralizing all attackers while being a vital component of our right-sided attack.  His crosses were sharper this game as well.

Clarence Goodson 6 - more confident display.  there's very little question that he'll be starting here going forward.

Carlos Bocanegra 7.5 - I was right about him being back centrally - a great sense of relief for sure.  His command of the d-line made all the difference.

Eric Lichaj 7 - true to my prediction, Lichaj was started instead of Ream.  Though the righty seemed slightly uncomfortable crossing with his left, he was able to get forward and contributed in our attack much better than Boca.  I'm just glad Bradley has Lichaj in there instead of Bornstein.  If he keeps this up, 3 spots of the 4 on the d-line in Brazil 2014 could be spoken for: Lichaj-Ream-(Onyewu)?-Chandler.

Landon Donovan 6.5 - I can't help but wish that he would shoot more.  I've still yet to see him link up with our forwards the way he used to with Brian Ching.  However, he looks good on the right with Dolo and his set piece deliveries were again solid.

Jermaine Jones 7 - aggressive, physical, but not with cheap shots - I like JJ's bulldog attitude in the middle.  He seemed to be everywhere.  Avoided a yellow.

Michael Bradley 7 - much more involved early on this time and was crisp in his passing.  also assisted on Jozy's goal.  But mostly, I'm glad he avoided a yellow too.

Clint Dempsey 4.5 - seemed to have an off night.  He was going down a little too easy on many challenges and obviously missed quite a few shots on goal.  The 76th minute hesitation miss was maddening when he took too much time and too many touches right in front of an open goal.  That said, who cares, he's constantly in dangerous spots and I hope he's saving his goals for Jamaica.

Chris Wondolowski 4.5 - again kept hitting shots over the top of goal.  He seems to be in decent positions, but hasn't shown the finishing touch.  I'm still wondering why Bradley didn't call in a 4th forward since: guys like Rogers and Adu haven't even seen the bench, we're clearly playing a 4-4-2 (instead of 4-5-1) and Wondo and even Agudelo are unproven international players.

Jozy Altidore 7 - hit a wonder-strike game-winner in the 9th minute.  It was a very un-American goal, in that we usually get goals off set pieces or crosses, or scrums in the box, or by sliding them in on the ground off misdirections, etc.  No, his goal was an awesome blast from outside the box that seemed to be rising all the way into the back net, like CRonaldo's shots often do.  Beautiful.  That said, Jozy doesn't always seem to be on the same page as Donovan or Dempsey and they need work on connecting in the final third.  Also, he doesn't seem to be hustling for loose balls the way that he should.  But hey, 2 goals in 3 games after not scoring in a non-friendly since Sept of 2009 is a great sign, any way you look at it.


Alejandro Bedoya 7 - was dangerous on the left and assisted on Dempsey's mind-blowing miss.  I'm still not sure how Rogers and Adu was called into camp ahead of him, but I'm glad Bradley sees the light now.

Sasha Kljestan 6.0 - another solid sub performance in bolstering our attack from midfield.  I don't think I'd like to see him as a starter though.

Maurice Edu 5.0 - came in to make sure Bradley didn't get a yellow.  I was a little surprised that he didn't start instead of Jones but it appears that the coach made the right call.

Everyone needs to back off, we would've won our group had one of these two things had not happened: Panama not scored the 90th equalizer vs Canada, or if Ream hadn't inexplicably kicked the legs out from under Panama's Perez at the edge of the box.  No, we aren't playing our best right now, but in a short tournament like this, things can change in an instant.  2 more wins until the final!

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