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Michael Bradley heads strong class
by Ridge Mahoney, February 12th, 2009 7AM



[USA-MEXICO REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players and comments on their performance in Wednesday's 2-0 victory over Mexico ...


7 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 36/0
Two safe, confident saves in the first half highlighted a typically solid game.
6 Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew) 82/6
Ran relentlessly but not foolishly, won corners with deep runs and recovered loose balls through sheer desire.
7 Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege/BEL) 39/5
Powerful in the air, as usual, tackled cleanly and reacted quickly to win balls or trap opponents, hacked away a goalbound shot.
6 Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes/FRA) 63/10
Early flub could have been costly, but he recovered quickly with strong play and a nice ball out of the back on the second goal.
5 Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock/GER) 22/0
A bit shaky while pushed forward; few miscues while defending and handling a major test rather well.
6 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG)46/13
Not so dangerous on the ball, but worked smartly and hit a good shot on frame that was saved.
6 Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA) 14/3
Lack of necessary guile at the edge of the opponent's box didn't cloud a solid two-way array of positioning, timing and tackling.
8 Michael Bradley 26/5 (Borussia M'gladbach/GER)
Well-taken goals were highlights of a masterful game sprinkled with clever touches and first-time balls to maintain possession and connect teammates.
7 DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers/SCO) 82/17
Hit a great cross and precise corner kick to create a pair of excellent chances; also pressured opponents and slid inside intelligently; nearly ran onto a great Bradley through ball.
7 Landon Donovan (Bayern Munich/GER) 106/37
Shackled on the dribble by gang-tackling, yet still conjured up three clear chances with his head and feet.
6 Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo) 35/10
Ruggedly held his ground and kept his head under duress; occasionally drifted out wide to good effect.
6 Jozy Altidore (Xerez/SPAIN) 7/2
Set up second goal with turn and dribble just before getting nailed.
NR Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo) 18/1
Two giveaways weren't punished.
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high)


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