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Low grades for getting schooled
by Ridge Mahoney, June 4th, 2009 7AM



[COSTA RICA-USA REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players and comments on their performance in Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Costa Rica.


6 Tim Howard
(Everton/ENG) 39/0
Faultless on the first two goals, victimized by low shot to the near post for No. 3 after he saved a bouncing header at that spot in the first half, excellent save in the final minute on free kick bound for the top corner.
3 Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC) 3/1
Hung himself out to dry on second Costa Rican goal by overplaying the situation and then losing his man. He played two good balls up the flank and occasionally launched a cross, but let a ball roll right under his foot when played into space just didn't get the job done defensively despite winning a few tackles.
4 Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege/BEL) 41/5
Pressured too late on second goal but for the most part held his marks well and won balls on the ground and in the air. Drew penalty kick in stoppage time on throw-in after taking throws himself earlier in the match. Why?
4 Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes/FRA) 66/10
Lagged in closing down Pablo Herrera on third Costa Rican goal after bailing out the U.S. with solid tackles and clearances. Used his time on the ball in the second half to launch passes that static teammates failed to reach.
3 DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers/SCO) 86/17
Giveaway led to first Costa Rican goal and he was stranded on the third goal as well. Raced forward into space twice but teammates overhit their passes to him both times. Not summoned to take set plays when left-footed option had merit.
3 Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado) 64/0
Tried to stand up Alvaro Saborio on first goal and let him slip inside, caught out wide on second goal. Struggled to distribute effective passes against a confident opponent as U.S. chased and flailed in midfield until well into the second half.
4 Michael Bradley (Borussia M'gladbach/GER) 29/5
Failed to intervene on third Costa Rican goal when obviously laboring. Broke up plays and tried to find more of the ball, but often ran into roadblocks set up by Costa Rica's midfield, led by the excellent Nelson Burgos, who escaped him early in the second half to take a second crack at goal.
4 Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca/Mex) 5/0
He displayed poise and skill on a troublesome surface, but he's got to be tougher, as in the second minute when he could have tackled or fouled Alvaro Saborio to prevent the first goal after Beasley's attempted clearance struck him in the face. Good feet and balance are assets.
3 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 50/13
Rarely a factor either getting on the end of things or setting up chances for others. Tried to get the job done with grit and effort when craft and intuition were desperately needed. Like several teammates, just didn't look fit or sharp enough for the task at hand.
4 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles) 109/38
His penalty kick was about the only good strike he had all night on a set play and though effort and desire were present during the run of play his game was marred by crude touches and poor decisions. Two shots from distance went over the bar.
6 Jozy Altidore (Xerez/SPAIN) 10/6
Showed the rust of more than two months on the bench in Spain, yet drew fouls in opportune spots and played courageously and intelligently if not quite crisply enough. Touch failed him at critical moment when poised to shoot at the near post. Kept his cool while withstanding some very callous tackling.
4 Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA) 17/3
Linked up well with teammates on a few occasions without really threatening with a shot or serve.
5 Freddy Adu (Monaco/FRA) 13/1
Used his touches well and stepped up to curl a left-footed free kick over the bar, but needed to run at people with the ball closer to goal.
nr Charlie Davies (Hammarby/SWE) 6/1
Clashed with Junior Diaz shortly after coming into the match and threw himself into challenges.


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