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Ricardo Clark shines in midfield
by Ridge Mahoney, June 8th, 2009 7AM

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[USA-HONDURAS REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players and comments on their performance in Saturday's 2-1 win over  Honduras in Chicago.

USA-HONDURAS [2-1]
U.S. PLAYER RATINGS
GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G

Starters
6 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 39/0
Goal skipped past him from medium-distance but it was crushed. Only moderately tested by Honduran shots on goal, but twice raced off his line to kick clear very dangerous through balls just outside the penalty area, and boldly dived into a tangle of players to block a shot in the final minutes.
6 Jonathan Spector (West Ham/ENG) 13/1
Very good ranging forward to support the attack, got deep enough to hit crosses from the byline as well as midfield. Drilled a low cross that Honduran keeper Valladares parried at full stretch. Left his corner exposed on two occasions yet still applied pressure on the ball as it was crossed.
7 Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege/BEL) 42/5
Dominant in the air defensively during the run of play and on set pieces, and launched promising attacks with thoughtful and well-flighted balls out of the back line. Served up a great ball that Jozy Altidore could only nick with his foot when well-placed to score after hitting long pass that yielded a handball and penalty kick.
7 Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes/FRA) 67/11
Like Onyewu, tackled and tracked ruggedly, outfought opponents in the air, and played intelligent balls when given some time and space. Pounced on a Clint Dempsey knockdown in a crowded goalmouth to head a ball just a yard off the ground into the net for the winning goal.
5 Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA) 15/1

Floated an excellent, inswinging cross on ball Landon Donovan retrieved, and pushed forward just enough to keep Honduras watching out for him. Defensively, lost out on a few physical duels and wasn't always decisive enough when shifting into the middle. Cramped up at the end and vacated left-back duties for DaMarcus Beasley.
4 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 51/13
Soared high to knock down corner kick that Bocanegra nodded in for winning goal, and set up Spector on right flank with nifty backheel. On the minus side, careless giveaway led to Honduran goal, and he somehow knocked a great chance square from just a few yards away. Gave plenty of workrate and effort in the attacking half, chipped in a few vital defensive plays.
7 Ricardo Clark (Houston) 19/1
Won a penalty that wasn't given with a remarkable run up the right flank, cleared away a loose ball from underneath the U.S. crossbar, and twice more thwarted Honduras with make-or-break tackles. Maintained an intense yet controlled energy level for one of his best showings with the national team.
5 Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado) 65/0
Played a unheralded but solid first half while sticking to his duties defensively and centrally. Intercepted numerous passes, didn't give the ball away, and helped the USA reverse the momentum after conceding an early goal by keeping play moving through the middle. Knocked Carlos Costly off-stride just as he shot and Howard easily saved the feeble effort.
6 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles) 110/39
Slammed home his penalty high into the net despite the keeper going the right way, and served up the corner that produced the winning goal. Recovered ball after losing it in the attacking third to play a ball Bornstein crossed into the box, won a free kick on the corner of the penalty area. Again labored to use set plays effectively and get enough looks at goal, but shocked Honduras with electrifying slalom through middle and to the right.
5 Jozy Altidore (Xerez/SPAIN) 11/6
Still smoothing out his first touch, and let a few passes bounce away to where opponents retrieved them. Rates good marks for strength and determination and ideas on the ball that sometimes drew double-teams, moved well off the ball, too. Drilled a shot from close range just outside the near post when more composure was needed to force a save or block.
5 Conor Casey (Colorado) 10/0
Squandered a great chance when he blasted a partial clearance well over the bar from close range. Clicked a few times with attacking teammates, won balls in the air, and dueled courageously with defenders. For a guy earning his first U.S. start in nearly four years, he got the job done.
SUBSTITUTES
6 Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus/DEN) 18/2
Livened up midfield with his spurts and bursts on and off the ball as halftime sub for Mastroeni. Drilled a shot from distance over the crossbar, and tested the Honduran back line by dropping balls just behind it, one of which Dempsey completely muffed. Covered a lot of ground in the neutral third, but committed foolish tackle in final minutes that gave Honduras a free kick.
5 Jay DeMerit (Watford/ENG) 10/0
Burned twice after replacing Bocanegra by losing mark on DaniloTurcios, who first-timed a shot over the crossbar, and fell down as Georgie Welcome blew past him in the box. Played strongly after that shaky start, delivering solid clearances, including one of a risky header by DaMarcus Beasley.
4 DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers/SCO) 86/17
Came into match at right midfield, slid back to left back when Bornstein cramped up. Pressed and harassed defensively, and nearly set up Honduras with a weak header, but booted a couple of balls out of danger.


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