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Feilhaber excels off the bench
by Ridge Mahoney, July 9th, 2009 7:01AM
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[USA-HONDURAS REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players and comments on their performance in their 2-0 win over Honduras in the Gold Cup ...

USA-HONDURAS (2-0)
U.S. PLAYER RATINGS
GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G

STARTERS:
5 Troy Perkins (IK Start) 3/0
Quick and decisive collecting balls he needed to get to, only rarely required to smother through balls. Not tested on either of his two saves. Outlet passes and kicks were occasionally wasteful but that might have been a product of some tight Honduran marking and the effect of playing in his former home stadium.

6 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER) 53/2
Very good going forward, excellent cross dropped for Ching to head second goal, also stretched Honduran back line at both ends by either getting to the endline, or switching play early with crossfield balls to the opposite flank. Defended patiently when confronted one-v-one and usually got the help he needed.

7 Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew) 6/1
Strong and solid while marking and tracking any one of three tricky and dangerous attackers. Made the defensive play of the game with a jab tackle in the penalty area to dispossess Carlos Costly early in the second half, yet also intervened decisively on a half-dozen other occasions. Needed a few minutes to be patched up after suffering small gash dueling for a head ball.

5 Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaellands/DEN) 7/0
A few shaky moments in the first half an hour, including being beaten by long ball that yielded breakaway for Walter Martinez, who shot wide. Increased confidence by jarring Martinez off the ball near the corner flag. Stopped a Honduran counter early in the second half with a typically sharp Parkhurst read and reaction.

6 Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock/GER) 25/0
Effective on the overlap and got into good positions for crosses that were okay but need improvement, yet just his entry into the attack pressured the opponent.  Occasionally too slow or indecisive when Honduras crossed the midfield line. Harsh foul late in first half drew a caution that could have been punished more severely.

7 Santino Quaranta (D.C. United) 12/1
Capped a storybook performance by drilling home the winning goal, an apt reward for his exemplary play at both ends of the field. Played some excellent crosses, challenged tacklers on the dribble, yet tracked back numerous times to help create turnovers. Came very deep to dispossess Erick Norales late in the first half.

6 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lakes) 5/0
A few poor moments yet a solid game for the most part. Recovered ball after nearly giving it away to play nice ball that set up a chance. Ranged over a vast area to win balls, cut off passes, and get attack moving with balls played forward.

5 Logan Pause (Chicago Fire) 2/0
Another neat and tidy game on the ball but not tough or hard enough at times to blunt Honduras attacks, and needed to drop deeper on a few occasions when Honduras came across the field laterally with passes or dribbles.

6 Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew) 3/1
Scrapped and battled on the flank against hard defending and carved out openings. Used Pearce as an overlapping option well, combined less often with forwards but didn't hesitate to hit the cross if give the space and time.

4 Freddy Adu (Benfica/POR) 15/2
Dwelt on the ball at times, gave ball away in a bad spot by taking too many touches that gave Honduras a chance to break. Relayed a nice ball from Beckerman to set up Davies.  Blew a great chance by bouncing a wide-open header right to the goalkeeper.

6 Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo) 37/10
Not much of a factor in the first half as he and Adu appeared at times to be playing away from each other. Headed a ball out of his own penalty area early in the match, was less successful getting on the end of U.S. set plays, but crashed over an opponent to head home Cherundolo's cross for the clinching goal a la the other Brian, McBride.

SUBS:
6 Charlie Davies (Hammarby/SWE) 12/3
Nearly blocked a goalkeeper clearance into the net, laid off the ball that Quaranta did belt home, and unhinged the Honduran defense with his pace and drive.

7 Benny Feilhaber (AGF/Denmark) 23/2
Exquisite touches and decisions created first goal when he relayed ball to Davies, who set up Quaranta. Played smart, short ball to Cherundolo on lead-up to second goal. Also did a fair bit of defensive work while ranging wide when needed. Added another notch to the belt of very good performances.

NR Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas) 5/2
First-time shot from distance in final minutes didn't miss by much after he hit a good opportunity straight to the keeper.



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