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Holden the hero in U.S. rally
by Ridge Mahoney, July 13th, 2009 7AM

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[USA-HAITI REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players and comments on their performance in their 2-2 win with Haiti in the Gold Cup ...

USA-HAITI (2-2)
U.S. PLAYER RATINGS
GRADE PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
3 Luis Robles (Kaiserslautern/GER) 1/0
Jittery and shaky on too many occasions despite getting across his line quickly to block a close-range shot by Fabrice Noel. Marooned in middle when Vaniel Sirin came in at the back post to head the first Haitian goal. Bobbled a long-range shot and had to swat it away from under the crossbar. Reluctant at times to challenge for crosses in crowded goalmouth.
5 Brad Evans (Seattle) 2/0
Beaten inside a few times but for the most part defended competently. Pushed up the flank to support the attack and delivered a diagonal ball that nearly produced a shot on goal. Tenacious personality helped compensate for inexperience at this position and won a fair share of tackles in difficult situations.
5 Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City) 25/1
Tough in the tackles but beaten occasionally one-v-one. Drew on his experience and leadership to stabilize back line after being blitzed for two goals in three minutes. Headed a good opportunity from a set piece over the crossbar. Nearly cautioned for tactical foul in first half and stayed out of trouble with some smart decisions and timely interceptions.
4 Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaellands/DEN) 8/0
Overpowered by Leonel Saint-Preux near the endline late in the first half and his pass set up a good chance. Cautioned in first half when he clipped Noel on the ankle near the edge of the penalty area though the forward embellished the contact. Seemed flustered as Haiti pushed forward for intervals on either side of halftime.
3 Jay Heaps (New England) 1/0
Embarrassed by Saint Preux near the corner flag and helpless on cross that set up first Haiti goal. After being beaten again, his poor clearance went straight to Mones Chery, who blasted in the second goal. Athleticism helped him defuse a few situations and he tried to work up the flank to start attacks with some positive impact and fought through his errors to finish the match.
5 Santino Quaranta (D.C. United) 13/1
Effective if not dominant floating into the middle or staying out wide, usually on the right. Delivered several good serves from midfield that tested Haiti's defenders, worked several nice combinations, drew a roar from the crowd by spinning and twisting out of a tackle and playing the ball to a teammate. Did a fair job handling his defensive duties by nicking balls away in tight spaces.
7 Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo) 2/2
Excellent assist and brilliant goal highlighted his menace nearly every time he received the ball. Came to from deep to start plays, pushed forward at times to break pressure, delivered numerous precise, well-weighted balls and crosses. Sometimes too cavalier about losing possession near the midfield line, which he did on several occasions to give Haiti possession in good spots.
5 Sam Cronin (Toronto FC) 1/0
Intelligent pass to Holden led to first U.S. goal. Ranged through central midfield to support attacks and break up plays. Showed good poise on the ball and got out of pressure to retain possession. Stranded at times. Good showing by a pro rookie in his U.S. debut.
5 Colin Clark (Colorado) 1/0
Started strongly and didn't lack for confidence. Took good shot that went high and drew a foul with a courageous dribble in the first 10 minutes. Lost touch with the match as Haiti gained traction in midfield and pace took its toll before he came off for Brian Ching.
4 Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas) 6/2
Touches and decisions were a bit off, he couldn't find the burst of speed he needed to get in behind the last defender and struggled to win balls in the air. Once the USA lost momentum in the first half he and Davy Arnaud lost contact with the midfield and each other.
6 Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards) 4/1
Scored first U.S. goal in opening minutes with a great finish and did a lot more through his energy and creative instincts. Kept up his energy through difficult spell with the USA back on its heels. Nice ball to near post set up a chance for Charlie Davies.
SUBSTITUTES
4 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lakes) 6/0
Shored up in the middle, passing was average, cautioned for foul in midfield after U.S. lost possession.
5 Charlie Davies (Hammarby/SWE) 13/3
Livened up the attack upon entering the game in the 63rd minute along with Beckerman. Fired a shot wide, crashed the near post to meet a service from Arnaud but his shot was blocked.
4 Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo) 38/10
Not very effective with the ball but drew defenders and carved out space.
(1=low; 5=average; 10=high)

 



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