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Defense beaten badly after the break
by Ridge Mahoney, July 27th, 2009 11:02AM

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[USA-MEXICO REPORT CARD] A horrid second half during which it conceded five goals left the U.S. team with marks ranging from poor to terrible in its 5-0 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup final. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players and comments on their performances.

USA-MEXICO [0-5]
U.S. PLAYER RATINGS
GRADE PLAYER CLUB GP/G

STARTERS
7 Troy Perkins
(IK Start/NOR) 6/0
He played competently in the first half, and his sensational saves kept the USA in the match for awhile early in the second half. His late and foolish challenge on the third Mexican goal killed off any chance for the Americans to rally and while the fifth goal was merely of statistical interest, the shot should have been saved. Without a few superb saves, however, the score would have been 5-0 a lot sooner.

2 Jay Heaps
(New England) 4/0
Felled Alberto Medina with a hard tackle and stopped Giovanni dos Santos early in the match with a strong tackle. Nearly got to a Stuart Holden corner kick at the near post in the first half. Scorched by Carlos Vela twice early in the second half, grappled with dos Santos to give away a hotly disputed penalty kick, and could do nothing to stop waves of Mexican attacks as the score mounted. Sent off for second yellow in the final minutes.

3 Clarence Goodson
(IK Start/NOR) 6/1
Briefly needed attention to patch up the bridge of his nose that had been bloodied in a collision. Midway through the second half hit a good long ball out of the back that dropped just beyond the reach of Kenny Cooper, and also hit diagonal ball that Heath Pearce couldn't chase down. Beaten often for pace on Mexican breaks, and too slow to close down shooters as they picked their spots. Missed two opportunities to trap attackers as they slid behind the U.S. back line.

3 Chad Marshall
(Columbus) 9/1
Threw his body around on attacking set plays to no avail. Helped contain Miguel Sabah until he was replaced with 20 minutes to play. Thwarted Medina one-v-one late in first half. Beaten on blown offside traps several times and labored to cover glaring gaps as Mexico overran him and his teammates.

3 Heath Pearce
(Hansa Rostock/GER) 28/0
Shortly after halftime got forward up the left flank to clip a ball to the far post, and played a nice pass to set up a chance for Davy Arnaud. Failed to chase down a good long ball from Goodson with space to work with a few minutes later, a clear sign his legs were going. Seldom a factor defensively in the final half an hour as Mexico ran wild.

4 Stuart Holden (
Houston) 5/2
Not as sharp as he's been earlier in the tournament but worked hard at both ends of the field. Late in the first half did everything right to get free yet badly overhit his cross. Bent a corner kick that Guillermo Ochoa punched straight up into the air but the Americans couldn't win the second ball. Tucked back to intercept a pass and play an early ball to Ching that drew a foul and U.S. free kick. Fired a good feed from Robbie Rogers wide of the post.

3 Kyle Beckerman
(Real Salt Lake) 9/1
Retained possession in the first half with nifty spin move to play a ball wide to Pearce. Slipped a good ball into the channel that ran too far for Brian Ching. Skied a ball over Pearce's head as he overlapped on the left. Hit terrible shot while off-balance after good build up. Couldn't drop quickly enough when Mexico raced between the midfield and defensive lines to dribble and play balls into space, and in many cases wasn't even close enough to take a foul.

3 Logan Pause
(Chicago) 5/0
Harshly cautioned in the first half after surging forward to trade passes with Ching and hitting a shot, unaware the whistle had blown for offside. Passed poorly, seldom won second balls or 50-50 duels. Unable to keep possession as Mexico reversed momentum late in the first half, and seldom intervened as Carlos Vela and Giovanni dos Santos ran rampant through midfield.

4 Robbie Rogers
(Columbus) 6/1
Veered inside to set up Holden for a shot he blasted wide and early in the second half thwarted dos Santos with a great tackle. Fired a shot high early in the second half and later split two defenders to hit a far-post ball nobody could reach. Lost possession several times as tacklers came at him in swarms.

2 Davy Arnaud
(Kansas City) 7/1
Nearly invisible offensively and seldom a danger to the Mexican defense. Did connect with Ching midway through the first half but resulting shot missed badly. Tried to put in his work defensively but just didn't have the lungs or the legs once Mexico took control.

4 Brian Ching
(Houston) 40/11
Tried to get off a shot during a goalmouth scramble early in the match but the effort was blocked. Played a nice return pass to Pause that was negated by an offside call. Collected ball and dropped it to Rogers in a good spot. Tried to head a long ball from Goodson to Cooper but instead headed it straight to the goalkeeper.

SUBSTITUTES

3 Santino Quaranta (D.C. United) 15/1
Lofted a pair of decent balls from the flanks but didn't bring the zip and touch needed to get past tacklers.

3 Kenny Cooper
(FC Dallas) 9/4
Couldn't reach long ball played over the top by Beckerman and wasn't sharp enough to find the ball in space within range of ball.

NR Sam Cronin
(Toronto FC) 2/0
Fresh legs and midfield savvy should have been used a lot earlier than the 81st minute.

(1 = low; 5 = average; 10 = high)

 



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