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U.S. Playing Ratings
by Ridge Mahoney, June 18th, 2010 3:09PM

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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup


[USA-SLOVENIA REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the U.S. players after the USA's 2-2 tie with Slovenia in Johannesburg on Friday.

USA
SUBS:

Rating/Player (Club/Country) GP/G
7 Tim Howard (Everton/ENG) 53/0
Screened on first goal, no chance on second, saves proved to be critical as USA rallied.

6 Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96/GER) 62/2
Played great ball to Landon Donovan to set up first goal, tackled tough, handled tough assignment against Andraz Kirm reasonably well.

5 Jay DeMerit (Watford/ENG) 21/0
Won most of his duels, caught flat-footed by Slovenian forwards twice.

4 Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan/ITA) 56/5
Slow to react on first goal, lagged back to ruin offside trap on second. Starting positions on crosses weren’t always effective.
 
5 Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes/FRA) 76/12
Didn’t give up much on his side but could have been more aggressive to contest balls aimed at Milivoje Novakovic.

7 Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) 125/43
Split roles as creator and finisher as situations demanded, worked and buzzed constantly, took tough chance from bad angle by ruthlessly roofing it.

4 Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca/MEX) 11/0
Gave away a few passes, a step out of position at times, forced a good save by Samir Handanovic with a curling free kick.

6 Michael Bradley (Borussia M'Gladbach/GER) 45/8
Couldn’t close down Valter Birsa on first Slovenian goal, caught upfield on second. Dangerous on several attacks, played great left-wing ball to Robbie Findley, popped up to score equalizer with excellent finish of tricky chance.

5 Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG) 64/19
Not quite sharp enough to threaten on the dribble, he used movement and aggression to unsettle Slovenia, which marked him tightly and fouled him often, including a drag-down that should have been a penalty.

7 Jozy Altidore (Hull/Eng) 27/9
Knockdown in tight tangle set up second goal, battled for every ball, drew fouls and free kicks, put shot on frame during goalmouth melee, victimized by odd refereeing decisions.

3 Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake) 8/0
Used his speed effectively to threaten but touches at critical moments failed him. A bit too one-dimensional to trouble a very organized opponent.

SUBS:

Rating/Player (Club/Country) GP/G
6 Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO) 14/1
Brought more bite and steel to midfield, one bad giveaway wasn’t costly, moved to back line in final minutes, darted in to score apparent winner that was disallowed.

6 Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus/DEN) 33/2
Floated in and out of left-wing spot, caused Slovenia a few problems by his confidence and activity, just missed with good ball for Bradley.

NR Herculez Gomez (Puebla/MEX) 5/2
Called for foul going for ball in final minutes of short stint.

(Ratings: 1=terrible; 5=average; 10=brilliant.)
------------------------------------------------------------
How do you feel the U.S. players did against Slovenia? Agree with our ratings? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.



0 comments
  1. Keith Wiseman
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 4:19 p.m.
    Bob Bradley Rating = 1 I'm sorry but our horrific predictable long-ball tactics need to be changed. To add to that we don't even compensate for the lack of a creative offense with a well-organized defensive team. I don't even like my young son watching our boys play because I don't want him to emulate this poor style of play and think it's good or acceptable.

  1. Mike Gaynes
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 4:32 p.m.
    Donovan's rating is too high. He had a great second half and a superbly taken goal, but he was clearly at fault on the first Slovenian goal, utterly abandoning Birsa when he moved to the middle and found ten yards of space to turn and shoot. Birsa was Donovan's man to mark, and he didn't. Bradley had moved to pressure the ball, and Ridge is way off base blaming him. Some fault also falls to Howard for being six yards off his line for the shot, although he probably wouldn't have stopped it anyway. As to Findley, I fail to see how he even qualifies for a 3. He showed on three consecutive scoring chances that he has absolutely no idea what to do with the ball at his feet. All three passes were barely worthy of a Sunday rec league. Hopefully we have seen the last of this ridiculously unqualified player.

  1. Dirk Thomas
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 4:43 p.m.
    I love Bob Bradley's work ethic and dedication, but I think his choices of tactics and players suck. Rob Findley is the kind of player you bring in for the last 20 or 30 minutes when the defense is tired and he can really be effective. As a starter he can't control the ball or finish. Why is he even in there? Torres was played out of position so his effectiveness was certainly in question from the very beginning. He needs to place his players where they are most effective and I don't see him accomplishing that in any of the games we've played.

  1. Ean Fenty
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 5:55 p.m.
    Well said by all 3 of you. Fortunately with Findley's yellow we won't have to see him against Algeria. He's completely off form this year and has no confidence on the ball.

  1. Charles Stamos
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 8:02 p.m.
    So, I do applaud Bradley for using more than 11 players in both games and some different ones. Here's what I see as the best l/u for the crucial Algeria game. Howard - Bocranegra Demerit Onyewu Cherundolo - Clark Donovan Bradley - Dempsey Altidore Buddle using a 4-3-3 system with Donovan ahead of the other middies and Clark and Bradley helping the weak back 4. Dempsey and Buddle have to track back at times and Clark and Bradley cover for them when they go forward. When the USA attacks on one wing, the opposite side slides back and in to cover also. This is almost the same l/u as the England game, except Donovan gets more touches and controls the attack from a center position.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 8:25 p.m.
    I like what Charles says. Our back line has proven they need help. But I would like to see Edu in there wth Bradley and using them both as holding and covering MFielders. Its' time to start Buddle to see what he can do. Bring in Gomez sooner to spell Buddle or Dempsey for the running they'll have to do.

  1. Rodney Thurow
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 9:20 p.m.
    Maybe I'm way off however here is what I saw. Findley-1, and he need to stay off the pitch. Bradley-4, I like Bradley, however he should never again be called a defensive midfielder. His marking was aweful and for 85 minutes he frustrated me almost as much as Findley. The ungodly amount of longballs played to a defender was making me pull my hair out. His 15 seconds of glory hardly makes a 6. Donavan-5, played an average game and finished the mistake by the defender well. Liked the halftime subs even thou I fell sorry for Torres-3, who can't play his game with Bradley and as long as Dad is coach, Torres will never be able to show his true worth. How does Gomez-7 get NR from Ridge? It was his hard run on Altidore's header that drew the CB out of Bradley's way so he could put away that sitter.

  1. Kevin Leahy
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 10:45 p.m.
    I am covinced that you do not watch the same games that I do. Edu, Dempsey and Onyewu were awful. Altidore does not make up for a game of crap with one head ball won. Cherundolo and Bradley were the best players on the field for the U.S. Torres was not at his best, but was better than Edu or Feilhaber. Donovan is not performing up to the level expected despite the goal! At least Findley is suspended for the next match.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 11:16 p.m.
    The first half of this game was truly Banal Bob Bradley classic and status quo. John Harkes and Lalals' comments during the game and at half-time were spot on, that the US cannot live by "being the comeback kids," and must play intelligently from the time the wihstle goes to the end, and let's be brutally honest, it was MB's fault on the first and he contributed to the second one.

  1. Joy Shaiebly
    commented on: June 19, 2010 at 12:01 a.m.
    I'm surprised that Howard was rated so high. He may have been screened by the shot (we'll never know), but he was grossly caught out in no-man's land with the shooter still 25 yards out on the first goal. I'd rate him a 6. Also, I don't know what everyone sees in Altidore in this game. Yes, he drew fouls in this game, but other than that, he was worthless. His touch was off, his head was hot and his finishing was non-existant. Lastly, I agree with Wiseman (above) with regards to Coach Bradley's style of play-- the long ball every single time was boring, predictable and agonizingly uncreative. ESPECIALLY when Slovenia owned the aerial stats. I learned at a young age that if something doesn't work by the 3rd time, TRY SOMETHING ELSE! I would certainly hope that the men at this level would adapt quickly to the same thought. In all, a great comeback for the USA, though.

  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 19, 2010 at 12:03 a.m.
    Edu's play was highly erratic. He's just too much of a risk. At this point I'd like to see LD move forward. He holds the ball well and can make mature decisions. When you forwards don't know when or how to hold the ball, it can leave you exposed on defense. This is not the time to be making any 'big' changes.

  1. Manuel Trejo-von Angst
    commented on: June 19, 2010 at 6:22 a.m.
    Let me get this straight... Michael Bradley is partially responsible (along with Gooch) for the first two goals with HORRID defensive positioning. He REFUSED to play in front of the back 4 and feed the ball upfield to Torres so he could do his thing. (thus the reason for Torres' inclusion in the squad so we could play a more South American style to take Slovenia out of the 'European Style' mindset) Torres could/should have shown more after the first 10 minutes when he realized Bradley wasn't going to do that but hey... However, that all gets exonerated for scoring a goal that anyone SHOULD score. That was football 101. Target man knocks down ball > everyone crashing the box tries to get a foot to it. It's the simplest form of the game. Congrats on doing the basics, Mikey. The only reason he was still out there in the second half is because he is Bob's son. If any other CM would have abrogated his defensive duties and his distribution job as badly as Michael did the first half they would have been sitting. He's had some good games for the US but this tournament has NOT been an impressive one for Michael Bradley. As for Feilhaber...c'mon. He was a joke. I love Jozy but he sucked HARD today too. His knock down on Bradley's goal was the one thing he did really well. He needs to show for the ball more. (hell his teammates need to do a better job getting it to him too but that's another issue) but he simply didn't have the fire and desire he had the second half of the England game. He needs to learn to keep it 'on' all the time. (same as Donovan who took the first half off and was just shockingly bad)

  1. Terence Chu
    commented on: June 19, 2010 at 10:02 a.m.
    Here we go again with the nepotism drivel and the "he only plays because he's the coach's son comments". Bradley was responsible for not tracking back for the first goal, but for not for his advanced positioning in the crap first half. Go back and watch the 2nd half of the Turkey game and you'll see that it's the exact same midfield strategy, with Torres operating from deep in midfield and Bradley playing the offensive option. This is not the best way to use Torres, but blame the coach for that, not becuase "He refused to play in front of the back four". The problem with that was because as soon as we got the ball in our half, 6 players would run to the Slovene back four and wait for a long ball from Torres. It's just a poor game plan against a defensively organized team.

  1. Michael Hearon
    commented on: June 19, 2010 at 11:50 a.m.
    Steven, I disagree. You say no changes and that means another draw. I like Jozy, but it's another case of the USSF trying to force another "soccer star", think Freddie Adu, down our throats. Starting Buddle in his place will not do any harm and may yield a good result. Have Gomez with him and it replaces almost as much speed as Findley with much more finishing skills. I'd like to see Edu get one more start, but if he dosen't perform after 30 minutes, make a change.

  1. Terence Chu
    commented on: June 19, 2010 at 4:09 p.m.
    While Edu was not phenomenal, he was no more a risk than any of our other central midfielders and contributed a ton in terms of bringing the ball from deep out of our own half. When he plays a purely defensive role, he gets exposed and that is a risk, but as a CM/DM type of player he is quite solid and offers alot more versatility than Clark does. I agree with Michael Hearon, if we do not go with Torres again vs. Algeria (who individually was not that bad), then it definitely should be Edu starting alongside MB.

  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 19, 2010 at 10:53 p.m.
    Michael H., the changes you propose are not what I meant by big changes. Swapping out forwards is done all the time, and is maybe the most common substitution in soccer. I agree that Findley promises little in the way of finishing off a play at this level. That is one 'substitution' that has already been made for the next game!

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: June 20, 2010 at 10:57 p.m.
    This article proves Ridge has lost his marbles. He gives Gomes a NR but fails to give him credit for his run into the box that drew the center back out of position which opened up the lane for Bradley to run in and finish. A beautiful finish i might add. Most American soccer fans are just that... fans. They don't see past the goals and big plays to see the minute details of the game that make it so beautiful. Gomez's little run into the box set up a huge goal and certainly the biggest of Bradley's career. To fail to give Gomez his due credit shows a lack of understanding for the details of the game. As an analyst of the game, Ridge should do much better than he does. His effort here is laughable.

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: June 20, 2010 at 11:06 p.m.
    Rodney: Well said my friend. Finally someone who understands the game. I agree with you here. Torres gets dumped on because B. Bradley plays the favorite card with his son. What most people don't understand is that while M. Bradley scored an incredible goal and i applaude his finish and am very proud as an American. If you look at the first half and analyze the center mids, and what you know about M. Bradley you will see that his play nulifies Torres talent. Why you ask? It is simple. No one can argue that Torres has the best touch on the team, the best vision and incredible passing skills. He IS the attacking mid on the team. M. Bradley is a defensive mid. He is not known for his passing, his vision (although he does make an occasional good pass) or his offensive play. His daddy wants desperately for him to be the star of the team. So he will NEVER take him out and try differnt players at center mid. Most of the game M. Bradley pushed up playing the attacking role leaving Torres to play defensivly nulifying his skills while hurting our potential on offence. If M. Bradley would just stay in a deffensive mid position it would allow Torres to move up the pitch and control the offense. This is not the case and Bob will not allow his son to be moved from the starting lineup. We are a team without a pure attacking mid, when M. Bradley is in the lineup. Yes we may bave one on the field but M. Bradley pushes up into attack so far that the real attacking mid can't do his job. Ridge Mahoney doen't realize this because he probaly never played the sport.

  1. Will Lozier
    commented on: June 21, 2010 at 10:48 a.m.
    Andrew and Rodney, you are spot on in terms of how the midfield is organized - sitting Torres BEHIND Bradley is backwards to say the least. Bradley can still get forward on occasion from deep but is NOT an attacking MF - even though his finish was WORLD CLASS. Still, the "son of the coach" argument is silly (especially the "Daddy wants him to be the star of the team" comment). Torres is sorely misused and, while not his shining moment, still produced the best chance in the first half and should NOT have been pulled for Edu. Also, agree that Findley would be a better option as a substitute, dangerous even. But to award Buddle so little time thus far is criminal. I vote for a Buddle/Gomez pairing v. Algeria - two crafty FINISHERS. Gomez moves so well off the ball - the run DID create the space for Bradley to run into - and Buddle take the majority of his chances. Simple really. Lastly, Altidore needs to stop diving so as not to soil his reputation amongst refs.


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